EC must reconsider mobile phone ban at polling stations-former Court of Appeal judge
A former Court of Appeal judge, Justice Isaac Duose, has asked the Electoral Commission to reconsider its decision to bar mobile phones at all polling stations during the December 7 elections.
Ahead of the election which the opposition and the EC have had very little to agree on, Justice Duose said the decision does very little to promote transparency.
“Why in the name of transparency would you want people to avoid using cameras at polling stations which would be evidence of transparency?”, he said 31st West Africa Nobles Forum End of Year Conference/Award in Accra on Thursday.
He, therefore, urged the EC to withdraw the advert, which directed the public to desist from using mobile phones to take pictures or record videos at polling stations on the election day.
“It is only when pictures are taken at the polling stations that we can be sure of that there is transparency. Why no pictures? Anything else is opacity,” he said.
Some say the EC’s decision was probably informed by the barrage of criticism that it received during the voter registration exercise in August, during which social media was flooded of images of people disrespecting social-distancing rules at registration centres.
The violence incidents at a few polling stations also went viral on social media.
India and Uganda are the only two countries to have banned the use of mobile phones at polling stations in recent times.
Turning his attention to the need to maintain peace in the country before and after the December polls, the former judge urged Ghanaians to keep the country together in a turbulent West Africa sub-region.
He, however, pointed out that the rising tension that came with the country’s election was because of “too much monetisation of our politics.”
“We saw it during the primaries. People sold their votes for refrigerators, bicycles, rice, sugar, cooking oil. What despicable behaviour is that?
“The only right you have to control the politician, you sell it for a bag of rice. Why? Is rice so expensive that you can’t afford it? When you sell your constitutional right, you have cut off your thumb in exchange for a bag of rice and in some cases, a bag of salt.
“When a man or a woman buys your vote, when they get there, they would not have any respect for you. Let us not give politicians the opportunity to abuse us. As you do those things, you are giving them the opportunity to treat you anyhow,” he said.
He also cautioned the public to wary of vile politicians who were unworthy of the honourable tag.
The President General of the West Africa Nobles Forum rallied Ghanaians to be united and build the country as foreigners could not build it.
“Together, we need to help one another. Instead of people going abroad, it will be better for us to stay and build on the foundation stones of our forbearers. We can go abroad for education but we must return to build our country,” he said.
He bemoaned the greed and selfishness that he said had eaten deep into the fabric of the Ghanaian society and observed that it was holding back the development of the country.
A private legal practitioner, Godwin Edudzi Tamekloe who was among those honoured on the night attributed the country’s acrimonious politics to the ‘winner takes all system’.
“The acrimony has given birth to peace entrepreneurs who operate in election years and on temporary retirement after elections. While Ghanaians are peace-loving, Ivory Coast was also peace-loving before it degenerated into violence,” he added.
He said while the work of the EC would always be looked at with suspicion by the position as had been the case since 1992, it was incumbent upon the commission to work beyond reproach.
Seven Ghanaians were awarded for distinguishing themselves in their various fields of endeavour.
They are the CEO and Founder of the COA Herbal Centre, Prof Samuel Ato Duncan; President of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, Ghana, Rev Patricia Sappor; the CEO Maphlix Trust Ghana Limited, Felix Yao Mawuli Kamassah; the Chief Internal Auditor, Jospong Group, Dr Francis Denteh; the CEO Jofel Catering Services, Felicia Danquah and CEO Gratis Foundation, Emmanuel Kwaku Asiedu.
Thirteen others were also inducted into Noble Club 100, a group of distinguished personalities who were recipients of the WANF awards in the past.