Dr. Afari Gyan, witness for the second respondent and Chairman of the Electoral Commission has said it is wrong for Dr. Bawumia, a petitioner, to describe polling agents of political parties as “exalted observers”.
He said this while giving his evidence-in-chief on day 24 of the hearing of the election petition.
The role of polling agents has been a high point of controversy, with petitioners insisting that it was the EC’s responsibility to ensure election results are credible and not the polling agents stationed by parties at the voting centers.
Asiedu Nketia, General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC),during his evidence-in-chief for President Mahama and the NDC, has also said was rather polling agents who are responsible for ensuring, among other things, that elections are properly supervised.
Today however, Dr. Afari Gyan has said the polling agents were part of the team of officials of the EC and are mandated to “do their work in accordance with the law” or “risk perjury”.
The returning officer for the presidential elections Dr. Afari Gyan said about 270,000 party agents of political parties were trained. This attested to the importance accorded to the work of polling agents. They are not be regarded as observers, he said.
He explained that observers, local or international, have no right to sign pink sheets or make a protest but polling agents do.
Hence this privileged position of polling agents to sign a pink sheet or to protest to the conduct of the polls showed they are not merely observers.