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07.11.2008 Elections

Open letter to NPP and NDC gurus

By Daily Dispatch
Open letter to NPP and NDC gurus

The Daily Dispatch has decided to address this open letter to only leading members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for one main reason. Not because the two parties are responsible for not ensuring peaceful and fair elections. We chose the two parties because they have the widest network of branches and personnel throughout the country.

We are aware that for the two leading parties, a defeat for one of them will result in dire consequences. There is the possibility of the losing party imploding, splitting up and the attendant consequences. BUT SHOULD THAT FEAR MAKE SOME LEADING MEMBERS OF SOME POLITICAL PARTIES DECIDE TO WIN AT ALL COSTS? AT THE EXPENSE OF THE UNITY OF OUR DEAR COUNTRY?

A question racing through our mind is - as you are making these allegations, put out some suggestions to minimise the potential of tensions. Here are some:-

(a) PREVENTION OF ELECTORAL FRAUD: if all serious political parties listen to the advice of the Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), it would be of good value to them. The Chairman, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, has been repeating this advice - a party loses elections at the polling stations! We are all aware of the staff strength of the EC - less than 1,700. It is thus clear that their staff cannot man the over 21,000 polling stations to be used on election day. Thus, over 110,000 part-timers will be hired and their impartiality cannot be guaranteed. The country's election laws allow political parties to position agents at the various polling stations to protect their interest and ensure that electoral fraud does not happen.

(b) POLLING AGENTS: a political party which does not select, train and motivate persons to be polling agents is not worth its existence! The party must select persons of at least, minimum intelligence, committed to the party in question and have a fair idea of how to add up. Thus, if a party selects someone it does not know his political affiliation and someone who cannot do simple addition, then would the party be surprised that as the voting winds down in the day, the person could decide to leave for home?

(c) COUNTING &. SIGNING OF RESULT SHEETS: it is important that polling agents, stay focused till counting, ensure that the figures gotten from the counting are the ones entered on the result sheets. Just as a precaution, agents must ensure that lines are drawn before the figures are written and at the end. It is important polling agents add up the figures written against the various candidates.

All the political parties must not regard this year's elections as 'do and die'. They must remember that the political tradition currently in power, the NPP, was in opposition for 29 years - until the party assumed power in 2001, it was overthrown in January, 1972. They must also remember that the NDC has been in opposition for the past eight years.

Good luck to the party which will win and the losing parties, being in opposition will not 'kill' anyone.

Best wishes.