The Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has launched its preliminary report on monitoring the right to vote and observing the 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections in Ghana.
The Commission as part of its mandate to promote and protect the fundamental human rights and freedoms joined other civil society organizations in a broad effort to monitor the elections to enhance the credibility and maintain peace and stability in the nation.
The Commission with the assistance of the Electoral Commission (EC) also trained and deployed 335 observers on the polling day, December 7 led by the Commissioner.
Ms Lauretta Vivian Lamptey, Commissioner of CHRAJ speaking at the presentation of the report said the Commission’s preliminary observation across the county indicated that political party campaigns were largely successful devoid of incidents except few occurrences in the regions resulting in various degrees of injuries and other isolated casualties.
The report forms part of activities to mark this year’s United Nations (UN) Human Rights Day Celebration in Accra.
Ms Lamptey said the political parties observed the rule that campaigns should end 24 hours prior to Election Day.
She said there were significant reports that polls did not start at the statutory time of 7.00am in a number of polling stations due to late arrival of Electoral Commission officials and materials for voting with some polling officials attributing it to lack of transportation.
She said turnout of voters was generally very high with some voters reporting at certain polling stations as early as 1.00am, forming long queues and patiently waiting for long hours in order to vote.
Ms Lamptey said personnel from the security agencies were professional in performing their duties as they came under intense pressure from some irate voters who had formed long queue to exercise their franchise amidst numerous reports about glitches of the verification machines.
She said officials of the EC were generally professional and courteous in dealing with voters, especially those who were frustrated and irate because the biometric verification of voters had become very difficult at some polling stations.
She said persons with disabilities and the aged were assisted to vote whiles sick and nursing mothers were given the opportunity to vote out of turn.
Ms Lamptey said the Commission also noted some challenges that had the potential to undermine the enjoyment of the right to vote before and during polls.
She said some of the parties used children in their campaign activities citing instances where the NDC and the NPP used children in their campaign rallies making presentations on the pros and cons of free SHS education.
She said some chiefs were also seen flouting the constitutional injunction not to engage in active partisan political activity.
She cited for example a chief was observed campaigning at a rally held at by the NDC at the Kulikuli School in the Northern region.
Ms Lamptey also said some media houses clearly showed through their broadcast the political party they supported.
Dr Kamil Kayode Kamaluddeen, UNDP Country Director who read the UN Secretary General’s message on Human Rights Day said everyone had the right to be heard and to shape the decisions that affect their community.
He said this right was enshrine in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and fully integrated in international law, especially in article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
He said even though over the past century undeniable progress along the path of inclusion had been made, yet far too many groups and individuals faced far too many obstacles.
Dr Kamaluddeen said women had the right to vote almost everywhere but remained hugely under-represented in parliaments and peace processes, in senior government posts and corporate boardrooms and in other decision-making positions.
He said indigenous people frequently faced discrimination that denied them the opportunity to make full use of their guaranteed rights or failed to take account of their circumstance.
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