Sunyani, May 4, GNA – Mr. Samuel Boadu, Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Director of the Electoral Commission, has expressed concern that some political party agents and followers still violated the rights of prospective applicants at some biometric registration centres.
He said some people were prevented by party agents and followers from registering on grounds that they belong to different parties or places of origin other than where the registration is taking place.
Mr. Boadu was speaking, at the Third Garrison Day celebration at the Liberation Barracks in Sunyani during which select teams of security personnel engaged in demonstration drills in preparation for the elections in December.
The celebration was under the theme, “The Security Agencies and the Electoral Process of 2012”.
He said activities of well build men “macho men” were setting a dangerous precedent in the body politic of the country and cautioned politicians to impress on their party agents to eschew the practice of preventing applicants from registering.
“The practice has the tendency of intimidating and deflating the security agents”, he said.
Mr Boadu said that at Takofiano SDA registration centre in Techiman, a man identified as Kwadwo Sarfo had cutlass would inflicted on him during a confrontation between NDC and NPP activists.
He said on April 23, a political party sympathizer slapped an applicant and dragged him from the queue at the Christ Apostolic Church centre in Goaso.
Mr Boadu said in Asunafo South, the attacks were not on applicants alone but also on six officials at the registration centre and recently at the D/A Primary School at Atimponya in Mim in Asunafo North District, sympathizers of a political party were hunting for the registration officer to beat him up.
Mr Boadu called for the arrest of recalcitrant party agents for their flagrant disregard for electoral regulations and appealed to party candidates to educate their followers with regard to the code of conduct of political parties.
He said the question is if macho men of political parties could parade registration centres and do their own thing, then what would be the fate of election officials, electoral materials, especially the ballot box in December.
On the importance of electoral security, Mr Boadu said it would enable the Electoral Management Board to administer the elections according to operational plans, freedom of movement for staff of the Board and candidates to ensure free and credible electoral process.
Mr Boadu said the Commission would work closely with the law enforcement agencies to develop security plans since it knew the process, its vulnerability and the critical areas that needed protection.
He said the media also needed protection so it could monitor the election and report their findings without coercion or intimidation adding that voters use the media coverage of the election to gain information on the candidates and issues.
“If voters are given false and inadequate information by an intimidated media, the basic fairness of the elections is undermined and in the extreme, the control of information can be used to manipulate the election outcome”, he said.
Mr. Boadu reminded the security personnel of their role in ensuring peace during elections, protection of the citizenry, loyalty to the state and protection of the ballot box since any compromise of these roles could breach the peace before, during and after the elections.