Representatives of CODEO Member Organizations
Members of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs),
The Representative of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID),
Development Partners present,
Our friends in the Media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the Advisory Board of the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO), I welcome you all to this morning’s press conference on the eve of the 2019 District Assembly Elections (DLE) and Unit Committee Elections (UCE) scheduled to take place tomorrow Tuesday, 17th December 2019 across the country.
CODEO Preparatory Activities towards the 2019 District Level Elections
Ladies and Gentlemen, about six weeks ago, CODEO launched its activities aimed at supportingthe 2019 District Level Elections and the then impending Referendum to decide whether political parties should be allowed to sponsor candidates to District Assemblies or Lower Local Government Units. Following an announcement by President Nana Akufo-Addo on December 1, 2019 which cancelled the Referendum, the Electoral Commission (EC) notified the public of the cancellation of the Referendum on December 9, 2019.
So far, CODEO has carried out its two major interventions in support of the District Level Elections. As announced at the November 5 Press Launch at the AH Hotel, CODEO deployed 260 District Civic/Voter/Peace Educators to promote public awareness in respect of the election. The Civic/Voter/Peace Educators have been in the field for about six weeks, diligently educating citizens on the DLE and the need for every qualified Ghanaian to participate in the election of their local leaders. The Educators have been working closely with 260 District Directors of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) with which CODEO has been collaborating to deepen public awareness about the elections. CODEO wishes to express its profound gratitude to the NCCE, particularly its Chair, Ms. Josephine Nkrumah, for this great collaboration and for her dedicated support. Over the past six weeks, CODEO’s Civic/Voter/Peace Educators and District Directors of the NCCE have visited thousands of communities across Ghana engaging and sensitizing members of the public about the need to take part in the up-coming elections. CODEO complemented the efforts of these Educators with multi-media campaigns on traditional and social media. As was indicated in CODEO’s launch statement last month, the Coalition’s sole objective for these civic education activities is to promote public awareness of, understanding of and participation in these elections. CODEO’s civic education activities in respect of the elections ended yesterday, December 15, 2019. On behalf of the CODEO Advisory Board and the General Assembly, I want to use this opportunity to thank all Civic/Voter/Peace Educators and District Directors of the NCCE for their hard work and dedication to promoting awareness of and encouraging participation in the district level elections.
Ladies and Gentlemen, while CODEO’s civic education activities were underway nationwide, the Coalition also kick-started its preparations for the deployment of Election Day Observers. On November 25, 2019 CODEO began its cascade training activities for observers, beginning with a Training of Trainers workshop for 28 Regional Coordinators. Between December 9 and 12, 2019, the Coalition conducted regional-level training workshops for all its Observers. As a result, for the 2019 District Level Elections, CODEO will deploy a total of 1100 Observers, comprising 800 stationary Polling Station Observers and 300 roaming Observers on Election Day.
To ensure that CODEO’s information systems are ready for Election Day, CODEO carried out two simulation exercises on Friday, December 13 and Sunday, December 15 for all of its observers. On Election Day, CODEO’s National Information Center will be hosted at the premises of its Secretariat at the CDD-Ghana offices. You are encouraged to visit the NIC after this press conference.
Ladies and gentlemen, from the foregoing, I am pleased to announce that CODEO is ready to observe tomorrow’s District Level and Unit Committee Elections. We will be bringing to you our traditional midday report and a close of polls report. CODEO calls on all eligible voters to go out tomorrow and vote to deepen local development and local governance. CODEO also urges all voters to vote for competent persons regardless of age, gender and disability. Voters should also obey the electoral laws of the country to support free, fair and credible election.
As always, CODEO will uphold its principles of non-partisanship, objectivity and neutrality in the execution of its activities. CODEO further appeals to the media to be circumspect in its coverage and reportage on the elections. The role of the media is to provide accurate information and education to Ghanaians and we expect them to discharge this function in an objective and professional manner.
Finally, CODEO wishes to express appreciation to all its key partners whose support has made this program successful. In particular, CODEO acknowledges the generous support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) which has made the Coalition’s activities in respect of the up-coming elections successful.
May God bless our homeland Ghana
Sheikh Armiyawo Shaibu,