National Coordinator of CODEO, Albert Arhin
With 60 days to the December 7, 2020 elections, the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) has observed that civic/voter education is generally low in the country.
In a pre-election monitoring report, CODEO, therefore, urged the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and the Electoral Commission (EC) not to limit their civic/voter education to the traditional media, particularly radio, but also take advantage of community meeting platforms, street announcements and other forms/modes of educating the public.
It said the voter education must be done in conformity with COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
The CODEO’s pre-election monitoring report is the culmination of a comprehensive observation of the December 7, 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections by 65 Long-Term Observers (LTOs) across the country from September 1, 2020.
The observers were deployed to 65 purposely selected constituencies, which included a mix of constituencies in areas considered as strongholds, swing/competitive and hot spots, as well as some constituencies along border communities in the country. CODEO’s long-term observation was sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The report said since their deployment, the observers had been monitoring the general electoral and political environment, including the activities of key election stakeholders such as the EC, the NCCE, political parties, the security agencies, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and religious and traditional leaders.
The report also indicated low visibility of CSOs’ interventions in support of the upcoming elections.
“CODEO entreats CSOs and all election related stakeholders to intensify their election support activities across the country, particularly in the area of violence monitoring and peace promotion, and educating the citizenry on their civic rights, duties and responsibilities to compliment the work of the NCCE and the EC,” it stated.
It said some disregard for COVID-19 health and safety protocols was observed at some political party activities.
Visibility The report said the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) were the most visible political parties in the constituencies observed as far as political and related activities were concerned.
According to the report, the exhibition of the provisional voters register by the EC witnessed some challenges, particularly with regard to missing names from some registers at some exhibition centres.
The report, therefore, urged the EC to take all necessary steps to rectify identified challenges with the provisional voters register so that all registered voters would be able to vote in the December 7 general elections.
COVID-19 protocols It cautioned all stakeholders to be mindful of all the necessary COVID-19 health and safety protocols to help minimise the potential spread of the virus.
CODEO entreated CSOs and all election-related stakeholders to intensify their election support activities across the country, particularly in the area of violence monitoring, peace promotion and educating the citizenry on their civic rights, duties and responsibilities to complement the work of the NCCE and the EC.