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NPP, NDC flouting COVID-19 safety protocols, reports CODEO

The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) says in a report that only a few supporters at political events wear face masks

The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) has accused the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) of disregarding the health and safety protocols of COVID-19 at their rallies.

In its second pre-election observation report, CODEO said only a few supporters, who attend political events, were concerned about their safety.

“With respect to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, CODEO observer reports indicate that few people adhered to the social distancing protocols and wore face masks during campaign activities and other activities by stakeholders. For instance, a rally organized on October 7, 2020 in Ahomahomasu in the Fanteakwa North constituency of the Eastern region to welcome the vice presidential aspirant of the NDC was very crowded with party supporters flouting the required social distancing protocol. During the voter transfer exercise at the Akwatia district office of the EC, social distancing was not observed among some applicants, and only few reportedly wore face masks,” CODEO reported.

The report is based on weekly reports filed by 65 Long-Term Observers deployed across 65 selected constituencies throughout the country. The observers have been monitoring the general electoral and political environment including the activities of key election stakeholders such as the Electoral Commission (EC), the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), political parties, the security agencies, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and religious and traditional leaders.

CODEO noted that the EC has carried out activities to boost public confidence ahead of the 7 December elections.

“Observer reports showed intensified preparatory activities by the EC towards the 7 December, 2020 elections. Activities observed to have been undertaken by the EC include the exhibition of the voter register at district offices of the EC (for participants in the extended voter registration exercise), recruitment/training of election staff, nomination of candidates, and transfer of votes/receipt of applications for proxy voting. During the votes transfer exercise, which was carried out by the Commission from October 20-23, 2020, observer reports showed a generally peaceful exercise across the constituencies observed. However, there were a few cases of disturbances at some centers during the exercise,” the report pointed out.

“CODEO once again condemns all reported acts of violence which took place during the period of observation. The Coalition again calls on the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and the Inspector-General of Police to take swift action against all perpetrators of such violent conduct.

“The Coalition reminds all political parties, party supporters, the Electoral Commission and all stakeholders to be mindful of the risks posed by the COVID-19 and ensure adherence to all relevant health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of the virus.

“CODEO further entreats CSOs and all stakeholders, including faith-based organizations, to intensify their election support activities particularly in support of peace promotion in respect of the elections,” CODEO concluded.

Letting guard down

President Nana Akufo-Addo, has expressed concern about the sudden rise in active cases of COVID-19 in Ghana, and admonished Ghanaians to adhere strictly to the preventive protocols.

Ghana’s active cases of the novel coronavirus disease have climbed to 1,156 from 947 in less than a week, according to the latest update on the Ghana Health Service (GHS) website.

The increase follows a report of 198 new cases, taking the total number of confirmed cases nationally to 49,202. The death toll still stands at 320.

“Our observation, however, is that a reduction in compliance with the preventive protocols accounts for the increase in infections. Fellow Ghanaians, it appears that we are letting our guard down,” President Akufo-Addo said in a televised address on Sunday (8 November 2020).

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