Full Text: CODEO’s Post-Election Observations

Full Text: CODEO’s Post-Election Observations

Introduction

The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) is pleased to share its observations on the 2020 post-election environment following its deployment of 30 post-election observers after the December 7, 2020, presidential and parliamentary elections.

CODEO, consistent with its practice over the years, and as part of its comprehensive observation of the electoral cycle, deployed 30 observers to observe the general post-election environment, particularly the activities of political parties and key electoral stakeholders in 30 purposively selected constituencies across the country. The 30 selected constituencies include:

  • constituencies where the outcomes of the parliamentary election results were/are being contested;
  • constituencies which experienced/recorded immediate post-election violence; and
  • constituencies with a history of election-related violence.

CODEO’s post-election observers have been submitting weekly observation reports covering a range of issues within their respective constituencies, including election disputes/litigation and adjudication; the conduct of political parties, their supporters, and other key actors; the incidence of violence; and the general political environment. This statement summarizes weekly observation reports submitted by the observers and covers the period December 22, 2020, to January 20, 2021.

Summary of Findings:

  • Weeks after the December 7, 2020 polls, the post-election political environment in the constituencies observed is generally calm and peaceful.
  • While the official results declared at the constituency level by the Electoral Commission (EC) were generally accepted by political parties and their supporters, observers reported a few post-election disputes over the conduct and outcomes of the December 7, 2020 polls in the constituencies observed. Some of these disputes have ended up in courts.

Main Findings

  1. The General Post-Election Political Environment

The immediate post-election environment saw several disturbances and protests over election outcomes in some constituencies, as reported in the media. However, weeks on, the post-election political environment in the observed constituencies has generally been calm and peaceful.

CODEO’s post-election observers noted few incidents of election-related disturbances and the threat to peace and security in the constituencies observed during the period of observation. One such incident was an alleged physical assault on the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Constituency Secretary in Awutu Senya East in the Central Region by some persons on January 1, 2021.

Regarding protest marches, the NDC held a march through the principal streets of Techiman to show solidarity with the families of persons who lost their lives in the violent incidents recorded during the elections. The march, which was organized by the Bono East branch of the NDC, called for justice for NDC supporters who lost their lives at Techiman and in other parts of the country during the elections.

  1. Post-Election Disputes and Adjudication

In a few of the observed constituencies, such as Techiman South in the Bono East Region, Hohoe in the Volta Region, and Sefwi Wiawso Constituency in the Western North Region, there were some protests over election outcomes, with some of these disputes ending up in court. The NDC was the party associated with many of these protests. In Hohoe, the defeated NDC parliamentary candidate and four other citizens from Santrokofi, Akpafu, Likpe, and Lolobi (SALL) petitioned the court to set aside the official election results and asked for a new election to allow the people of SALL to vote in the Hohoe Constituency since they were disenfranchised from voting for a  Member of Parliament on the eve of the polls. Outside of the constituencies observed, in the Assin North Constituency in the Central Region, one person challenged the eligibility for the NDC MP-elect for the constituency on the grounds of alleged dual nationality. At the national level, CODEO has also been following the on-going presidential election petition. The NDC’s 2020 candidate (former President John Mahama) is challenging the Electoral Commission's results and is calling for a run-off of the presidential elections.

Recommendations:

  • CODEO commends all candidates challenging election outcomes in the courts and further urges all candidates, political parties, and their supporters to cooperate with the courts to determine the merits or otherwise of election petitions.
  • CODEO also calls on all stakeholders, the media, and the general public to be circumspect in their general discussions on on-going court hearings so as not to jeopardize legitimate processes of the court.
  • As in the previous cases of election-related violence recorded during the voter registration exercise and in line with public accountability, CODEO calls on the Inspector-General of Police and the Ghana Police Service to inform the public about the status of investigations into all election-related violence recorded during the elections and in the post-election period.

CODEO is continuing with its post-election environment observation and will duly share its findings with the public when necessary. CODEO’s post-election observation exercise is made possible with the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Signed

Albert Arhin,
National Coordinator, CODEO