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01.11.2008 Politics

Parties in Upper East Satisfied with EC's Arrangements

By GNA

Major political parties in the Upper East Region have expressed satisfaction with the work so far being executed by the Electoral Commission (EC) as the country prepares for the general elections on December 7.

Executive members of the four dominant political parties in the region gave this impression when the Ghana News Agency interacted with them in Bolgatanga to ascertain their views on the performance of the EC, and to know how they assessed the general electioneering atmosphere in the region.

The ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), the Convention People's Party (CPP), the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and the People's National Convention (PNC), agreed that the EC had so far performed satisfactorily in its preparations towards ensuring a successful election.

However, representatives of the NDC also observed that in spite of the credible performance exhibited by the EC, there were still hitches that the Commission could correct before December 7.

The Bolgatanga Constituency Chairman of the NDC, Mr. Epsona Ayamga and his Secretary, Mr. Roland Ayoo, expressed concern about a possible selection of electoral officers from particular political parties to the detriment of the other parties, and urged the EC to appreciate such concerns and address them accordingly to avoid suspicion.

They called on the EC to be firm and fair in dealing with all political parties and warned that the NDC would not spare any hired personnel from the Commission whose actions or inactions would suggest that they had been bought to derail the election process.

The constituency executives called on the EC to provide adequate election materials to its officers to avoid delays on election day, and that any such delays could be interpreted as attempting to disenfranchise the electorate which could have disastrous consequences.

The Regional Chairman of the NPP, Mr. Ahmed Tahiru Issaku, said Inter-party Dialogue Committee meetings in the region had contributed immensely towards appreciating the work of the EC because parties now had the opportunity to express concerns where necessary, and enabled parties to seek explanations on certain issues from the EC which had contributed greatly to the parties' understanding of the work of the EC.

Mr. Issaku also expressed similar concerns regarding the engagement of people with open affiliation with political parties as returning officers and said several attempts to get the EC to correct the anomaly with two officials known to have connection with a particular party in the Builsa North Constituency had not yielded any response.

The Regional Chairman pledged his party's readiness to ensure that it strictly lived up to its responsibilities in order to promote and guarantee a free, fair and transparent election on December seven.

He further indicated that there would be no cause for suspicion if all the parties were committed to doing the right thing, adding, "we are taking our time to address all issues we are supposed to and to complement whatever role we have been assigned to, in order to ensure total peace.

Mr. Issaku said as part of efforts towards a fair and transparent election, his party had engaged committed and reliable people as polling agents and had drawn workable plans to train them to be abreast with election rules and regulations at the polling station level, so as to avoid interference with EC functions.

The Regional Chairman of the CPP, Mr. Ramson Yimbil, said his party was content with the work so far done by the EC and that the party would rely on committed polling agents who are knowledgeable and familiar with the electoral rules.

He declared that the CPP was a peaceful party that frowned on violence and said as part of ensuring peaceful election, the party had vowed not to engage “macho men” as polling agents. "We will deal with people who are wise and committed to the principles of the party; people who appreciate life and would work at sustaining it and not robots whose actions are computed by others."

The Regional Secretary of the PNC, Mr. Henry Fatchu, said since political parties were taken to the "Engine room" of the EC in Accra, it has erased any suspicion that the EC could be involved in the rigging of elections in the country.

He noted that it was through hard work and commitment on the part of political parties and their polling agents that any skirmishes or vote rigging at the polling stations could be prevented, and said the PNC had prepared adequately to ensure that no electoral malpractices would occur, particularly on the part of its members.

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