The Electoral Commission (EC) has schooled political party youth wings in the Ayawaso East and North Constituencies on the various electoral offences. An electoral offence could be described as an act of omission or commission on the part of an individual or persons that risks compromising the outcome of an election.
Mr Nantogmah Abdul-Rashid, the District Electoral Officer of Ayawaso, speaking at an engagement with political party youth activists, said it was an offence to deliberately obstruct or interfere with the work of an electoral officer.
The one-day seminar, which was attended by 40 youth from the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the Convention People's Party (CPP) the Progressive People's Party (PPP) and the People's National Convention (PNC) was organised by the Accra Metropolitan Office of the National Commission for Civil Education (NCCE) in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the EC.
The objective was to educate the youth of the various political parties on the need to ensure peace before, during and after the 2016 general election. Using PNDC Law 284, the Representation of the People Law, 1992, Mr Abdul-Rashid said it was an offence to register more than once throughout the entire country.
He said that it was an offence to offer false information for purpose of nomination as a candidate and to nominate more than one candidate in a particular election. Others are attempting to vote before poll officially opens or after it formally closes, voting or attempting to vote in the name of another person, living, dead or fictitious and putting anything other than a ballot paper into the ballot box.
The rest are removal or defacing any notice or poster lawfully displayed in connection with an election, forging or destroying a nomination form, ballot paper, an election result or any form related to an election.
He said it is an offence for anyone to print or be in possession of a ballot paper without lawful authority, or to be in possession of a ballot box or tamper with ballot box or its content during election.
Mr Abdul-Rashid said other forms of electoral offences were compelling somebody to vote in a particular way, impeding or preventing a voter from freely exercising his/her voting right and also assisting a political party or a candidate to gain unfair advantage over others.
He mentioned giving or accepting anything of value for the purposes of voting or refraining from voting also constituted an electoral offence.He also cautioned the youth against organising or training a group of persons in the use of force, violence or vituperative songs, with a view to committing disharmony or a breach of the peace or gaining an unfair advantage in an election.
Chief Superintendent Kwesi Ofori, Adabraka District Police Commander urged the public to have confidence in personal of the Ghana Police Service. He said the police together with other state security agencies would secure the security of the nation before, during and after the December 7, general election.
He cautioned the youth against allowing themselves to be used by others to cause violence.
He said it was essential that Ghanaians cooperate with the security agencies in protecting the citizenry, since maintaining security is everyone's responsibility. He urged all and sundry to abide by the laws of the country. Mrs Lucille Hewlett Annan, the Greater Accra Regional Director of the NCCE, said elections were about contest of ideas and therefore, Ghanaians should not see their political opponents as their enemies.
She said it was high time Ghanaians learn lessons from nations such as Sierra Leone and Kenya, who went through terrible violence due to electoral dispute. She urged politicians to follow due process of the law in addressing their grievances. Mrs Annan also advised all would be winners in the December 7 general election to jubilate with moderation.
The youth in a communiqué at the end of the meeting pledged to ensure violent free elections in their respective constituencies. It was issued by General Ollabode Williams of the NDC, Alhaji Buhari Yakubu of the NPP, Mr Mohammed Hadi Abdallah of the CPP, Mr Mohammed Hadi Ismail of the PNC and Mr Bilal Abubakar Adam of the PPP.