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03.12.2004 General News

NDC expresses concern about "overprinted ballot papers"

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Accra, Dec. 3, GNA - The National Democratic Congress (NDC), the main opposition party, on Friday said it is concerned about the large volumes of ballot papers being printed as contingency requirements for some regions and constituencies, stating that this could place the outcome of the elections in dispute.

Addressing a press conference in Accra, Professor Kofi Awoonor, a National Executive Committee Member, said the party considered EC's act of overprinting as "abnormal".

The party said, while the extra 10 per cent printed to meet contingencies in the Eastern and Central Regions were within allowable limits, those for Greater Accra, Volta and Western Regions, where the extra ballot papers being printed to cover contingencies were 17.7 per cent, 22.5 per cent and 19.8 per cent respectively, raised concern. Professor Awoonor said the party had consulted statisticians who agreed that 10 per cent extra ballot papers to cover contingencies was normal, reasonable and acceptable.

However, they argued that any contingency in excess of 10 per cent and especially above 20 per cent raised a lot of suspicion and could very well provide opportunities for fraud and massive rigging. Prof. Awoonor said the large overprinting in some constituencies could be preparatory to anticipated large transfer of votes to those constituencies, legally or illegally.

He said, for example in the Ningo-Prampram constituency, for a voter population of 28,145, a total of 42,750 ballot papers were printed while in Obom/Domiabra 27,900 ballot papers had been printed to serve 18,421 voters.

Prof. Awoonor said the Ayawaso West-Wuogon and Ablekuma-South constituencies had extra 16,221 and 32,941 ballot papers printed respectively.

The Krowor, Sege, Shai-Osudoku and Adenta constituencies, had 30.6 per cent, 41.2 per cent, 24.8 per cent and 22.4 per cent extra ballot papers printed.

Prof. Awoonor said in the Volta Region, South Danyi Constituency had 34.7 per cent, Nkwanta North, 30.3 per cent, Krachi-East, 28.9 per cent, Hohoe-South, 27.5 per cent, Ho-East, 26.6 per cent, Ho-West, 22.5 per cent and Akan, 26.3 per cent extra ballot papers were printed. He mentioned the extra ballot papers for the Western Region as Suaman, 40.9 per cent, Takoradi, 20 per cent, Sekondi, 24.3 per cent and Shama, 21.7 per cent.

Prof. Awoonor, therefore, called on the EC to be extra vigilant in handling the electoral process in order not to create doubts and mistrusts.

Commenting on Dr Josiah Aryeh's secret meeting, with top officials of the ruling NPP, Prof. Awoonor said the NDC had initiated its own investigations into the circumstances surrounding the matter and would make a public statement after it had assembled all the facts.

Dr Aryeh has been reported by the media as having complained about his conditions of service at a meeting with some NPP officials. The media reports said Dr Aryeh had intimated that he would quit the NDC post. He has denied that he plans to resign.

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