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24.03.2004 Politics

Accusation Galore Over Registration Exercise

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NPP is registering aliens - NDC NDC distributing cutlasses to EC officials -NPP But officials rubbish allegations With less than a week to end the current voters' registration exercise (thus barring any extension of the two-week period), tons of accusations are being heaped at the doorsteps of the two main political parties, some of which are quite serious and can cast a slur on the credibility of the exercise, if they happen to be true.

And one could only hope that two of such recent 'rumours' which started making the rounds in the Volta region over the weekend, and have triggered volleys of accusations, remain just the rumours that they are as at now.

For instance, since Friday March 19, some activists and top National Democratic Congress (NDC) members here have been 'crying' over their suspicion of foul play by the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the exercise. They said they noted that four Mercedes Benz buses that stopped over to refuel at the Allied Filling Station in Ho, was full of aliens being transported to Koforidua, the Eastern regional capital, to go and register. At least that was how Capt. (Rtd.) George Nfodjo, former district chief executive (DCE) of Ho, and NDC parliamentary aspirant, put it in an interview.

“I saw the buses refueling and, upon a tip-off, I confronted the driver of one of the buses, who confided in me in Ewe that they were going to register in the Eastern regional capital,” he revealed.

According to the former DCE, the people were mainly women who could not speak any Ghanaian language and seemed to have no idea of the electoral process in the country. He said the women carried eating bowls on their laps and must have been travelling a long way. But the Captain's investigations appeared to have reached a dead end, as he could not take down the registration numbers of any of the four buses. Neither could he tell whether the numbers were Ghanaian or foreign, let alone tell the polling stations where they were heading to.

“My brother, before I could do so the buses had sped off, and I can't tell whether they were actually going to Koforidua or some other place,” he added, stressing that, as a matter of fact, the people were aliens.

Then just around that same time, NPP activists, saying they smelt foul play in the registration exercise in the region, stormed the paper's regional office. Their accusation was that Hon. Francis Aggrey Agbotse, Member of Parliament (MP) for Ho West, had distributed cutlasses to Electoral Commission (EC) officials in the constituency.

According to David Azim, NPP activist and campaign manager for Ms. Elizabeth Ohene, Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education, and parliamentary aspirant, who narrated the story, the deal had been revealed to him by his men on the ground, as he monitored the exercise.

He named five polling stations at Kpedze and other stations at Akorme-Gbota, Dodome-Awiasu, , Dodome-Dogbome, Aflakpe and Hornuta, as some of the places where cutlasses exchanged hands between the MP and the EC officials. “These were confirmed to me unanimously by many people as I toured the constituency, with some of the beneficiaries asking my party (NPP) to also do same to merit our claim as people in power,” he said.

Unfortunately, Azim too could go no further with his information, even though he swore heaven and earth that the distribution actually did take place. He did not question the said officials, neither could he give their names, even though his agents had been working with them since the beginning of the exercise. When The Chronicle went on an investigative mission, the picture looked as blur as the word, and the heads of named parties at the centre of the saga virtually rubbished the allegations in no uncertain terms. On the issue of carting in aliens, Mr. Lord Commey, NPP national organizer, said such a story could easily be concocted from somebody's office or house, and suggested that the Captain might be playing one of those funny games.

“What is Nfodjo talking about? He could not identify the registration numbers of a single vehicle, out of four, after he claimed he interacted with the drivers, and yet he wanted to make a case. He may be imagining some of the things they (NDC) did when they were in power,” he fumed. The national organizer added that there are youth associations everywhere in this country, and many of these people often want to vote at their hometowns. “If that is what he is talking about then it is no news because there is no law against that,” he added.

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