Ghana Election

Three of the seven presidential candidates contesting in the December 7 elections went to town yesterday, expressing fear about the possible rigging of the polls.

The candidates are Dr Edward Nasigri Mahama, the People’s National Congress (PNC); Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom, Progressive People’s Party (PPP) and former first lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings who is leading the National Democratic Party (NDP).

In a statement jointly issued in Accra, the three flag bearers raised various concerns about the ‘unfair treatment’ meted out to them by the Electoral Commission (EC), which is supposed to be the referee for the elections.

The NPP had equally raised questions about lack of transparency in the processes leading to the December 7 polls – accusations the EC had brushed aside oftentimes.

According to them, there are many indications the elections will not be conducted in a manner that will be fair to the various political parties.

Basis

Chief among their concerns they said, “The three of us have had a terrible experience of spending close to six weeks in court litigating against the unnecessary attempted disqualification of our candidature as part of a deliberate scheme to frustrate our efforts in this election.”

According to them, “This has brought us untold hardships financially, emotionally and taken energy and precious time from our campaigns,” blaming the EC for using regulations guiding the conduct of the 2016 elections as an oppressive tool to punish and deny them equal opportunity to campaign during the critical times of the campaign season.

“If a party in a competition loses six weeks of campaign time whilst spending on legal fees that were not budgeted for but occasioned by a frivolous scheme designed to frustrate and deny us fair opportunity to participate in the elections, how can anyone say that this election is and will be free and fair?” they asked rhetorically.

They also raised hairs about the EC’s inconsistence in the supply of information to the various political parties on the number of voters registered for the special voting exercise. For them, “The new allegation that the Ghana Police Service is adding more names to the special list, long after the deadline passed, is disturbing to say the least,” wondering which other groups of people may have been allowed to add to the list after the deadline.

Rigmarole  

They averred, “The EC has clearly disregarded the relevant portions of CI 94 (Regulation 23) to have entertained the latest applications from the Police Service,” they noted, while wondering, “If the rules of the game can be twisted and turned by the referee as and when it pleases, can we then say that the elections will be free and fair when we do not know what illegal steps will be taken in the process leading up to the elections?”

What appeared to baffle them the most was an announcement by the Chairperson of the EC, Charlotte Osei, to the effect that she would recount the ballots when the results of the elections are too close.

That, the presidential aspirants said, was because it is not backed by law, insisting, “We believe this is another tool to be deployed in favour of a particular candidate if the results do not go in his favour.”

 Caution

In their opinion, “This attempt to change the results through a purported recounting is a recipe for chaos and civil disobedience.”

The three equally expressed worry about the abuse of incumbency on the part of President John Mahama and his ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration and the use of the state security agencies and party thugs to intimidate other opponents ahead of the elections.

“A free and fair election environment will require an atmosphere of fairness in the application of the EC’s laws on political party funding,” they emphasised while going to sleep and allowed the NDC to use state funds to buy votes without questioning them.

They claim to have shown resilience in the face of these problems and have demonstrated leadership in controlling their supporters to do their best to participate in this process they describe as “a semblance of an election.” The disgruntled leaders of the affected political parties said, “We are placing on record for civil society, the National Peace Council, the CODEO and the international community to take steps to reverse these disturbing trends so that we can have proper free and fair elections in the future since free and fair elections for 7th December 2016 have escaped us.”

By Charles Takyi-Boadu/Daily Guide

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