TUC calls for peaceful elections

December 3, 2016
Source: Norvan Acquah - Hayford/thebftonline.com/Ghana
TUC calls for peaceful elections

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) believes the country is politically matured, after six successful elections, and believes the seventh would equally be successful.

In a release circulated to the media and signed by the Secretary-General, Dr. Yaw Baah, it urged all eligible voters to vote peacefully since it is a constitutional right, therefore must be done in an atmosphere of peace and serenity.

The release urged all workers to note that the day has not been declared a holiday and thus, workers should schedule the day in a way that it not does interfere with their work. It said it has followed the campaigns of the various political parties and they were not as clean as expected.

“The attacks and counter attacks were not healthy for our democracy”.

It further stated that the leadership of TUC met with the various political parties and in those meetings, the leadership urged the political leaders to endure peace in the country before, during and after the elections.

“We believe that they are all committed to a peaceful election. They owe it as a duty to ensure that their members conduct themselves in a civilized and peaceful manner”.

“The security agencies, especially Ghana Police Service will play a crucial role in ensuring a peaceful election. The success or failure of these elections will depend, to a very large extent, on the electroral Commission (EC). We trust that the EC is fully ready to conduct the elections fairly. The judiciary has an equally important role to play in our collective effort towards a peaceful election”.

The Electoral Commission has announced some eight measures it will put in place to guarantee the credibility of the polls on December 7.

The EC announced this at a dialogue with presidential candidates and their running mates in Accra on Thursday.

As part of the measures, Presiding Officers are supposed to use gloves during the sorting of ballot papers for counting. 

“The Electronic Results Transmission System is also encrypted, making it impossible for anyone to interfere with or manipulate the results,” the EC said in a statement signed by Eric Dzakpsu, Head of Communications.

The seven presidential candidates contesting this year’s election were made to sign a peace accord and also commit to accept the outcome of the 7 December polls.

Below is the full statement from the EC:

1. Ballot issuers are required to hold up each ballot paper issued for scrutiny of all at the Polling Station and to ensure its validation before handing over to the voter.

2. Polling Stations will be set up in a standardized manner that minimizes security threats, improves transparency, ensures that agents are placed in positions that allow them to play their roles effectively and protects the secrecy of the ballot. 

3. All Presiding Officers will be issued with gloves which must be worn before sorting of ballots and counting. 

4. Presiding Officers and Returning Officers will issue copies of collation sheets to Candidates/Agents. 

5. Results Collation Sheets have unique serial numbers and are personalized to each Polling Station. Replacement Results Collation Sheets printed for use in the event of damage or loss of the personalized Results Collation sheets are a different colour and also have unique serial numbers. 

6. Electronic transmission of the results to be implemented by the Commission is an added layer of integrity to the process. The Electronic Results Transmission System is also encrypted, making it impossible for anyone to interfere with or manipulate the results. 

7. The colour of the indelible ink will be different from the ink on the thumbprint pad. This is to help reduce the number of rejected ballots resulting from accidental markings on the ballot papers from indelible ink on fingers. 

8. In addition to broadcasting the results collation process live on television, and publishing the results on the Commission’s website, the EC has developed a mobile application which will give the public real-time access to the officially certified results. The mobile app (ThumbsApp) will soon be available on the android and IOS platforms for download. 

Meanwhile the candidates on their part sought clarifications on the challenges with the special voters list and requested the Commission to consider extending the special voting exercise to allow all legitimate security officers to exercise their franchise. 

The Commission has therefore assured the candidates that it would work with the hierarchy of the security agencies to ensure that all security personnel are given the opportunity to vote. Thank you.