Participants at a day’s forum organized by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) in Bolgatanga, on Friday stressed the need for the Electoral Commission (EC) to ensure that adequate voting materials were provided to all the voting centres in the forthcoming general election.

They made the call at the forum themed: “Issues on Voters Education, Peaceful and Non-Violence Election in 2008”

Participants, who were drawn from the various political parties, party activists, aspiring parliamentarians, the youth, and religious leaders in the Bolgatanga, explained that it would be very undemocratic for people to be denied the exercising of their franchise, simple because of inadequate electoral materials.

They lamented the shortage of materials that characterized the recent registration exercise in the country, describing the situation as unfortunate.

“The EC must make sure adequate materials are provided at this time to all polling stations, to enable people to exercise their franchise without any problem,” they stressed.

Participants also stated the need for government as a major stakeholder, to provide enough funds to train and resource the EC to discharge its duty effectively and efficiently.

They appealed to government to create a level playing field for all the political parties and to stop the abuse of incumbency to ensure peaceful election.

Participants expressed concern about the mode in which people with low levels in education were recruited and not adequately trained, to undertake the registration exercise.

“Some people who are not up to date with information on electoral process are put there based on family relationship, which undermines the process,” Participants indicated.

They advocated that when the EC in recruiting people to undertake the exercise, they should recruit people who would not be influenced by the sentiments of any political party to misconduct themselves to undermine the exercise.

Participants asked that the schedule time, which starts at 7 am to 5pm for the voting exercise be rather shifted to 6am to 4pm to avoid darkness.

The Municipal Director of the NCCE, Mr Cletus Abang, advised political party leaders to desist from encouraging praise singers to sing insinuation songs against political opponents since that could spark conflict.

He entreated political party leaders to advise the youth to desist from violence and encourage the electorates to turn up in their numbers to cast their votes during the election.

Mr Abang appealed to party members to always endeavour to invite their political counterparts whenever they were organizing rallies, so as to build good relationships to forge ahead in unity.

He asked the media to be modest and circumspect when reporting events on the election in order not to inflame passion.

Mr Noble Asakeya Alagskomah, a member of the Inter-Party Dialogue Committee, cautioned politicians to be very careful in making promises that could not be fulfilled during their campaigns, and said they could be held responsible when they failed to honour them.

He explained that it was wrong for politicians, especially MPs to state that they could provide certain projects for electorates when it was clearly known that they could only make laws and pass them.

He noted that the MP Common Fund was the tax payer’s money and not from the MPs themselves and said it would be wrong for MPs to make promises on that basis.

Mr Alagskomah indicated that MPs could however lobby with other donors and agencies to seek funding to develop their areas.

Source: GNA