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15.10.2008 Politics

Publish Voters Register with photos on website - Opposition Parties

By gna

A number of opposition political parties has called on the Electoral Commission (EC) to publish the Voters Register with photos on its website and provide political parties with copies two weeks before the December polls.

The votes of security officers, who would vote before December 7 2008, should also be counted on the same day to forestall rigging, Dr Kwabena Adjei, Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Spokesperson for the opposition parties, told a press conference in Accra on Wednesday.

The other opposition political parties were the People's National Convention (PNC), United Renaissance Party (URP) and the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) represented by their Chairman, Leader and Youth Organizer in that order.

Dr Adjei said the parties had intercepted a document that detailed plans by the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) to rig the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections. However, he could not provide concrete proof that the document was prepared by the NPP.

He accused the EC of collusion and complicity in the stratagem, saying: "The document betrays the cosy relations between some senior officials of the EC and the NPP and speaks volumes about the attitude and the impunity of the EC, confirming our suspicion that the NPP is manipulating the electoral process and supports our growing lack of confidence in the EC."

He listed 28 points, which the NPP was supposedly planning to implement before and during the elections to ensure that they were returned to power.
The points included plans to connive with EC officials at the polling stations to intentionally use the just ended limited registration exercise to bloat the Register in NPP strongholds and to intentionally create shortage of electoral materials in NDC strongholds.
The document also contained plans to replace legitimate ballot boxes with fake ones containing ballots that have been thumb-printed for NPP, the use of inferior inkpads in NDC strongholds to ensure that most ballots in those areas were soiled with ink and, therefore, declared as spoilt ballots during counting.
"Our men in the EC came out with this new plan since the previous one may fail," he quoted the document as saying.
Dr Adjei also noted that the document pointed to the use of violence to intimidate agents of the opposition parties at polling stations and the use of power cuts and interruptions in telephone communications, especially in areas such as the Central, Western, Northern and Volta Regions as well as the Zongos, during the elections.
He said part of the plan was also to get NPP members to occupy positions in the EC and if not possible, influence EC officials with money and other gains to get them to play game.
"They also intend to infiltrate NDC ranks and occupy many polling station agents' positions with the view to compromising NDC position - they also plan to bring fake ballot boxes containing ballots thumb-printed for NDC to use as evidence to claim that it is the NDC which is trying to rig the elections," he said.
Dr Adjei accused the EC of gross arbitrariness during the recent limited registration, photo taking and exhibition exercises, saying, that all that went to confirm the contents of the document intercepted.

He noted that the Register as it stood now was dirty and was, therefore, not a credible document for elections.

Dr Adjei said at the end of the limited registration exercise 1,835,417 names were added to the Register, while the estimated growth in population of 18 year olds indicated that between 2004 and now, only about 500,000 people turned 18 years in Ghana.
"This represents an addition of 1,335,417 which cannot be properly accounted for by any stretch of imagination," he said.