On December 13, 2020, a Facebook user with the name, Mohammed Abdul-Aziz made a post on his timeline claiming that an EC official has been arrested.
The post with the heading “BREAKING NEWS!!!” said that one of the EC official was arrested at Somanya, Eastern region, Ghana.
The post read “EC official arrested at Somanya, Eastern Region. She reduced John Mahama votes by 3000+. The media won’t talk about it. #Still69”
At the time of fact-checking this claim, the post has generated about 21 comments, 88 likes, and 53 shares.
WHO IS AN EC OFFICIAL?
The Electoral Commission of Ghana is the official body in Ghana responsible for all public elections. Made up of seven members, its independence is guaranteed by the 1992 Ghana constitution.
The Electoral Commission of Ghana (ECG), as stated in the Constitution of Ghana, 1992, has the right to appoint staff in consultation with the Public Services Commission (Constitution 1992, Article 53). The ECG must appoint a returning officer for each constituency and presiding officers and assistants for each polling station (Public Elections Regulations, 1996, 1, 17).
POTENTIAL IMPACT OF THE CLAIM
There have been exchange of words between supporters of Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party and John Mahama of the National Democratic Congress.
There are also unsubstantiated allegations of fraud in the December 7, 2020 election that returned Akufo-Addo as the President of Ghana.
Viral claims have the potential to incite violence and civil unrest in protest against the results of the elections.
N-VA’s checked the authenticity of the claim that the EC official was arrested.
Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission of Ghana has tagged the claim fake news on its official Twitter handle.
The commission flagged the news as fake, and also released a press statement to debunk such a story.
The statement titled, “No EC Official has been arrested” urged the general public to disregard such news as fake.
The statement signed by the Electoral Commission said “The attention of the Electoral Commission has been drawn to social media reports alleging that an EC Official has been arrested in Somanya within the Eastern Region in Ghana. The fake news further goes ahead to claim that the said EC Official was arrested for reducing the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Presidential Candidate’s votes by 3,000. We wish to state that this is FALSE. The public is therefore urged to disregard this fake news.”
The commission also has a track record of sharing details of arrests of its officials found wanting as shown below:
The claim that EC official was arrested at Somanya, the eastern region is FALSE.