CODEO Faults Heavy ‘Security’ Presence At Ayawaso West Wuogon By-Election

The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) has expressed disappointment that today’s by-election in the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency in the Greater Accra Region was subjected to such violence which temporarily disrupted voting.

According to CODEO, it’s observers visited  more than half of the polling stations in all the electoral areas across the constituency and spent an average of two hours at each polling station and observed set up and voting processes.

CODEO’s findings as at the end of close of polls revealed that there were violent incident, including shooting incident, which took place in the La Bawaleshie area at East Legon.

While the observers could not confirm the exact cause of the violent incident, CODEO is disappointed that an electoral exercise was subjected to such violence which temporarily disrupted voting.

Observers also noted a generally low voter turn-out across the constituency.

“At the commencement of polls, most polling stations had political party agents present, particularly from the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC). CODEO observers, however, noted the subsequent withdrawal from some of the polling stations observed of NDC agents.”

CODEO said it is also alarmed about the apparent lack of proper security coordination for the election with the heavy and intimidating security presence at most polling stations observed.

Many polling stations had not less than five uniformed security personnel, and in some cases, as high as 15.

“At the Dzorwulu JHS, for instance, two adjoining polling stations had a total of 13 uniformed security personnel as well as a number of non-uniformed security personnel.” 

At the Christian Book Centre at East Legon, nine (9) uniformed security personnel and other non-uniformed security personnel could be seen at the two adjoining polling stations.

“Many polling stations also had security agents in plain cloth, some of whom claimed to be National Security operatives.Some polling stations had separate security teams from the Police, the Immigration Service and ‘National Security.” 

Polling stations were frequented by mobile patrol teams of security personnel sometimes at short intervals of less than thirty minutes.

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