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22.10.2004 Politics

CDD, CODEO recommend investigations into corruption at primaries

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Accra, Oct. 22, GNA - The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) and the Coalition of Domestic Observers (CODEO) have recommended thorough investigations into reports and allegations of corrupt practices that characterized many of the primaries of the political parties.

The two bodies said the Electoral Commission (EC) and the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) could also conduct their own investigations into the allegations to inform their future civic and voter education programmes.

These were contained in the CDD/CODEO pre-election monitoring report for last September presented by Dr Baffour Agyemang-Duah, Associate Executive Director of the CDD-Ghana, at a media interaction in Accra on Friday.

The Report stated that the conflicts that emerged in the primaries were a reflection of continuing political intolerance as well as weaknesses in internal party democracy.

These, the Report noted, were causes for concern in a young democracy and highlighted the need for civic education to inculcate tolerance and political stability.

"We also recommend that political parties streamline the rules governing the primaries and strive to strengthen transparency and fairness in the ways consistent with constitutional provisions enjoining them to be internally democratic."

Fifty observers trained and deployed to monitor pre-election activities in 50 constituencies in all the 10 regions monitored pre-election events, including the photo-taking exercise and mopping up exercise, voter education, party congresses and rallies, party primaries and political demonstrations and abuse of incumbency.

CDD-Ghana and CODEO noted visits made by President John Agyekum Kufuor and the Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama to some constituencies in September and said reports from monitors indicated that it was sometimes very difficult to distinguish between an official visit and electioneering campaign.

"Party paraphernalia were sometimes visible and speeches sometimes had elements of partisan campaigning. Failure to clarify the line between official/state visit and partisan campaign visits by incumbent officials appears to create the potential to grossly abuse incumbency." The CDD and CODEO, therefore, called for a clear-cut line between official visits and partisan campaign visits by incumbent officials to prevent over-exploitation for electoral advantage and associated rancour.

The Report noted that political rallies were generally peaceful in September, but also observed spots of rising tension and corresponding increase in potential for political violence.

Such incidents included the vandalizing of banners and posters of other parties and candidates.

"The NPP and the NDC appear to be the main culprits. The so-called NDC and NPP 'Keep-Fit Clubs' established ostensibly to promote solidarity among party supporters appear to have introduced some element of militarism and potential for violence between rival groups, as reported in the Ayawaso East Constituency."

The CDD and CODEO noted that the participation of women in electoral politics continued to be weak despite the increasing advocacy campaigns by gender groups for more women in electoral politics. The Centre and the Coalition commended political parties and the public for keeping the pre-election environment in September relatively peaceful and expressed confidence that Ghanaians would ensure another peaceful election in December.

The monitoring exercise would continue until Election Day when the CDD and CODEO expected to deploy an additional 7,000 people to observe the conduct of the polls.

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