SEVERAL CONCERNS raised by former President Jerry John Rawlings and his National Democratic Congress (NDC) have been described by Minister for the Interior, Dr. Kwame Addo-Kufuor as peripheral.
The minister said the concerns were minor issues that should not destroy the peace and tranquility of the country or put the credibility of the December 7 elections in doubt.
At a meeting with members of the National Peace Council in his residence early this week, the NDC founder, lamented and criticized the government and almost all the stakeholders in Ghana's electoral process including the police, the Electoral Commission (EC) and the media for what he thought were deliberate attempts to rig the December elections in favour of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).
He also chastised state broadcaster, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation for not airing his rallies in the Eastern Region although GBC had followed him throughout his campaign- an accusation which had since been refuted by the Director-General of the William Apem-Darko.
In a swift attempt to address these issues, some of which were pedestrian and flippant, members of the National Peace Council yesterday met with the Interior Minister to find an effective way of handling the situation in the interest of peace and to ensure free, fair and transparent elections in the country.
Present at the meeting were His Eminent Peter Cardinal Appiah-Turkson; Maulvi Wahab Adam, the Ameer in charge of the Ahmadiyya Mission in Ghana; Sheikh Mahmoud Gedel of the Office of the National Chief Imam; and P. K. Opoku-Mensah.
Addressing many of the concerns one by one, Dr. Addo-Kufuor noted that the grievances raised by the NDC were not issues that should be used to put the electoral process in doubt.
He affirmed that the government was desirous of ensuring free, fair and transparent elections and therefore had no intention of rigging the polls, adding that there would be international and local observers to monitor the conduct of polls. The minister assured all that government would not do anything to mar Ghana's enviable democratic credentials that were acknowledged globally.
He however assured the eminent personalities of the Peace Council that he would get in touch with the Attorney-General today in a bid to prosecute all those who may be culpable with regard to the electoral process.
Whilst pledging the commitment of government to ensuring peaceful elections, Dr. Addo-Kufuor also advised the NDC and its founder to always approach the relevant authorities with their grievances without attacking the government and creating unnecessary tension in a potentially volatile electoral environment.
The ex-President was reported to have told the Peace Council that some NDC women were holding a political rally in Accra and two ladies in police uniform came and distracted the programme and when the two supposed police women were confronted, they confessed that they were not police women and that they were only given uniform by the ruling party to operate.
The Interior Minister described the allegation as a wicked lie which should be investigated and that if the NDC had any complaint they should lodge it with the Inspector General of Police (IGP) for the necessary investigation and prosecution.
By Awudu Mahama