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Commonwealth observers applaud Ghana’s COVID-19 precautions amidst general election


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Gbenga ADANIKIN, reporting from Accra, Ghana


THE Commonwealth Observer Group, chaired by Emmanuel Ugirashebuja, on Monday described as ‘impressive’ Ghana’s precautionary measures taken to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), even as the nation embarks on its Presidential and Parliamentary election today.

“From the airport, we are impressed that the election commission employed people who are called COVID-19 ambassadors to really ensure that the very basic hygiene and procedures are undertaken in order to avoid any spread of the virus,” he told The ICIR during an interview on his assessment of the poll. He had visited La Bawaleshie Presby School 1 Polling Unit located under Ayawaso East Constituency.

“It is an exceptional effort, very difficult to deal with by some countries but we are really impressed by the measures undertaken by and large.”

Ghana Electoral Commission had scheduled today as the election date after reaching a consensus with its 27 political parties.

The ICIR also observed the electoral officers’ strict compliance with the COVID-19 guideline.

Voters at different polling units monitored by this reporter were encouraged to wash their hands before approaching the ballots. Water, detergents, disinfectants and other relevant items were provided at the polls.

The electoral officials also ensured every voter wears a face mask and receives few drops of sanitisers before exercising their voting rights. The idea of proper hygiene was an organised and common experience across the polling units.

“I am pleased to see so many people, despite the pandemic, exercising their democratic rights,” he added.

However, commenting on the voting process, Ugirashebuja said based on the team’s observation as of the time of the interview, the poll was peaceful.

Though Ugirashebuja who was a former President of the East African Court of Justices said it would be too early to conclude, he promised to provide a more detailed assessment once other observers deployed to the remaining parts of the country submit their various reports.

 

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