Politics Mon, 21 Aug 2006

Electoral Commission mounts platform for candidates

Accra, Aug. 21, GNA - The Electoral Commission (EC) on Monday began mounting platforms for candidates standing for the District Level Elections to enable them to interact with the people in their electoral areas.

Mr Mohammed Adoquaye, Greater Accra Regional Director of the EC, said it was the responsibility of the EC to mount platforms for the candidates to market themselves since the election was non-partisan and candidates were not supposed to mount platforms on their own.

Speaking at a day's workshop for media personnel, he said, candidates for the Elections allowed to individually go from house to house to solicit for votes but not to go public to campaign as in the case of the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections.

The workshop was to equip the media with the relevant information for awareness creation on local government elections since the lack of adequate publicity on the elections had been a major problem in the past.

Mr Adoquaye said at least one platform would be mounted in each electoral area for candidates to give their messages as well as to verify the suitability of the candidate when the electorate would raise any legal or moral issues backed by facts on his or her qualification and character.

He said the platforms were mounted and controlled by the District and Returning Officers, who would monitor the campaign and that the Officers could not disqualify any candidate based on allegations made against him or her and that when that situation arose the matter should be referred to the EC for its decision.


Mr Adoquaye said a candidate must be a citizen of Ghana, not less than 18 years, registered voter, ordinarily resident in the district, not owing taxes, be of sound mind and not sentenced for fraud among other things.

He said candidates were advised to refrain from giving gifts, intimidate, threaten or force the electorate to win votes. The electorate should also exercise restraint in order not to slander any candidate since the candidate had the right to sue that person.

Mr Kwadwo Sarfo-Kantanka, Deputy Chairman in Charge of Operations, EC, said the major danger in electoral reporting was generalisation and urged Journalists to verify any problem before coming to conclusions and not to base their story on hearsay.

He said out of the 14,135 candidates registered so far for the elections, only 12.4 per cent were women adding that there was still the need to encourage more women to participate. Mrs Phelomena Adusei, Deputy Greater-Accra Regional Director of EC, said every eligible voter had the responsibility to vote to elect the right person to represent the district and urged them to come out in their numbers to vote.

She said district and unit committee elections were very important since representatives were close to the people at the grassroots and could better articulate their problems.

Source: GNA