Politics of Tuesday, 20 March 2007
Accra, March 20, GNA - The National Democratic Congress (NDC) on Tuesday alleged that the electorate at Nkoranza North succumbed to politics of intimidation and harassment before and during the March 13 by-election.
"Key opinion leaders were influenced to threaten settler farmers in various communities with eviction if they dared come out to vote," Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, NDC General Secretary, told the press in Accra. He alleged that the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) aided by the security apparatus created a spectre of fear and insecurity even days before the by-elections through the peddling of lies that the NDC followers were committing violent acts in the constituency. "This tactic was used to justify the plan of the NPP to cause the arrest of scores of NDC supporters and officials on the day of the elections," he alleged.
According to him, the lies were deliberately peddled to justify the deployment of huge numbers of security personnel before and during the election, and these were eventually used in intimidating and obstructing NDC officials in their lawful duties.
Flanked by leading members of the party including, Mr Kwamena Adjei, Chairman and Ms Ama Benyiwa-Doe, Women's Organizer, Mr Asiedu-Nketia said 28 NDC functionaries were arrested and detained both in the run-up to the election and during the election. However, none of them was charged.
Mr Asiedu-Nketia noted vehicles of virtually all NDC officials were put under surveillance and searched at will.
He said the NDC was raising the issues to expose the lapses and deliberate acts of manipulation that occurred in order for corrective steps to be taken for future elections to avoid Ghanaians witnessing the spectre of disputed elections and their attendant crisis. "We do not intend to mount a legal challenge to the results of the by-election, but we wish to state in no uncertain terms how appalled we are by the methods employed by the NPP to gain victory in Nkoranza North.
"It clearly shows that NPP is a really desperate party, and will stop at nothing to destroy all the values we hold sacred in order to retain power by any means possible."
He alleged that "heavy vote buying of constituents by the NPP was conspicuous". This was in addition to sharing of money and various items including wax prints, Ghana@50 textiles, mattresses, Wellington boots, mats for Moslems, cooking oil, rice, roofing sheets, cement and sewing machines, which were freely distributed.
"Even though we lost the by-election to the NPP, NDC increased its quota of votes from 5,402 in 2004 to 5,694 a difference of 292." Dr Kofi Amoako-Gyampah, a medical practitioner of the NDC had 5,694 as against the NPP's Major Derrick Oduro (rtd), a businessman, who won the seat for NPP with 10,179.
In the 2004 parliamentary elections, Eric Amoateng (NPP) had 9,144, Amoako Hayford Francis (NDC) 5,402, Ofosu Adjei Kwame Prince (INDP) 4,354 out of total valid votes of 18,900.
The by-election at Nkoranza North became necessary following the resignation of the incumbent, Eric Amoateng, who is facing charges of import of narcotic drugs into the United States. 20 March 07