Tue. May 18th, 2021

By Kodjo Adams, GNA

    Accra, Dec. 9, GNA – The European Union Observation Mission (EU EOM) in Ghana on Wednesday said the just ended elections were conducted in an efficient, transparent and peaceful atmosphere, in spite of a few isolated violent incidents.

    “Ghanaians voted freely, and while there were isolated violent incidents on Election Day and during the campaign, fears of violence and vigilantism fortunately did not materialise,” the Mission said.

    Mr Javier Nart, the Chief Observer, said this in Accra at a press briefing on the Mission’s preliminary statement of the elections.

    Mr Nart said incidents of unregulated political finance, misuse of state resources and numerous instances of vote-buying resulted in an un-level playing field prior to the elections.

    He said voting on Election Day was well managed, voters able to freely express their franchise and the presence of almost all party agents in the polling stations.

    The Mission said counting was transparent although procedures were frequently not followed, and party agents received signed copies of the result forms.

    However, the Mission observed that collation was less well organised but key transparency measures were adhered to, adding that domestic observers contributed to the transparency and credibility of the process.

   On campaign environment, Mr Nart said the election was held in a highly competitive atmosphere dominated by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party and former President John Dramani Mahama of the National Democratic Congress.

    He said the media operated in free environment, characterised by heavy presence of partisan radio stations and a few independent and professional outlets coexist, stressing that no cases of journalists attacked were registered during the observation.

    However, Mr Nart said allegations of involvement by the National Communications Authority in malicious interruptions to the broadcast signal of other media houses were reported a few days to the elections.

    Touching on persons with disability, the Chief Observer said the Electoral Commission provided tactile ballot jackets for visually impaired voters.

    Also, cascade training were held by the Commission in collaboration with the Ghana Federation of Disability to ensure that visually impaired voters knew how to use them and instructions given at the polling stations.

    Ms Mary Boland, Social Media Analyst, EU EOM, said polarised online campaign characterised by misinformation that risked confusing voters were reported, adding that low digital literacy left the online discourse open to manipulation.

    She said political campaigning and discussion took place in closed chat groups on WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram Messenger and Twitter and Snapchat.

    The Mission arrived in Ghana on October 31, 2029, and deployed 80 observers throughout the country to observe post-electoral developments.

    The Chief Observer would, in two months, return to Ghana to present a more comprehensive final report containing recommendations of the elections to improve the quality of future exercises.

GNA