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21.03.2007 General News

NDC In Tears

By Daily Guide

Seven long days after its failure to snatch the Nkoranza North Constituency seat, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) is still licking its wounds, churning out conflicting reports regarding the party's woeful performance in last week's by-election.

While the national executives are presenting a tall list of factors, including President Kufuor's visit to the area, a regional executive officer said the party lost because it lacked sound message.

At a press conference in Accra yesterday, the party's national leadership said its members were intimidated, arrested, financially induced, terrorised and harassed by the security agencies, leaving a large chunk of the frightened electorate with no option than flee into the bush on the voting day.

The party again pointed accusing fingers at almost every institution within reach, including the Electoral Commission (EC), government, police, military, traditional rulers, media, CDD election observers, and the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Curiously, the general secretary, Mr. Johnson Asiedu Nketia said even though the party was armed with irrefutable evidence of electoral irregularities, it does not intend to challenge the results in court, claiming it might sound like the complaints of a bad loser.

As stated however, in a frank rebuttal of the allegations, one of the party's activists said the largest opposition party lost largely because it had no message for the people.

Mr. Allotey Jacobs, NDC propaganda Secretary in the Central Region, told Daily Guide yesterday that instead of going to the ground to campaign, the party's leaders confined themselves to the studios of radio stations in Accra and Sunyani with a warped message. Elections, he pointed out, were not won on radio.

The NDC general secretary, popularly called General Mosquito, told journalists at the conference that President Kufuor's visit held Professor John Evans Atta-Mills' team in several areas hostage, preventing them from reaching the people.

“On the penultimate day before campaigning came to an end in the constituency, the NDC's programme for the day was severely disrupted by the presence of the President in the constituency. A rally at Busunya, scheduled to start at 2pm, for which police permit had been issued, was held up until 4.30pm because of the presence in the community of President Kufuor,” he said.

On harassment, he contended that the NPP and security apparatus created a spectre of fear and insecurity in the constituency by peddling lies against it, alleging that it was a ploy to justify the deployment of huge numbers of security personnel before and during the election.

According to the statement, NDC members were brutalised by the military simply because they resisted attempts by the NPP to bribe them, and complained that while NDC supporters were prevented from voting, large numbers of NPP supporters were brought in from adjoining constituencies and made to vote.

The party claimed also that some traditional rulers from Bonte, Boana and Dromankese caused gong-gong to be beaten in their traditional areas, threatening settlers with eviction if they dared come out to vote.

It further stated that the Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Environment, Hon. Stephen Asamoah-Boateng, and Mr. Dan Botwe, a former Information Minister, were sighted inducing voters with money, drinks and building materials, claiming thus that inducement had become the trademark of the ruling party.

“NPP's philosophy that bribery and corruption are the means to secure victory at the polls was glaringly displayed during the by-election. Heavy vote-buying of constituents by the NPP was conspicuous,” it further alleged.

The NDC went ahead to frown at the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) for giving the election results a clean bill of health, the media for not publishing the truth, and the EC because one of the female officials was alleged to have waved at jubilating NPP members after the election.

However, Mr. Allotey Jacobs, one time leader of the now defunct Veranda Boys & Girls Club, advised the party to look inwards for solutions to their electoral defeats and stop the blame game.

He lamented that even the few NDC people who visited Nkoranza North to campaign only stressed on drug pushing by the NPP without telling the electorate what they would do for them.

“Even though Amoateng was arrested over drugs, he had helped the people, so going there to insult their idol would not win the NDC any votes. They should sit up and stop shouting on radio,” he fumed.

It is recalled that Dr. Kwabena Adjei, NDC National Chairman was reportedly nearly lynched last Tuesday at Onipa Hia Moa, during voting because he went there to insult the people.

The NDC national chairman was, however, said to have been saved in the nick of time by the intervention of Prof. Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi, Railways and Harbours Minister, and Mr. Boakye Agyarko, an NPP presidential aspirant.