The African Union Election Observation Mission (AUEOM) to Ghana has rejected claims of over-voting by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the December 7 presidential and parliamentary elections at certain polling centres.
The EC had stopped the publication of all collated results of the polls, saying its attention had been drawn to what it called “several possible instances of over-voting” which occurred during the crucial elections.
The EC, through its Communications Director, Eric Kofi Dzakpasu, had said the commission is committed to releasing the results within the 72-hour mandatory timeline, but insisted that the verification process would have to be completed.
EC initially did not state which party raised such claims of over-voting, compelling several Ghanaians to ask it to give details about the claims.
The ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) came out later, claiming instances of over-voting in the Ashanti Region, one of the strongholds of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).
But Head of AUEOM, former president of the Republic of Namibia, Hifikepunye Pohamba, said the Mission did not record any instances of over-voting.
“We have not received any report of over-voting and the voters, those who cast their ballots are registered voters, meaning they are qualified to vote,” Mr. Pohamba said in response to a question posed by DAILY GUIDE with respect to whether the Mission observed any instances of over-voting during the elections as had been alleged by the NDC.
Mr. Pohamba said this yesterday while releasing the preliminary findings of the AUEOM on Ghana’s December 7, 2016 presidential and parliamentary polls.
According to him, if at all there was over-voting, it would not be by those who were registered by the EC to vote but rather by Ghanaians living in neighbouring countries like Togo and Cote d’Ivoire, who he claimed might have been smuggled into Ghana solely to illegally vote.
He contended that that should have been taken care of by the national security personnel who were deployed across the country on Election Day.
According to him, AUEOM collaborated with other international and domestic observer groups and had not received reports of over-voting from them.
The AUEOM argued that “Despite some challenges encountered during the pre-election period, Special Voting and on Election Day, overall the 2016 elections were conducted in a largely peaceful, transparent and credible manner.”
The Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG) and the Civic Forum Initiative (CFI) – an umbrella body of 15 civil society organizations – which jointly sent a total of 1,200 observers on the field on Election Day, have also indicated that they did not receive any reports of over-voting from their observers.
The AUEOM, in its report which is divided into two phases – pre-election phase and election phase – encouraged the EC “to handle the results tabulation process in a transparent, credible and expeditious manner.”
Mr. Pohamba charged, “The EC is implored to expedite announcement of remaining results in order to address the growing anxiety caused by delays thus far.”
The AUEOM is expected to issue its comprehensive assessment of the elections within two months which will take into consideration how the remaining stages of the electoral process were managed.
Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Election Observer Mission to Ghana, led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, has urged Ghanaians to refrain from acts of violence, as the country awaits the Electoral Commission to officially declare the results of the presidential and parliamentary elections.
The Mission made the call at a press conference yesterday in Accra to release its preliminary report on the crucial 2016 general elections.
Mr. Hifikepunye Pohamba (left) addressing the media
By Melvin Tarlue/dailyguideafrica.com