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A coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) has reechoed its concerns over what it says are unresolved challenges that are likely to beset today’s voting processes and also mar the general conduct of the elections.
According to the coalition made up of Strategic Thinkers Network (STRANEK), Care for Free and Fair Elections (“CARE” Ghana), Africa Centre for Women in Politics, Coalition of Civil Societies Against Political Vigilantism among others the unresolved security challenges of violence that characterized the voter registration exercise and plans by government to shut down internet services are serious concerns which if not addressed will threaten the peaceful conduct of the elections and the declaration of results.
Mr. Ebenezer Fenuku of the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations against political vigilantism told the media over the weekend that it is unfortunate that President Nana Akufo-Addo has been silent and refused to implement the recommendations of the Emile Short Commission of Inquiry, a situation that has emboldened such individuals who engaged in political violence and vigilantism in the country.
He cited the reported violence and killing of a young teacher in Banda during the recent Voter registration exercise noting that “all these have gone by without the perpetrators being brought to book.”
Mr. Ebenezer Fenuku said the continuous lack of action from President Akufo-Addo is giving rise to incidences of violence which could mar today’s elections.
He said, “Ghana has enjoyed uninterrupted governance since the country returned to constitutional rule in 1992. The nation has since had seven successive elections resulting in three peaceful handovers from one political party to another in -2001, 2009, and 2017.
However, none if these elections have seen preceding incidences of violence and heightening tension as we are witnessing prior to this year’s impending presidential and parliamentary elections on December, 7th.”
He added that “The Coalition of CSOs Against Political Vigilantism has undoubtedly noted that the most prevalent violation that is giving rise to the tensed political atmosphere largely stem from the deafening silence of the sitting President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on electoral violence that occurred under his regime which apparently establishes his tacit approval of the actions and inactions of political vigilante activities in the country.”
While calling on the President to speak and assure Ghanaians that he’ll supervise peaceful elections, the group further stated that the country would hold President Akufo-Addo responsible should Monday’s polls record any form of violence.
This is the full statement by the Coalition of CSOs represented by Nii Tettey Tetteh of STRANEK, David Kumi Addo of “CARE”Ghana, Ebenezer Fenuku of CSOs Against Vigilantism;
*PRESS CONFERENCE BY STRANEK-AFRICA, CARE GHANA, AFRICAN CENTRE FOR WOMEN IN POLITICS, COALITION OF CIVIL SOCIETIES AGAINST POLITICAL VIGILANTISM HELD ON 5TH DECEMBER, 2020 AT FREEDOM CENTRE, KOKOMLEMLE*
Ladies and Gentlemen of the media, we welcome you to this important press conference. With barely 3 ‘days to elections, we invited you here as civil society organisations to wit, STRANEK-Africa, CARE Ghana, Africa Centre for Women in Politics, Coalition of Civil Societies Against Political Vigilantism to drum home important developments.
STRANEK-Africa has petitioned the international community on the alleged government intentions to shutdown internet and interfere in the frequency of some media houses. We believe that petitioning the international community will go a long way to concretize the actions the international community is doing to stop Government of Ghana from being oppressive and authoritarian in these last days.
May God help us to resist oppressors rules with all our will and might forever more.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, we find it very strange why the Electoral Commission EC like to surround itself with unnecessary controversies. Recently, the EC announced that it will declare the election results in 24hours but failed to tell Ghanaians how it intends to collate, tabulate and declare total results from the over 33,000 polling centers, 275 constituencies and 16 regions involving over 17 million eligible voters within the 24hours.This discrepancies is only capable of derailing our efforts and deducting from the gains Ghana has made so far.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, EC’s decision to use illegal document in the coming elections raises numerous concerns and does not engender public confidence. The EC is mandated by law to provide regulations for the conduct of every public elections hence the promulgation of the C. I. – 91which some portions were amended by C I – 126 and 127 to guide the conduct of the 7th December polls.
However, EC’s fragrant disregard for the law is amazing, the number of voters verified manually should be separated from the number of voters verified biometrically as the law requires. On the contrary, the EC is acting unlawfully by not separating these two. By this, we are unable to verify the number of voters who will be verified manually and biometrically. This will allow individuals not on the voters register to vote without detection creating an avenue for rigging the elections and this may give the grounds for disagreements leading to legal tassel after the elections.
*PREVENTING NON-GHANAIANS FROM VOTING*
Ladies and gentlemen, Care for Free and Fair Elections Ghana “CARE” GHANA is informed that the EC has directed the Ghana police to prevent non-Ghanaians from participating in the 7th December, 2020 elections. We are of the opinion that, this directive is simply to prevent eligible voters in some specific areas from voting. This obviously is part of a grand agenda set in motion by the EC. One of the strong argument by the EC for compiling a new voter’s register was to remove foreigners from our voters register. The EC claimed that the presence of foreigners on our voters register makes it an ECOWAS register hence the change. For this reason military officers were deployed to the Volta Region and other border regions to prevent Ghanaians returning from neighboring countries from coming home. It is therefore unacceptable to direct security officers to prevent Ghanaian eligible voters from voting under the guise of preventing foreigners from participating in our elections.
If what we all saw in the Volta and Bono Regions during the voter registration exercise is anything to go by, then clearly, the EC’s directive or request is just charade and an attempt to militarize the Volta and Bono Regions again to intimidate and scare off eligible voters thus preventing them from participating in the general elections. It may well be a repeat of what occurred in the Voter Region and Bono Region during the registration exercise where the military and national security officers were deployed to intimidate, harass and physically remove eligible voters from the queue stopping them from registering and subsequently voting in the 7th December, elections.
The EC must know that it is not the responsibility of the Ghana police service to determine who a Ghanaian is or not. Therefore the directive to the Ghana police to prevent non-Ghanaians from voting is unlawful and therefore should be disregarded.
*Africa Centre for Women in Politics (ACWP)*
ACWP calls on electorates as a matter of urgency to turn up in their numbers in exercising their right to vote on 7th December 2020.
This year’s election presents us with something special which will change the political dispensation we have experienced as a country with a woman nominated and when elected presents us with a woman occupying the second largest political office of this country.
Come 7th December 2020 presents us the opportunity to uphold the image of Ghana as a beacon of democracy in Africa in holding 7 successive elections since 1992 with this elections not being different. With every election being marred by some levels of tension and violence, the need for a peace election.
With women constituting 51.7% of electorates in this years elections, it calls us to duty to protect the peace we have enjoyed as a nation for so long. Women and children suffer the most consequences of electoral violence therefore the need to promote peaceful, transparent, credible and inclusive general elections.
We condemn political violence of all forms and urge Ghanaians to be citizens and not spectators by being whistle-blower to any act that will undermine the peace we cry for.
*Coalitions of Civil Societies Against Political Vigilantism*
Ghana has enjoyed uninterrupted governance since the country returned to constitutional rule in 1992. The nation has had seven successive presidential and parliamentary elections resulting in three peaceful handovers from one political party to another i.e 2001, 2009 and 2017.
However, none of these elections have seen proceeding incidences of violence and heightening tension as we are witnessing prior to this year’s impending presidential and parliamentary elections on December 7th.
The coalition of CSOs Against Political Vigilantism has undoubtedly noted that the most prevalent violation that is giving rise to the tensed political atmosphere largely stem from the deafening silence of the sitting President.
*VOTER REGISTRATION VIOLENCE BRUTALITIES AND DEAATHS*
. An instance of such brutalities is the murder of a 28 years old teacher Silas Wulouchamey, a graduate from Akim Oda Teacher Training College who was stabbed to death on the 13th of July this year at Banda Kabrono in the Bono Region during the registration exercise. The link on Silas Wulouchamey murder is shown below:
According to Ghana web publication of July 21st 2020, the sporadic shooting by Hawa Koomson into voter registrants at the Christ registration center in Kasoa and absolutely no action or comment was heard from the president in condemnation of such embarrassing behaviour from a cabinet minister.
Other happening detected by the coalition was a gentleman allegedly identified as a member of the NPP Delta Force who was seen pointing a gun at one of the police personnel at a registration center in Asawase on the 28th July, 2020. The gentleman threatened the uniformed police officer at gunpoint to leave the premises. . The link to the story is shown below:
Also at Kwadaso in Ashanti Region, a young man was cited brandishing matchetes by a ballot box in the full glare of security personnel
In Volta Region the harassments and intimidations, of innocent Voltarians by some military personnel and some alleged party thugs during and after recent voter registration exercise and the alleged ethnocentric military invasion of the Region have indeed confirmed the heightened state of insecurity in Ghana ahead of next week elections.
*AYAWASO WEST WUOGON BRUTALITIES AND NEGLECT OF CASUALTIES*
A commission of enquiry was constituted and chaired by former boss of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Justice Emile short to investigate the Ayawaso violence. The Commission made of respectable men and woman, came out with very laudable recommendations but they were all white-washed by a white paper.
Almost two years down the line, absolutely no compensations have been given to any individual even though the commission recommended so.
The elections on the 7th of December (next week), must be free, fair, orderly, transparent and violence free to avert the ignition of any vigilante activities across the country.
At this juncture, STRANEK-Africa, CARE-Ghana,ACWP, the Coalition of CSOs against Vigilantism and in coalition of other CSOs call on all Ghanaians to call or send videos to 0559042914 or 0273009907 of any incident that may happen before,during and after elections.