CODEO condemns declarationh of results by parties (Dec 9, 2016)

As the country’s two major parties—National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) – fall over each other over results of the 2016 election, the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) has condemned attempts by the political parties to declare results prior to the official announcement by the Electoral Commission (EC). 

“We urge all political parties and citizens to be law abiding and to allow the EC to complete its work,” a Co-Chairman of the observer group, Mr Justice VCRAC Crabbe, advised at a Press Conference at the Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Centre at Teshie in Accra in response to press conferences held by the two parties declaring comfortable leads or outright wins.

He was giving CODEO’s preliminary statement that provides highlights of group’s findings regarding the conduct of the presidential and general elections.

The press conferences
While the NPP at Sunday dawn said it was on the way to winning the 2016 general election, by 54 per cent out of 80 per cent   of the votes counted, and wants President John Mahama to concede ahead of the formal declaration of the results by the Electoral Commission, the NDC earlier said per it PVT results, President Mahama was in a comfortable lead.  The NDC later condemned the NPP’s attempt to declare themselves winners of the 2016 general elections.

CODEO which said it had completed its parallel voting tabulation (PVT) and has estimated for the Presidential results however said it would release its PVT estimates for the presidential election results only after the official announcement by the EC in order to provide independent verification of their accuracy.
“CODEO PVT serves as a powerful deterrent to help ensure that the results announced by the EC reflect the ballots cast at polling stations, Mr Justice Crabbe said. 

It is not the first time a political party in Ghana declares itself winner of election. In 2004, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) declared itself winner of that year’s election in which then President J.A. Kufuor was seeking a second term. The NDC also declared itself winner of the 2008 elections, accusing the NPP of trying to connive with the EC to alter results from the Ashanti Region. 

But probably guided by the commotion such decisions caused in the past and the position of the law on declaration of results, Mr Justice Crabbe urged all political parties and citizens to be law abiding and to allow the EC to complete its work.

BVDs
In the 2012 elections, the breakdown of biometric verification machines was a major issue but CODEO’s reports indicate that this year, the biometric verification machines failed to function properly at some point in six per cent of polling stations.

“This problem was slightly more prevalent in polling stations in Ashanti (10 per cent) and Upper West (10 per cent) regions. At 56 per cent of polling stations, no one with a valid voter ID card had his or her fingerprint rejected by the biometric verification device (BVD), while at 37 per cent of polling stations a few voters (1 to 5) with valid voter identity cards had their finger prints rejected by the BVD. 

“In 95 per cent of polling stations, no voter who could not be verified electronically was denied manual verification. Election officials in 99 per cent of polling stations never permitted any voter to vote without being verified either electronically or manually” the report said.
Incidents
Mr Justice Crabbe said no major incident of harassment and intimidation of voters or polling officials was recorded at 97 per cent of polling stations.
However, the CODEO observers reported a total of 436 cases verified incidents during opening, voting and counting stages of the polling process throughout the country. 

“Out of this total, incidents around harassment and intimidation of polling officials, and voters was the most recorded (116) incidents of polling station either not open or opened late (66) unauthorized persons at polling stations (44) violence (34) voting or counting suspension (31) and polling stations running out of material (30). Most of these cases were quickly resolved by polling officials and key election stakeholders, such as the security services, and thereby did not affect the polling process,”  Mr Justice Crabbe said.
Field officers
The preliminary report is based on reports CODEO has received from 1,486 out of the 1,500 Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) Observers from every region and constituency.
 The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) deployed about 8,000 trained, accredited, non-partisan observers.





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