Temporary election officials who will be recruited by the Electoral Commission (EC) to supervise this year’s presidential and parliamentary elections will be made to swear an oath before a judge, the Western Regional Director of the EC, Mr Stephen Opoku-Mensah, has said.
Mr Opoku-Mensah said the commission had learnt lessons from the 2012 general election, during which some temporary election officials behaved unprofessionally.
“As a result, the commission has decided to let them swear an oath to comply with the electoral laws so that if any of them falls foul of the law, he or she would be dealt with severely.”
He said presiding officers, returning officers, reference list officers, verification officers, as well as the presidential and parliamentary ballot issuers would all swear an oath that would bind them to abide by the rules and regulations governing the election.
PNDC Law 284 stipulates that any election official found culpable of the election law would pay a fine of 500 penalty units (equivalent to GH¢6,000) and be convicted to two years’ imprisonment or both and blacklisted from engaging in any electoral management activities for the next five years.
Mr Opoku-Mensah stated that for this year’s election to be free, fair and successful, it behoved the media, political parties, security agencies, the election management body, election monitors and observers and all other interest groups to play their roles efficiently and effectively.
In this regard, he urged the media to avoid any form of sensational reportage and rather disseminate accurate information on the election to the public to ensure peace before, during and after the polls.
“Our doors are always open to clarify any issues bordering on the election because the media play a crucial role in ensuring a successful election.
“The media can make or unmake the election and, therefore, we see you as one of our major partners,” he stressed.
The regional EC boss said the electoral laws allowed both manual and electronic verification and, therefore, urged all eligible voters to feel free to exercise their franchise on December 7.
The Deputy Regional Director of the EC, Mr Godwin Tawiah Okley, who took participants through electoral offences, warned individuals and groups of persons planning to cause mayhem or snatch ballot boxes to revise their notes because the law would not spare anyone arrested in connection with such offences.