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21.02.2007 General News

Electoral Commission On Course With ROPAL

The Electoral Commission (EC) yesterday announced that its programme to enable Ghanaians resident abroad to vote in the country's general election is complete.

“We are done with the paper work and we are now left with the implementation,” the Deputy Chairman of the EC in charge of Finance and Administration, Mr D. A. Kanga, announced at a ceremony at which the Ghana National Party (GNP), a new political party, was presented with its final certificate of registration.

The presentation of the certificate brings to 10 the number of political parties recognised by the EC.

Mr Kanga said the next step for the commission to take was to begin consultations with stakeholders, including the government, the political parties and traditional authorities, for the Representation of the People (Amendment) Law (ROPAL), which was passed last year, to be implemented.

He, however, declined to say whether Ghanaians resident outside the country would vote in next year's presidential and parliamentary elections.

The Interim Chairman of the GNP, Mr Kobina Amo-Aidoo, an industrialist based in Kumasi, and a founding member, Mr Ofori Ampofo, who is a businessman based in the USA, represented the party at the ceremony.

Mr Kanga said any fallout from the voting process of Ghanaians resident abroad would be blamed on the commission and, therefore, appealed to Ghanaians to bear with officials of the EC as they worked towards ensuring the proper execution of the voting process.

Touching on the GNP, Mr Kanga said the commission regarded smaller political parties equally important as the bigger ones.

That, he said, was significant because the wind of change could swing to the side of the smaller political parties to assume the reins of governance.

The Deputy Chairman of EC in charge of Operations, Mr Sarfo Kantanka, commended members of the GNP for the brisk manner in which they went about their pre-registration processes and said their party would be a force to reckon with if they maintained that posture and played their cards well.

He said many political parties had gone through the registration process but had since fizzled out and asked them not to follow suit.

Mr Kantanka reminded executive members of the GNP of the provisions of Act 574 which required them to declare their assets and the sources of their funding within 90 days of registration as well as other requirements.

He asked the executive of the GNP to try to build the party to contest strongly in elections and not rely on forming alliances with other political parties.

Mr Amo-Adioo, who received the certificate on behalf of the party, said the hope of many Ghanaians had faded since many industries had collapsed, many children walked long distances to school, while farmers still wallowed in poverty.

He wondered why the government still contracted foreign loans while the country had fertile lands.

Mr Amo-Adioo decried the acrimony between the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the perceived ethnic tendencies in the country.

According to him, the GNP would not engage in “politics of acrimony and ethnicity”, saying its focus was to transform the economy of the country and restore hope to Ghanaians.

Mr Ampofo, for his part, said the party would pursue a new political direction devoid of selfishness, greed, bribery, corruption, tribalism, nepotism and indiscipline.

“The old political order of vindictiveness will be replaced with unity and open mindedness and we will welcome constructive views from all political opponents,” he said.

Story by Musah Yahaya Jafaru