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29.06.2004 General News

Opposition parties call for emergency IPAC meeting

By GNA

Accra, June 29, GNA - The Grand Coalition of Opposition Political Parties on Tuesday appealed to the Electoral Commission (EC) to convene an emergency meeting of the Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) to deliberate on variances in the provisional registration figures. "Considering the rate of anomalies and discrepancies in the Commissions' own published figures, the parties served notice to request the Commission to convene an emergency IPAC meeting to enable the various parties put their views across."

The position of the five parties was contained in a working document obtained by the Ghana News Agency at the end of a two-and-a-half hour meeting held by the Coalition at the Headquarters of the People's National Convention (PNC) to discuss the voter registration and photo-taking exercise.

The five opposition political parties were the PNC; National Democratic Congress (NDC); Convention People's Party (CPP); Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) and the Every Ghanaian Living Everywhere (EGLE).

The parties expressed concern about alleged discrepancies in official figures released by the Commission on March 29, 2004 as well as lapses in the photo-taking process.

"The Commission's figures showed widespread blanks in the returns for Ashanti, Upper East and Eastern Regions rendering meaningful analysis impossible and facilitating possible concealment or fraud," the parties alleged.

"In a number of cases, the registration figures released cannot stand up to basic arithmetical and stocktaking scrutiny." The parties also expressed concern about an alleged illegal photo taking and issuance of voter identification card at the Commission's Headquarters during the Greater Accra exercise in direct contravention of the recommendations of the Ashiedu Keteke District Registration Review Committee (DRRC).

They said the DRRC had recommended the cancellation of the registration of 431 potential voters, who were challenged but failed to appear before it. However, the Commission declined to take action on the recommendation.

The parties, said the DRRC Chaired by Nii Tetteh Tsuru II, Atupkai Manste, during its deliberations found out that all the nine people whose registration were challenged and appeared before the Committee indeed crossed the boundary between Osu Klottey and Ashiedu Keteke therefore, the challenge that they were non-residents was valid. Reacting to the allegations, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Chairman of the Commission, debunked them and explained that figures released were provisional ones to assist stakeholders have an idea of the registration statistics.

Dr Afari-Gyan said the Commission adopted a three-prong approach for capturing the particulars of voters - in the registration form, poll book and the checklist to eliminate discrepancies.

The Commission, he said also issued daily accounting forms to each registration official, which were endorsed by both the official and political party agents at the centres.

He advised the parties to crosscheck the figures vis-a-vis figures on the daily accounting forms in their possession.

Dr Afari-Gyan said the Commission was compiling figures for the final register and would make public statement after the exercise. On the alleged taking of photographs at the Commission's headquarters, Dr Afari-Gyan said the Commission decided to transfer the registration of all the 440 potential voters to their appropriate polling centres and mounted an exercise at the Headquarters to enable those affected have their photographs taken.

Executive members of the parties including their General Secretaries attended the meeting.

They included, Mr Dan Lartey, GCPP Presidential Candidate and Chairman of the Coalition; Dr Mike Mensah-Bonsu, PNC Chairman; Mr Ato Ahwoi, Leading Member of the NDC, Mr Johnny Hansen of the CPP; Alhaji Ahmed Ramadan of PNC and Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, The Minority Chief Whip. Others were Mr Danny Ofori Attah, Chairman of EGLE, while the General Secretaries were: Dr Nii Armah Josiah Aryeh of NDC; Dr Nii Noi Dowuona of CPP; Mr Gabriel Pwamang of PNC; Mr John Ameka of GCPP and Alhaji Alhasan Bene of EGLE.

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