The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) has condemned the presence of heavy security as well as masked security officers at polling centres at the ongoing Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election.
Albert Arhin, the National Coordinator of the Coalition, said the presence of the security officers has so far created a voter apathy where people are frightened to come out and vote.
“When you have heavy security with regards to election, you will put fear and intimidation into people. Already, the attendance is not too encouraging so when we have heavy security added to that, the voter apathy becomes too obvious,” he said.
He told Emefa Apawu on Joy FM’s Midday News that the Coalition is not happy with people wearing masks going around the polling stations.
“This is not good for elections. What are security officers who are supposed to monitor elections going around in masks?” he questioned.
His comment follows reports of chaos at Bawalashie in the Ayawaso West Wuogon on Thursday morning during the by-election where some persons were shots and injured.
Just hours after voting started, some armed men clothed in National Security apparel stormed the La Bawalashie Presby polling station.
According to eyewitnesses the armed men fired shots and attacked some agents believed to be opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) agents.
The men the eyewitnesses said they also stormed the home of the NDC candidate, Delali Kwesi Brempong.
The shooting incident lasted 20 minutes until police intervened as the attacks continued.
Subsequently, the National Chairman of the NDC, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, told Joy FM’s Super Morning Show that the party has withdrawn from the elections for security reasons.
Commenting on the development, the CODEO National Coordinator said although as observers they do not know what triggered the chaos which led to the shooting incident.
Regarding NDC’s withdrawal, Mr Arhin said it is unfortunate as the EC cannot do anything about it.
“In electoral matters, the withdrawal should have taken place long ago. If one withdraws at a time when the ballots have not been printed, there is a time limit for that.”
“Now, everybody who goes to vote for the NDC will be counted, so whether they have withdrawn or not the EC will not be worried about it,” he said.
CODEO is disappointed a major contender like the NDC has pulled out of the race and is appealing to the EC to investigate what triggered the attacks and withdrawal.
He said they will come out with their full report later.