Justice V.C.R.A.C. Crabbe, the Co-Chair of the Coalition of Domestic Elections Observers (CODEO), has observed that the arrangements put in place by the Electoral Commission (EC) prior to the commencement of the Presidential and Parliamentary elections on December 7, 2016 were adequate in most polling stations.
In a press briefing held at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center on Wednesday, Mr Crabbe indicated that their assessment came from 1486 out of the 1500 PVT observers (99%) from every region and constituency as at 12.00 pm. on election day.
On the issue of arrival, Justice Crabbe observed that 81% of all CODEO Observers had reported that by 07.00 hours, about 99% of polling stations where CODEO Observers were located, electoral officials respected their status as the EC’s accredited election observers and permitted them to observe the polls.
Justice Crabbe indicated that 91% of all polling stations were set up so voters could cast their ballots. He also said that almost all 96% of polling stations were all accessible to persons with disability and the elderly.
He observed that at the time of setup, the two main political parties, National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic Party (NPP) had their polling agents present in almost all polling stations. Polling agents of other political parties and independent candidates were present only in some of the polling stations.
According to CODEO, 90% of the polling stations had their materials available at the time of opening. The voter register and biometric verification device were available in almost all polling stations, 96% and 95% respectively.
Justice Crabbe said that all items reported not present were due to late arrival, and that the ballot boxes were empty, sealed and placed in public view before commencement of voting. CODEO observed that voting generally commenced on time.
He observed that there were about 27 incidents of intimidation and harassment at the polling stations. They included D/A primary School Kojo Nkwanta in the Afransi Asokwa Constituency of Ashanti Region, L/A Primary School Apaaso , Kintampo in Brong Ahafo, CMB Shed Susuanso, in Tano North, and Town Hall, Cape Coast.
Others included Taxi station, Potsin Junction, Gomoa East, Central, Koransan Achiase, Eastern, and L/A Primary School Aboasa, Akropong in Eastern Region.
With regard to violence, CODEO observed that there were cases reported at Post Office Achirensua, Asutifi South and Old Market Yeji, Pru East, both in Brong Ahafo. The Coalition also observed there were instances of violence at D/A Primary School , Ahabaso in Upper Manya Krobo, Alajo Central Mosque 1 in Ayawaso Central, Greater Accra.
Others were the Presby Primary school Oyarifa in Grrater Accra, T/B Kanbontooni at Savelugu in Northern Region, and Illiteracy House, Karachi Nchumuru in the Volta Region.
CODEO indicated that voting had not commenced at most polling stations in the Jaman North Constituency due to delays in the arrival of election materials and issues related to the voters’ register.
It would be recalled that at their pre-election press briefing, CODEO hinted on deploying about 8000 observers across the country, in addition to setting up a control center at the KAIPTC, to monitor the electoral process.