The Electoral Commission has been chastised for not making a statement to reassure voters ahead of tomorrow's election long after fake thumb-printed ballot papers were found in a hotel in Kumasi, the Ashanti Region capital.
Captain Budu Koomson (retd), a security expert, and Dr Eric Oduro-Osai, governance expert, say the Commission and security agencies must work towards assuring voters as well as local and foreign election observers that they are on top of issues in order to prevent a possible electoral chaos.
The Ashanti Region Police Command on Monday retrieved bags of the thumb-printed fake Electoral Commission ballot papers at a hotel in Kumasi. Regional Commander, COP Nathan Kofi Boakye revealed that the Regional Director of the Electoral Commission (EC), Serebour Quarcoo, confirmed that the purported ballot papers were not genuine.
Ashanti Region Chairman of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Bernard Antwi-Boasiko, had led the police to the Madison Lodge Hotel in Kumasi where the thumb-printed ballot papers were found. Mr Antwi-Boasiako claims he received a tip-off on the electoral materials from a trusted source.
However, the hotel’s management has said a known aide to Mr Antwi-Boasiako had rented the room in which the thumb-printed ballot papers were found a few days earlier. The hotel’s management said the Mr Antwi-Boasiako’s aide was also seen with the bags that was found to contain the fake ballot papers.
Speaking on PM Express on the Joy New channel on Monday, Dr Oduro-Osai said the EC must act swiftly on the matter before it fuels speculation that could mar the success of the general elections on December 7.
“I would expect the EC to make a statement on it tomorrow and assure the whole of Ghana how they intend dealing with issues like that as and when they crop up so it doesn’t create electoral chaos,” he said.
Dr Oduro-Osai says the EC must seize the opportunity to map out a plan of action to deal with the incident a similar one recurs in the future.
“If you found semblances of electoral material, they’ve already been thumb printed, what is the strategy between you and the security agencies to deal with them? It was found in the stronghold of the opposition. The thumb-printed ones are going for the other political parties. That on its own will put people on their toes. That on its own can be a recipe for disaster and chaos. You manage it by quickly initiating investigations,” he advised.
“If you don’t share the communication you allow citizens to script the agenda,” he told the EC.
Major Budu Koomson (retd) wants the brain behind the printing of the fake ballot papers to be punished severely to serve as a deterrent. He said the police must descend heavily on anybody who attempts to disrupt the electoral process.
“It’s a fake ballot paper and it’s not a problem? Especially in somebody’s stronghold? Anybody who is trying to subvert the sovereign will of the state should be punished so severely it will deter others. It should be raised to the level of sabotage. The offence should be raised so high just like when you are trying to make a coup,” he said.