Professor John Evans Fiifi Atta-Mills, the thrice-defeated National Democratic Congress (NDC) presidential candidate, who is making his fourth and possibly final attempt at the presidency, has slammed the Electoral Commission (EC) and Judiciary for their alleged complicity in the 'rigging' of the 2004 general elections.
The Law Professor and politician, who claimed he sympathized with the families of the over 500 people that were killed in the post-election violence in Kenya, took a swipe also at President John Agyekum Kufuor, who he claimed dashed to the aid of his African neighbours but failed to visit Bawku where eight Ghanaians had died in a chieftaincy-related conflict.
Speaking at a press conference at the NDC headquarters in Accra yesterday, he inferred that there could be plots to assassinate other candidates in the December 7, 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections in Ghana.
He cited the recent murder of Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan and called on government to protect all candidates in the elections.
Prof. Mills said he believed he clearly won the 2004 presidential elections, lamenting that the judiciary failed to do its job after a New Patriotic Party (NPP) minister prematurely announced the results in his party's favour and the matter was sent to court.
“The NDC averted that potential disaster on that occasion by advocating calm and subsequently seeking redress through our courts.
Our judgment that the results were rigged and fraudulently proclaimed has been subsequently borne out by the inability of the judiciary to call for the hearing of the case made against the Electoral Commission until now,” he claimed.
He lambasted the EC, alleging strongly that it connived with the ruling party to rig the election while the judiciary looked on lamely.
“In Ghana, notwithstanding an injunction preserving the authenticity of the ballot papers, the Electoral Commission and its agents have tampered with and destroyed some of the ballot papers thus affecting the outcome of any subsequent recount that may occur.
This has completely frustrated the process and reduced the court case to what appears to be a mere exercise in futility,” he noted.
According to Mills, the NDC government of the 1990s spearheaded transparency, free speech and free elections on the African continent, but contended that the very opposition political parties the NDC advocated for soon started making a mockery of the electoral process by frustrating the tenets of democracy after assuming power.
Citing Togo and Nigeria, he noted that “the notion is growing that you can get away with rigging in spite of the true wishes of the people, if you display enough political bravado and can rely on the security services to shore up palpably fraudulent acts”.
The NDC flagbearer, who spent a substantial part of his energy sympathizing with the dead and displaced persons in Kenya and even called on the International Community to ensure a re-run of the election, suddenly went anti-clockwise by virtually blaming the Ghanaian President and African Union (AU) chairman for rushing to that country when he could have done better things at home.
He said, “The point has not lost on many Ghanaians that President Kufuor has not yet visited the Bawku area but has managed to visit others in similar difficulties. President Kufuor must not forget that it is his position as president of Ghana that propelled him to the AU position”.
Interestingly, minutes after breathing fire by sounding a note of warning that hell would break loose if the December 2008 election is rigged, the professor called on the NPP government to ensure the safety of all candidates.
He also seized the opportunity to name a few members of his 2008 Campaign Team.
Present at the press conference were Dr. Ekow Spio-Garbrah, Mr. Eddie Annan (both former presidential aspirants), Dr. Kwabena Adjei, national chairman, and Mr. Victor Smith, special aide to former President Jerry John Rawlings.
By Bennett Akuaku