Excessive security at by-election compromised EC’s integrity – Franklin Cudjoe
IMANI Africa President, Franklin Cudjoe believes the overwhelming security presence during the Asawasa West Wuogon by-election has compromised the credibility of the Electoral Commission (EC).
Though the government has justified the heavy security, which included masked personnel, deployed to the constituency, Mr. Cudjoe said it “destroyed the integrity of the process.”
Controversy erupted when there was a shooting incident near the La Bawaleshie polling centre that temporarily disrupted the polls.
The EC subsequently came out and said the by-election, which the governing New Patriotic Party’s candidate won, was peaceful because the disturbances happened near a polling station, not at the polling station.
This was after observers had criticised the security for indirectly intimidating voters, resulting in a low turnout.
Mr. Cudjoe said this fed into the narrative of the New Democratic Congress (NDC), who has questioned the neutrality of the EC chairperson, Jean Mensa.
“To suggest that the elections were not in dispute or where smooth is also another indictment. If those men were sent to the parliamentary candidate’s house, what it meant was that he was not able to get out and vote and don’t forget he is the parliamentary candidate.”
“When a crime is committed in someone’s house, you don’t send hooded people. Hooded people are like armed robbers,” Mr. Cudjoe added.
The NDC eventually withdrew from the by-election following the shooting incident and ordered its polling agents and observers out of the area after consulting with its parliamentary candidate, Delali Brempong.
Disgrace to the President
Mr. Cudjoe also said the incident was a blotch on President Nana Akufo-Addo, under whose government a new Yaa-Naa was enskinned at Dagbon.
“It is an indictment and the security also disgraced the President as well. Just last week he was in Dagbon doing something noble but all of a sudden, someone should do this needless action.”
In his view, National Security needed to admit their role in escalating tensions during the by-election.
“I think the National Security made a terrible mistake. They should own up and they should own up in a manner that is not to say that I sent the men but are ashamed I sent the men. That is what they should be saying.