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16.10.2008 Politics

Ensure Free, Fair Election - Coalition Of Opposition Parties

Ensure Free, Fair Election  -  Coalition Of Opposition Parties

A Coalition of six opposition political parties in the country yesterday launched a blistering attack on the Electoral Commission (EC) and called for urgent steps that would ensure that the December elections were free, fair and without rancour and acrimony.

Addressing a press conference in Accra, the opposition parties described the attitude of the EC towards the December elections as the poorest and the most amateurish since the onset of Ghana's Fourth Republic in 1992.

The parties are the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the People's National Convention (PNC), the United Renaissance Party (URP), the Reform Patriotic Democrats (RPD), the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) and the Every Ghanaian Living Everywhere (EGLE).

At a press conference in Accra, the Spokesperson for the coalition, Dr Kwabena Adjei, said it had credible information that suggested that the EC was collaborating with the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to rig the elections.

“The NDC, the URP and, indeed, other minority parties are in possession of a document titled 'Ways and means'. This document contains the massive rigging plans that the NPP intends to visit on the forthcoming presidential and parliamentary polls,” he said.

He alleged that the plan had betrayed the cosy relationship between some senior officials of the EC and the NPP, spoke volumes about the EC's attitude of impunity at IPAC meetings and also confirmed the coalition's suspicion that the NPP was manipulating the electoral process.

He said until 2000, the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meetings had assisted the EC in creating a level electoral playing field and generally refining the electoral process that ensured free, fair and transparent elections.

He said, however, that since the NPP came to power in 2001, the IPAC had remained relatively dormant and become a shadow of its vibrant reformist self, in spite of repeated demands by the NDC and the other minority parties for it to be convened for the purpose for which it had been set up.

“Indeed, the EC was jogged from its inactivity by the legislative initiative taken by the Institute of Economic Affairs and political parties on the public funding of political parties and a review of the Political Parties Law,” he said.

Dr Adjei, who is also the Chairman of the NDC, said to prepare for free, fair, transparent democratic elections, the EC required adequate financial provision and logistics from the government.

He said although the government gave the assurance that it had made adequate budgetary provisions to cover the EC's operations, developments in the EC showed otherwise.

“Ironically, when it comes to its actual field of operations, the EC has consistently and unashamedly contradicted itself by complaining about inadequate financial and logistic requirements,” he said.

On the bloated 2006 voters register, Dr Adjei said upon a critical scrutiny of the 2006 register, the NDC drew the attention of the EC to the bloated registered figures in 13 constituencies in the Ashanti Region.

He said an official of the EC, actively supported by some NPP national executives, derided the NDC for its claim, stressing that “it was not until the GCPP's analysis supported that of the NDC that the matter was taken seriously”.

The coalition also alleged that it had in its possession a 28-point document prepared by the NPP to rig the forthcoming elections.

It quoted the document as urging the headquarters of the NPP and its leadership to provide enought ink and colour photo printing copiers strong enough to meet “the task of the day”.