EC gives political parties go-ahead to observe ongoing votes transfer exercise 

By Benjamin A. Commey, GNA 

Accra, June 04, GNA – The Electoral Commission (EC) has rescinded its decision not to allow political parties to observe the votes transfer exercise currently ongoing across its district offices. 

The decision, the Commission said, was taken after a thorough engagement with relevant stakeholders at its Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting. 

The EC on Sunday, June 02, 2024, directed its regional directors to inform their district officers not to allow political party agents to observe the ongoing transfer of votes exercise. 

This follows a violent clash between members of the two major political parties – the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress, at the Commission’s district office at Ofaakor near Kasoa, in the Awutu Senya East Constituency in the Central Region. 

The incident led to the alleged stabbing of one Ato Koomson, the son of the Member of Parliament for the area, Madam Mavis Hawa Koomson and left others with varying degree of injuries. 

Addressing a news conference in Accra on Tuesday, Mr Samuel Tettey, Deputy Chairman in charge of Operations at the EC, said the Commission would permit agents of the parties to observe the exercise effective Wednesday, June 5, 2024.  

The decision, he said, was to deepen transparency, accountability and to encourage peaceful electoral processes ahead of the 2024 General Election. 

Mr Tettey explained that the Commission, over the years, had not permitted political party agents to participate in the transfer of votes exercise as there was no law that allowed such observation. 

However, he explained that during the last meeting of the IPAC ahead of the exercise, the Commission took the decision to allow party participation in the spirit of enhancing transparency and further deepening the trust and confidence in the electoral process. 

“This was a departure from past transfer exercises where agents of political parties were not allowed to observe the exercise,” he said.  

Also, he explained that unlike the voter registration exercise, Regulation 22 of the Public Elections Regulations, 2020 (C.I. 127), which governed transfer of votes did not provide political party agents or any other observers with the right to prevent voters who applied to transfer their votes under the law. 

He, therefore, rejected claims that the Commission’s decision was an attempt to shield its work from scrutiny and promote the interest of a particular political party. 

He explained that the decision to prevent party’s participation was to safeguard the peace of the country. 

Mr Tettey said the decisions of the Commission were made without partisan considerations, adding that they were cross cutting and applied to all parties and stakeholders. 

“We call on the public to ignore statements seeking to suggest that the Commission is working for a particular political interest. This is not true,” he emphasised. 

Mr Tettey urged the political party agents to abide by the rules and refrain from any form of interference, which could lead to violence. 

“We urge the leaders of the political parties to educate their agents on the Commission’s laws prior to assigning them duties as observers of the various electoral activities,” he added. 

He stressed that the Commission would not hesitate to request the withdrawal of agents who disrupted the process.