Ghana: Pre-Election Poll Finds Majority Doubt Credibility of Electoral Commission , Shouting Need for Protection at Polling Stations

With barely 35 days into the general elections, majority of Ghanaians are calling for armed security personnel presence at polling stations on the election day on December 7 to protect them in the event of violence.  This concern of the electorate is contained in a pre-election survey report by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), an independent research and advocacy think-tank.

“Levels of trust in the Electoral Commission (EC)  and other non-party state and non-state bodies directly and indirectly involved in delivering peaceful elections with credible outcomes are generally high, particularly for the military, police, and media. However, there is considerable apprehension about violence by party and candidate supporters. Respondents remain concerned about the activities of party vigilantes – which is underscored by the desire of 8 in 10 respondents in our survey for armed security personnel present at the polling stations”, the report released by the CDD on Friday, October 30, pointed out.

Also significant in the key findings of the CDD study is the reservation expressed by some respondents about vote count integrity of the December 7 polls.

“Serious concerns remain about the integrity of the vote count and result in transmission process. A large minority – more than 4 in 10 – express concerns about the wrong vote tally being announced, and about a third are not confident that their vote would be counted  (concerns that are far higher than  2016)”, the report said.

According to the survey report, a substantial majority of respondents want to see independent domestic and international observers present for the polls.

Reported incidents of violence and violent behaviour during the new voter registration exercise and in the electioneering, coupled with recent upsurge of highway robbery attacks leading to the death of a number of persons including a Member of Parliament, has caused a general sense of insecurity and fear of electoral violence on the voting day among the Ghanaian public.

Supporters of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) last weekend-- on October 24 engaged in a bloody clash in one of the popular constituencies, Odododiodoo, in the Greater Accra Region, leaving a number of them injured and hospitalized.