The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has advised Ghanaians to guard the country’s peace and eschew violence as the Electoral Commission collates results of the just-ended presidential and parliamentary polls.
The NCCE noted that although it has observed the generally peaceful conduct of the polls and commends the electoral management body, the media, the election stakeholders and the Ghanaian public for the calm nature they went about the polls, it has noted pockets of violence, disturbances and commotion that if care is not taken, may escalate and mar the beauty of the hitherto peaceful elections during the opening of polls, mid-polls and closing of polls.
The commission in a statement said it is particularly concerned about the isolated reports of violence trickling in after the polls ended on Monday, 7 December 2020 which include the:
1. Alleged shooting incident at the Step the Christ Polling centre in the Awutu Senya East constituency, where a journalist was injured.
2. Alleged shooting of a journalist at Ablekuma Central constituency
3. Alleged shooting of a ballot box snatcher at Obrachire in the Awutu Senya West constituency.
4. Death of two and injuring of one person after an alleged shooting incident at the Modak Hotel, Korley Wokon in the Odododiodio constituency. Gunshots at the City Engineers cluster of polling stations also in Odododiodio constituency.
5. Burning down of the electoral commission office in the Fomena constituency.
These incidents among others, according to the NCCE, are worrying especially after “so much has been committed to educating the public on the need to eschew violence and vote peacefully.”
The commission said it is also concerned about the disagreements regarding counting and collation of results by political parties stalling the conclusion of the process of elections.
“We urge all relevant actors to cooperate with each other to ensure the smooth conclusion of collation results culminating in lawfully declaration of results by the electoral commission,” the NCCE noted in its statement.
“We are equally concerned by the premature declaration of results by the two dominant parties ahead of the electoral commission. The electoral commission of Ghana is the only party mandated by law to declare election results. Political parties but be mindful of their pronouncements ahead of the official declaration by the electoral management body,” the statement added.
The commission also urged the media to be circumspect and use their platforms to preach peaceful cohesion ahead of the final declaration.
The NCCE further commended the security services for the efforts of maintaining law and order before, during and after the close of polls.
It also called on the Election Security Taskforce to step up efforts to protect and preserve “our national peace in order to maintain and jealously guard the gains made in our democratic journey.”
The commission entreated all political parties and the public to be measured in their utterances and actions as well as exercise restraint and allow the electoral commission to perform its constitutional mandate of declaring the election results.