The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) has condemned the presence of heavy security as well as masked security officers at polling centres at the just-ended Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election.

Albert Arhin, the National Coordinator of the Coalition, said the presence of the security officers created voter apathy where people were frightened to come out and vote.

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“This is not good for elections. What are security officers who are supposed to monitor elections going around in masks?” he questioned.

Speaking on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme Friday, he said they are not happy with people wearing masks going around the polling stations because it scared voters.

“When you have heavy security with regards to election, you will put fear and intimidation into people. Already, the attendance is not too encouraging so when we have heavy security added to that, the voter apathy becomes too obvious,” he said.

His comment follows the chaos that characterised the by-elections at Bawalashie in the Ayawaso West Wuogon on Thursday morning where some persons were shot and injured.

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The NDC withdrew from the elections citing security reasons and have vowed not to recognise the elected candidate.

Commenting on the development, the CODEO National Coordinator said although as observers they do not know what triggered the chaos which led to the shooting incident, they found it disturbing.

Regarding NDC’s withdrawal, Mr Arhin said it was unfortunate as the EC cannot do anything about it.

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“In electoral matters, the withdrawal should have taken place long ago. If one withdraws at a time when the ballots have not been printed, there is a time limit for that,” he explained.

“Now, everybody who goes to vote for the NDC will be counted, so whether they have withdrawn or not, the EC will not be worried about it,” he said.

On the way forward, Mr Arhin called for consensus building with all stakeholders for a peaceful election in 2020.

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