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12.02.2006 General News

NPP don't intend to rig elections

By Ghanaian Chronicle

Presidential Press Secretary, Kwabena Agyepong, has denied claims by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) that government intends to rig the 2008 general elections.

According to him, the claim by the NDC as a party and the minority group in Parliament is baseless since it lacks merit. He said it is never true that the NPP government intends to pass the bill in order to facilitate the rigging of the 2008 general elections, foreseeing an imminent defeat for the party.

Speaking at a press briefing at the seat of government, Mr. Agyepong noted that the NDC as a party has no credible argument, hence has resolved to create a negative impression in the minds of right-thinking Ghanaians.

To him, the NDC is only bent on creating unnecessary tension in the country, therefore threatening mayhem if the bill is passed.

According to him, if indeed the NDC as a party believes in the tenets of democracy and the rule of law as it claims, it would not issue such threats that undermine democracy in principle and practice.

Rather, he indicated that the NDC should avail itself to the processes of cogent debate and not resort to threats of mayhem.

According to him, the bill is not an initiative of the NPP government's because it is a constitutional provision that needs to be fulfilled.

He therefore wondered why the NDC would embark on a frivolous campaign to kick against the bill, which is in the consideration stages.

This, he said, is neither in fulfillment of the NPP's manifesto nor any other material, but that of the very constitution of the Republic of Ghana, adding that it is this same Constitution that makes provisions for its citizens, both home and abroad, to vote, provided they are of sound mind and also meet the requirements as stated by the Constitution and the Electoral Commission (EC).

He noted that since the President had vowed during his swearing-in to uphold the Constitution of Ghana, he would not do anything that goes contrary to its provisions as the NDC is asserting.

"In any case," he intimated, "the NDC has representatives and branches in those foreign countries and could count on them for collation of the votes when in doubt of the process."

Mr. Agyepong asked the NDC to be rest assured and stop being paranoid, since the EC would supervise the process if the bill finally gets Parliamentary approval.

He could not fathom how the NDC came by the idea that the majority of Ghanaians living abroad are NPP faithful, and therefore the reason the government is trying strenuously to give them a voting right.

According to him, any attempt to kick against the bill would rather amount to infringing on their rights since the Constitution of the republic mandates them to cast vote in all general elections.

That notwithstanding, he stressed that government does disregard concerns being raised by some sections of the Ghanaians public about the bill and would ensure that the provisions of the Constitution is always upheld without any manipulations whatsoever.

"Since the Electoral Commission is the only constitutionally-mandated body to organize elections in this country," he noted, "we have to begin to trust in state institutions and not cast correlation to it."

He said government would not use discretionary powers to flout constitutional provisions, since it would amount to subversion of it.

Meanwhile, the opposition NDC in Parliament on Thursday staged a walk out of the House indefinitely in protest of the passage of the bill, since it does not want to be associated with a process that most of its members say it is illegal.