The Electoral Commission (EC) has defended the integrity of the recent referenda held in the country to create six additional regions.
Dr. Bossman Asare, a commissioner of the electoral management body, said the referenda provided the platform for people to express their preference.
Speaking to DAILY GUIDE on the integrity of the referenda which the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has consistently presented as a sham, he said “all we did was to provide a platform for the people to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’.”
On the suspicion that there was something wrong with the unusual large voter turnout which is not the picture seen during national polls, he said the circumstances underpinning the recent referenda are unlike general elections.
“Chiefs and political parties all joined hands to campaign for people to turn out and vote for the creation of regions.
“People were asked to go and vote for the creation of regions and enjoy the benefits of developments such as having for the first time regions named after them, the provision of facilities such as police stations, fire stations and even employment. There are stories about chiefs going from house to house to encourage people to go and vote. In political science, this is known as identity politics,” the EC Commissioner said.
“When people in a particular area are so obsessed with identifying with a cause such as the creation of administrative entities to which they would be identified with, such persons would contribute without inhibition towards the realization of the objective.”
He recalled how some chiefs, obsessed with having their own regions, approached the EC to ask how they could contribute towards the success of the referenda.
“All we told them was that the EC was only providing the platform for them to exercise their wishes,” he said.
“We have information about vehicles in the Sefwi area being stopped from moving so people could go and vote upon the directives of chiefs. People were voting for the creation of regions in the spirit of independence and this accounted for the large turnout,” he said.
Continuing, he said the exercise was by and large an agenda for ‘yes’ to the creation of new regions.
Regarding a video which went viral on social media, he said “we do not even know the persons in the video. They are not accredited EC staff. In any case we have asked that anybody with information about the identities of such persons should provide same to the law enforcement agents for the necessary action to be taken.
The face of one of them was showing in the video. It showed the trappings of something cooked up.”
Dr. Bossman told DAILY GUIDE that staffers of the EC were reminded about the importance of ensuring the integrity of the election management entity before the referenda.
He wondered why some people would want to impute negativity to the process.
The commissioner alluded to the alleged video of ex-President John Mahama displaying how he voted for the creation of a region, saying “this was not mentioned by the opposition party in their concerns about the so-called infractions.
He said that the NDC, which approached the EC to be involved in the management of the party’s presidential primaries, has rather attacked the integrity of the establishment.
“They approached us to be involved in their presidential primaries. In the light of this, how can they turn round to say we colluded with government over the conduct of the referendum,” he said.
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