The Deputy Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana in charge of Finance and Administration, Mr David A. Kanga, has advised leaders of political parties to educate their followers to adhere to the electoral rules and regulations to ensure a free and fair election.
He has also urged them to recruit credible persons as polling agents to monitor the forthcoming elections not only to ensure peaceful elections but also to enhance the country's democratic process.
Mr Kanga was speaking at a special Regional Inter-Party Advisory Committee meeting in Bolgatanga, the Upper East regional capital.
The meeting on the theme: “Building Confidence in the Outcome of the 2008 Elections” was aimed at offering a platform for the political parties to have insight into the work of the EC.
It was organised by the EC with support of Friedrich Ebert and KAB Governance Consult.
Topics discussed included the “Inbuilt Integrity of Ghana's Electoral Process”; “Results and Challenges of the Replacement of Lost Voter ID Cards”; “Revision of the Voters Register — Challenges and Expectations” and “Expectations of the Commission From Political Parties Towards Credible Elections in December 2008”.
It was attended by representatives of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the Convention People's Party (CPP), People's National Convention (PNC), the Democratic People's Party (DPP), and the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), as well as the media.
Mr Kanga explained that rigging of an election could only take place at the polling stations when the political parties appointed as polling agents people who were not vigilant or were illiterate, drunk or ignorant of the electoral process.
He also called on political parties to desist from organising thugs to ransack collation centres after counting at the polling stations. “Let it continue to be said that Ghana is a peaceful place in terms of elections”, he stressed.
Mr Kanga warned media practitioners to desist from announcing uncertified results.
For his part, the Deputy Chairman of the EC in charge of operations, Mr Kwadwo Sarfo Kantanka, appealed to political parties to step up education of their supporters to refrain from acts that could mar the elections.
Mr C.O. Addai, Director in charge of Training, touched on the forthcoming revision of the voters register confirming that the EC would soon embark on a 10-day registration exercise to enable those who had attained the age of 18 to register, adding that the commission would be establishing 5000 registration centres across the country for the exercise.
He, however, cautioned against impersonation and double registration, stressing that anyone caught would be prosecuted.
The Upper East Regional Director of the EC, Mr Iddrisu Adams, disclosed that 9,655 people registered to replace their Voter's Identity cards in the region during the just-ended Electoral Commission's exercise to replace lost IDs.
He added that the highest figure of 2,493 people was recorded in the Kassena-Nankana District while the Garu-Tempane District recorded the lowest figure of 652 people.
The Programmes Co-ordinator of FES, Mr Ibrahim Tahiru, said his organisation believed that inter-party dialogue and co-operation had the greatest potential of eliminating cynicism, mistrust, rancour and bitterness in the political divide and contribute to increased level of trust among them.
“This inter-party dialogue and engagement, if properly managed, would result in peace and security, which are essential for poverty reduction and long-term sustainable development.
It is the goal of every political party to capture power or, if already in power, to maintain it”, he added.
Story by Benjamin Xornam Glover,