Story: Kwame Asare Boadu, Kumasi
THE Electoral Commission (EC) is to recruit 110,000 polling personnel for the 2008 general election.
They will take charge of the 22,000 polling stations spread across the country and the number is the biggest ever to be recruited by the EC in any election in the country.
A member of the EC, Nana Amba Eyiaba, who made this known at the Ashanti Regional Special Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) forum on building stakeholders’ confidence in the outcome of the 2008 elections in Kumasi yesterday, said the EC was aware of the crucial nature of the elections and would do everything possible to ensure free, fair and transparent elections.
In recruiting the personnel, she said, the commission would make efforts to ensure that only people with integrity were brought on board.
The commission member noted, however, that as a human institution, the possibility that one bad nut or another could be recruited could not be ruled out.
That notwithstanding, she said, the commission had in-built internal mechanisms to forestall any unpleasant developments.
Nana Eyiaba dismissed any suspicion that the EC could be manipulated to favour one party or another.
“Our independence is intact and we cannot be manipulated in any way by anybody,” she said.
She noted that the integrity of the electoral process was crucial in building a solid democracy for the nation and pledged that the EC was ever prepared to continue to build on what it had achieved over the years.
The commission member maintained that it was only the Chairman of the EC who was clothed with authority under the law to declare the results of the presidential election, stressing, “You can call the results, not declare the results.”
The Director of Finance at the EC, Mr Isaac Boateng, who spoke on the forthcoming voters registration exercise, said there would be about 5,000 polling centres nation-wide, indicating that the commission would publish the names of the centres before the voters register reopened.
He gave the assurance that the EC would work hard to ensure that a greater number of applicants received their voter identity cards before the end of the exercise.
Mr Boateng noted that currently the commission had about 3,000 cameras which could not be used because films for them were difficult to come by.
That was why the commission had to settle on the digital registration process which, even though was costly, would be very effective, he explained.
The director stated that the EC was moving to find ways of managing the negative perception about it in some circles.
Another member of the EC, Mrs Pauline Dadzawa, who chaired the forum, said no commission member had any interest in making life difficult for any political party.
She, therefore, advised the parties to address their concerns with the EC, instead on rushing to the media at the least opportunity.
The Ashanti Regional Director of the EC, Mr Isaac Asomaning, said 87,929 people applied for the replacement of their lost voter ID cards during the just-ended exercise to replace lost, damaged or defaced voter ID cards.