CODEO reacts to EC statement on Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election
The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) on Wednesday said it stood by its Close-Of-Polls Statement, issued on Thursday, January 31, 2018, as it was the true snapshot of what transpired on the election day.
It expressed surprise that claims or assertions it did not make in the initial statement have been attributed to it by the Electoral Commission (EC), adding that CODEO did not rely on hearsay or uncorroborated third-party accounts.
Mr Albert Arhin, the National Coordinator for CODEO, at a press briefing in Accra, said CODEO followed a strict protocol and had always ensured that its Close-Of-Poll Statement and other reports reflected only that which was factual, observed and documented by its assigned observers and team.
“CODEO did not indicate, anywhere in its earlier statement, that the said shooting incident took place at a Polling Station. CODEO was clear in its statement that CODEO observers witnessed the violent incident, including shooting incident, which took place in the La Bawaleshie area at East Legon.”
He said the statement also did not, in any way, attempt to link the Commission to the shooting incident, contrary to the EC’s claim.
“We wish to reaffirm our initial observation that, as a result of the panic and chaos emanating from the shooting incident, voting was temporarily disrupted at a polling station close to the shooting incident contrary to what the EC stated”.
Mr Arhin said Mr Rashid Nantongma, the Electoral Commission Municipal Director for Ayawaso West, confirmed that voting was disrupted for about 45 minutes in the wake of the shooting incident before normalcy was restored.
“We wish to draw the attention of the EC to the paragraph in the CODEO Statement, which noted that, apart from the main concerns regarding security arrangement for the by-election, “most observers reported of a generally smooth voting exercise, including the smooth performance of biometric devices”.
This, according to CODEO, was contrary to the EC’s suggestion that CODEO did not provide an overall picture of the conduct of the polls.
He said CODEO re-affirmed its statement that there was generally low voter turn-out, which was confirmed by the EC’s official turn-out figure for the by-election at 19.83 per cent.
Mr Arhin said CODEO initial statement clearly indicated that it would continue to observe the counting and declaration of results, and issue its preliminary statement in due course.
“CODEO wishes to assure the EC and the general public that, in line with its standard practice, its final report on the election, which will provide a comprehensive assessment of the by-election will be released in the coming days”.
He stated that CODEO remained unflinching in its commitment to impartiality, objectivity and neutrality and that its sole interest in the country’s electoral processes was the promotion and assurance of electoral integrity.
“We are aimed at complementing the efforts of the EC in ensuring electoral credibility.”
“In discharging this responsibility, CODEO had always endeavoured to work cooperatively and in good faith with the EC, as CODEO sees itself not as standing in an adversarial relationship with the EC, but as working, ultimately, toward a common end of ensuring transparent, credible and peaceful elections and election management in Ghana”.