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Sen. Taylor on Training of Election Magistrates

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Bong County Senator Jewel Howard Taylor, a member of the former ruling National Patriotic Party or NPP has called for the need to critically look at the training of magisterial officers ahead of the 2017 general and presidential elections.

She said this will enable them handle election matters that would arise from the pending poll. Speaking at a one day policy dialogue on electoral dispute resolution on Thursday November 19, at the Corina Hotel, Sen. Taylor whose position came under threat due to an electoral dispute rising from the December 20, 2014 Special Senatorial election says, the idea of training magisterial officers will further help them to better resolve election disputes.

She said most of the current officers do not understand the function of the position they occupy and therefore find it difficult to adequately handle election disputes whenever they arise.

“So mine recommendation is that they should create an avenue for magisterial officers to be well trained,” she adds. The one day policy dialogue on electoral dispute resolution, implication for a smooth democratic transition was conducted under the auspices of the Governance Commission. It brought together officials of government, members of civil society, representatives of various political institution as well as other stakeholders.

Sen. Taylor’s recommendation comes as a fear from the recent ruling by the Supreme Court which ordered the National Election Commission or NEC to conduct a rerun of the December 20, 2014 Special Senatorial Election in three electoral precincts in district #7, Bong County.

The court order followed an appeal to the superior court by independent candidate, Dr. Henrique Tokpa against the NEC and Sen. Taylor. In reference to that particular incident, Sen. Taylor said the NEC Board of Commissioners had ruled that the magistrate did not err when they cited 86c of the 1986 constitution. But she said the superior court ruling stated otherwise-NEC presiding officers did not comply with the manual.

By Lewis S. Teh

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