8 December 2012

Ghana: President Mahama Addresses Media On Electoral Challenges Today

President John Dramani Mahama will be speaking to the press at 6am prompt on Saturday December 08, 2012.

The press conference will focus on pertinent issues arising from the Presidential & Parliamentary Elections held on December 07, 2012.

Venue is the Ghana International Press Centre, Accra. This statement is signed by the Press Secretary to the president, John Jinapor.

According to the GNA, Friday's general election was generally peaceful, but it was dogged by rampant cases of late arrival of voting materials at many poling centres. collapse of the biometric verification machines and rejection of the finger prints of eligible voters.

The Electoral Commission (EC) has decided to allow voting to continue in polling centres where the biometric machines failed during voting on Saturday.

The order does not, however, affect those whose finger prints could not be verified by the machines, the Director of Public Affairs of the Electoral Commission, Mr Christian Owusu-Parry, said.

Voters in the affected areas should go back home and return on Saturday when the EC would send new biometric verification machines for them to vote.

There has been a chorus of concern on the collapse of the biometric verification machines or failure to recognise the fingerprint of eligible voters.

There was also concern about the late arrival of voting materials in polling centres.

The Electoral Commission has issued a statement saying all eligible voters in the queue before the close of voting at 1700 hours would be allowed to vote.

The statement signed by Mr Kwadwo Sarfo-Kantanka, Deputy Chairman (Operations) posted on the EC website said: "The Electoral Commission wishes to inform the general public especially registered voters in polling stations where voting did not start early due to the late arrival of election materials, that the Commission has an inbuilt mechanism that will make it possible for all eligible voters who are in the queue before 5:00pm to vote.

"All eligible voters who are in queue before the close of polls at 5:00pm will be offered the opportunity to vote when the poll officially closes.

"The general public is entreated to be patient and allow the process to run smoothly."

Meanwhile, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on Friday expressed concern about the electoral technical hiccups that has led to the possible disenfranchisement of many voters mainly due to the collapse of the biometric verification machines.

Mr Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, the Campaign Coordinator of President John Dramani Mahama, told a press conference in Accra that many people were also disenfranchised because the biometric verification machine rejected voters with valid voter's identification cards.

He said there were many polling stations where people had not voted because of the collapse of the machines, citing himself as an example as he had not been able to vote.

"If we want free and fair election the EC should create the conducive atmosphere. The verification machines are not working and people are being told to go home. This is unacceptable," Mr Afriyie-Ankrah said.

Mr John Jinapor, Presidential Spokesperson, argued that people with valid biometric voter identification cards who had been rejected by the verification machines should be allowed to vote.

"People are being punished because a machine has rejected them. The EC should take appropriate steps to allow people to vote. It is a constitutional requirement," he said.

"To disenfranchise people is unacceptable. Whoever is eligible, whoever is in the queue should be allowed to vote."

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