Ghana: NDC Is in Bed With EC, Says NPP

The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) says recent actions by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) shows clearly that the ruling party is in bed with the Electoral Commission (EC).

Addressing a press conference in Accra yesterday, the Acting General Secretary of the party, Mr John Boadu, said it is “strange” how the NDC had suddenly turned to be a mouthpiece for the EC, “though the EC recently appointed a PRO.”

According to him, there had not been a discussion on the purchase of hand scanners to electronically transmit the election results, but the NDC, through its General Secretary, Mr Johnson AsieduNketia said the EC had bought hand scanners, without the knowledge of the NPP.

“Now, it is very important that we correct certain erroneous impression being created and disingenuously amplified by the NDC about our position regarding the issue of electronic transmission of results of the upcoming December 7 general elections.

“We do not deny the fact that all stakeholders agreed on the need to introduce some kind of electronic system into the transmission of results of the upcoming elections.

It must be noted that previously, the Returning Officer for the presidential election, the chairperson of the EC, had merely relied on faxed copies of the constituency summary sheet, to add up and declare the winner of the contest. We found this to be no longer acceptable.

“In fact, as rightly acknowledged by the NDC General Secretary, that innovative idea was mooted by the NPP, just as we were credited for mooting several new and innovative ideas, not only to improve our electoral system, but also to enhance the socio-economic wellbeing of our people, as evidenced in the introduction of NHIS, Capitation Grant, Free Maternal Care and discovery of oil, among others.

It is, however, important to put on record that, on the issue of electronic transmission of results, what the EC is seeking to do now is a radical departure from what was agreed upon, based on consensus.

This was indeed acknowledged by the EC itself in its statement reacting to the concerns raised by our Campaign Manager, as the commission rightly captured what was agreed upon as follows:

“It is recommended that hand-held scanners should be used to scan constituency collation forms that contain the polling station results and sent electronically and directly to the National Collation Centre. The hard copies would be sent physically to the Head Office of the EC.”

At another press conference held by the NDC a day before that of the NPP, the former described the latter as a ‘hypocrite’, explaining that the latter could propose for something to be done, push for it to get the consent of the populace, but would later turn its back to what it proposed.

This, the NDC mentioned at its press conference, was in reference to the same electronic transmission, citing that, the NPP was the first to move for the idea, but is doing otherwise after all stakeholders had consented to it.

In a swift response to that, Mr John Boadu expressed gratitude to the NDC and its General Secretary for acknowledging that the NPP mooted the idea for the electronic transmission, before other stakeholders came on board, but “We won’t compromise on our calls for credible elections.

The NPP only prompt the public on issues that can lead to rigging the elections. NPP will not allow the 2016 elections to be rigged,” he indicated.

Recently, MPs pooh-poohed a bill that sought to amend Article 112(4) of the 1992 constitution to allow for elections to be held on November 7, instead of December 7, with the excuse that it would ensure adequate time before the election date and the transition to another government in case of a runoff.

The Minority expressed support for the bill, but wanted its implementation to take effect from the next general elections, after the pending one, but the Majority thought otherwise, thus the bill did not see the light of the day after a secret ballot, because both sides of the divide could not obtain a two-third majority, in accordance with the constitution.

There was a backslash from those who did not share the same view as the Minority, with the Majority describing the move as sabotage.

Yesterday, Mr John Boadu also described the description of the majority NDC in relation to the said issue as disingenuous.

“Now, it is clear all discerning Ghanaians are beginning to see the wisdom in the decision by Parliament to maintain December 7 as the day for this year’s election. Those who voted against November 7 cited one important reason, the apparent lack of readiness of the EC to hold credible polls on that date.

We are convinced that if the period for the preparations for this year’s election had been reduced by one month, it would have been impossible for the EC to extend this re-registration exercise.

“Also, with the decision to maintain the December 7 date, qualified Ghanaians who have never registered before now have the opportunity, under the window offered by the Continuous Registration, which takes place from August 19 to 26, 2016.

“This will enable them to be part of the decision making process that will lead to the election of a president and Members of Parliament they want to lead them.

“We welcome all such prospective voters and encourage them to take the right decisions that will be in the best interest of the country, when they go to the polls,” he said.

Responding to whether or not there would not be bloating of the register as the NPP has been saying after supporting the calls for the deletion and registration of NHIS card holder’s name from the register, Mr John Boadu argued that only Ghanaians would be allowed to re-register.

“Now only Ghanaians would be allowed to re-register because you have to register with a national ID and other ID cards apart from NHIS cards, otherwise you need guarantors. So if you are not a Ghanaian, you will not even go there to re-register,” he noted.

Source Ghanaian Chronicle.