Election Commission to make polling stations accessible

Africa, December 19 2016

GHANA: The Child Rights International (CRI) has tasked Ghana’s Electoral Management Body to improve on conditions at polling stations for the vulnerable in society to participate unhindered in future elections.

CRI also called for advocacy to educate the electorate to understand that some group of electorates including the vulnerable, older people, people with disabilities and pregnant women are not expected to join queues at polling stations.

It said a general acknowledgement of these practices by electoral stakeholders could go a long way to consolidate gains made by the Electoral Commission, security agencies and polling agents within the electoral processes in Ghana.

Mr Bright Appiah, Executive Secretary of CRI, said this at a press briefing in Accra on Thursday following a survey undertaken by CRI during the December 7, polls.

The survey, which was conducted in all the 10 regions, sought to identify trends in handling the vulnerable such as pregnant women, nursing mothers, the aged, parents with children under five and persons with disabilities.

Over the years, CRI said it had witnessed situations where the vulnerable compete with others for the same services in the society.

Throwing more lights on the survey, Mr Appiah said as compared to previous elections, this year’s polls were well organised and efficient.

“This year’s elections had friendly facilities for vulnerable groups to vote without difficulties. The aged were made to vote upon arrival in almost all the polling stations visited”.

The Executive Director of CRI said there were discrepancies in the service provided for pregnant women, nursing mothers and parents with children under five years of age.

Mr Appiah said in the Greater Accra Region for instance, vulnerable groups faced challenges in receiving support from polling stations officials.

In Ashanti Region, he said,” the numbers echoed the finding from the Greater Accra Region.””

He said in the Northern Region in nine polling stations, no persons with disabilities turned up at those places, however, in five other polling stations where they turned up they were given the needed attention.

CRI is a non-governmental organisation established in 1997 with the aim of promoting and protecting the inherent dignity of every child and ensuring that children grow in a safe environment.

Source: GNA

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