Journalists will be present in collation centre at headquarters during 2016 elections – EC

Charlotte Osei - EC Boss
Charlotte Osei – EC Boss

For the first time in the history of elections in Ghana, journalists will be allowed in the collation centre, known in the past as the ‘strong room’ – where the final votes will be certified and declared at the headquarters of the Electoral Commission (EC).

Mrs. Charlotte Osei, the Chairperson of the EC made this known in Accra Thursday November 10, 2016, at a media dialogue organized by the Editors Forum, Ghana (EFG)

Mrs Charlotte Osei also called on the media to avoid reports that heighten needless tension and anxiety in the country.

She said for a nation to have peaceful and credible elections, “We need a media just as strong as the Electoral Commission”.

She said this at a press briefing organised by the Editors Forum, Ghana (EFG) to provide an opportunity for both the media and the EC to dialogue ahead of the elections, to enhance understanding of the electoral processes and promote better reportage.

“Before any publication let’s check it to see if we are reporting rightly. If a political party makes claims on our platforms please let them substantiate it, she said.

She asked the media to desist from making assumptions and declaring results of the election ahead of the EC, adding that this practice only heightens tension, particularly because most of these media houses are owned by politicians.

Mrs Osei also announced that to keep the media better informed on issues during the elections, a two-hourly media briefing would be held for the media.

Ms Ajoa Yeboah-Afari, the Chairperson of the EFG, in her remarks said, “Essentially, the aim of the meeting is to provide the EC and the media an opportunity for a dialogue ahead of the general elections, to enhance understanding of the issues and to promote better reportage.”

Mrs Charlotte Osei also spoke about three main areas of the 2016 elections: innovations, flashpoints and other challenges.


Speaking on innovations that will be employed in this year’s elections, she stated that, “For the first time we used biometric devices to enable us know if there are false rejections. The device also gave us a sense of the kind of false rejection we could have prior to the Election Day.”

She mentioned further that the EC will provide two biometric devices for all the 28,992 polling stations across the country so that if one develops an issue, the second device would be employed to avoid interruption during the electoral process.

Still on innovation, she said four technicians will be deployed to every polling station. “A national support team with 20 technicians would work on the election day to communicate directly to the head office and there is also going to be a toll free number for the media and the general public so that they can call and report and be attended to immediately,” she added.

The EC chairperson also noted that security personnel would be deployed to ensure the smooth running of the election and to curtail any intimidation and harassment of the public including EC staff.

Still on innovations, Mrs Charllote Osei intimated that when results are collated and signed, it will be saved on a laptop and projected on a screen to bring about transparency before it will be sent to the National Collation Centre, formerly known as the ‘strong room’.

“For the first time we would allow the media in the collation center,” she added.

According to Mrs Osei, for the first time also, the EC hosts its own TV show “Ask the EC” where live studio audiences are allowed to ask questions on the electoral processes.

Flash points

There are approximately 29,000 polling stations out of which the police have identified 5000 flash points. According to the EC chairperson, this does not mean that there are going to be conflicts in those areas. However these are areas the police believe everyone should act carefully.

“We all have a duty to manage ourselves in a legal manner and we are also working with the police to mitigate any occurrences. We call on politicians and the media to work on these sensitive areas.” She pleaded.


Mrs Osei, noted that rumour-mongering and intemperate language are what keep her awake at night.

“There are a lot of rumour-mongering and mischief we hear every day that simply defy our imagination,” she said

She gave instances where some politicians and the public have spread rumours about the EC devising means to rig the elections which turned out to be false.

To ensure that no one is disenfranchised as a result of the biometric device, the EC chairperson explained that in addition to the biometric device, manual verification processes would be used.

“When you are confirmed on the register but the biometric device rejects you, you then have to go through the manual verification process and if the process is successful you will be allowed to vote,” she said.

“To have peaceful and credible elections, we need an Electoral Commission that is strong. But we also need a media that is just as strong as the EC,” she pointed out.

By Pamela Ofori-Boateng
Copyright © 2016 by Creative Imaginations Publicity
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