Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Restrict Mobile Phones From Polling Booths During Elections – CSOs

Representatives of civil society organisations (CSOs) in the Northern Region, have expressed serious concern over some people taking pictures of their thumb printed ballot papers during crucial national elections.

They cited the last presidential and parliamentary elections where some people took pictures of their thumb printed ballot papers as evidence to claim money and other inducements promised them by some unscrupulous politicians. 

Thus, the CSOs called on the Electoral Commission (EC) to ban or restrict voters from carrying mobile phones and other devices that are capable of aiding them to take pictures in the polling booths in future elections.

A representative of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Madam Luknia Joyce contributing discussions at a stakeholders workshop, warned that failure by the EC to curb the phenomenon can ‘corrupt’ the electoral system and further create deep-seated acrimony among contending parties or candidates.

“There are watches, pens, necklaces and other devices besides phones that can be used to secretly take pictures. I want the EC officials to avert their minds to this happening in order to prevent any future election disputes”, she stressed.

The training programme, which was organised by Legal Resources Centre (LRC) through the support of STAR-Ghana in Tamale, was a follow up to an earlier one organised in November, prior to the December elections. It sought to enlighten election stakeholders on the electoral justice system of Ghana as a way of consolidating the country’s democracy.

The participants include GNAT, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Department of Gender and Children, Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled, the Ghana Prisons Service, Council of Local Churches and among others.

Project Officer of LRC, Enock Jengre, said the LRC is a non-governmental organisation that promotes the full realisation of individuals’ human rights through education and representation of such persons in court when they have a case but cannot afford to hire a lawyer to defend them.

Besides doing advocacy on law, justice and development, he also noted that, the LRC offer services in the areas of health, education, food security, housing and employment among others.

Mr. Jengre urged the participants to work in partnership with LRC in order to promote fairness and transparency in the country’s electoral and justice system.

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