By Iddi Yire, GNA
Accra, April 16, GNA – The Electoral Commission’s (EC) on Tuesday said internal investigations report has revealed that videos circulating on social media suggesting multiple voting in the December 27 referendum for the creation of six new regions are false.
Mr Samuel Tettey, a Deputy Chairperson of the EC in-charge of Elections, speaking at a press conference, in Accra to outlining the findings of the Commission’s internal investigation, said after analysing the videos and conducting the necessary investigations, their conclusion was that the videos were not real.
Present at the event were Mrs Jean Mensa, EC Chairperson and Dr Eric Bossman Asare, EC Deputy Chairperson in-charge of Corporate Services.
Mr Tettey said the videos circulating, which started circulating on social media immediately after the December 27 referendum presented crucial questions for the Commission’s consideration.
“Our stance was informed by the following reasons: Since we did not issue staff identity cards for the temporary staff we engaged for the referendum, all election officials were given election official’s jackets at the polling station just before the commencement of the voting and were taken back immediately after the results had been declared at the polling station,” Mr Tettey stated.
“We insisted that the jackets should be won throughout the voting period for security and identification reason. All the coordinators and officers who monitored the voting have confirmed that this directive was strictly complied with,” he said.
Mr Tettey said “The question then is: How come that none of the officials sighted in all the videos was wearing the election official’s jacket? Again, these officials were not recruited online.”
He said the Returning Officers (ROs) and the technicians in conjunction with the District Electoral Officer (DEOs) personally recruited and trained all the polling officials; stating that the ROs handed the election materials to the official personally.
He said they also went around for monitoring and had personal interactions with these election officials on the voting day.
He said the election officials submitted the election results and materials back to the ROs after everything was over; declaring that “with this number of interactions, the ROs could have identified the faces of the people involved if there were really the Commission’s staff.
“A critical look at one of the videos, in which somebody was thumb printing ballot papers outside the screen, reveals that the ballots did not bear the conspicuous Yellow and Brown colours for Yes and No respectively as appeared on the ballots for the referendum,” Mr Tettey said.
“In the same video, the logo on the papers on the next table was the old one without the coat of arms which we did not use for the referendum,” he said.
He said it was instructive to note that all the documents they used for the referendum bore the original logo with the coats of arms which had been reintroduced before the referendum.
He said the video did not indicate the locations and the time that the incidents took place and since the Commission had not gotten the capacity to establish when, where and how the videos were shot, things in the video continue to be a mystery till now.
“That is why we are hoping that the security agencies to whom the issues have been referred will expedite action on them to put the matter to rest.
“What we can confidently say for now is that we suspect the videos were put out there apparently to discredit the referendum and the integrity of the Commission,” he said.
Mr Tettey said however, in connection with the second video taken from a location near a grave, the Commission could confirm that from its investigations that the said polling station (CMB Shed D180102) exists in the Jasikan District in the newly created Oti Region.
He recounted that the gentleman who took the video was interrogated by the District Officer but he claimed he was excited to witness the referendum taking place and as a result decided to take the video with his phone.
He said in as much as the Commission accepts that some irregularities might have occurred in the referendum, these were not recorded across the new six regions; stating that the irregularities were not widespread and systematic in the affected regions and therefore, not infractions of the electoral process.
Mr Tettey said in spite of the few challenges experienced, the referendum was generally peaceful and very successful.
“However, we are still looking forward to the police to continue from where we ended and should there be any trace of criminality established, we will give our full support and corporation to have the culprits brought to book,” he said.