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General News of Saturday, 15 December 2012

Source: Daily Guide

Parties Raise Issues With EC

Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC) is courting class-action styled protests from majority of the political parties that contested in the just ended general elections.

The EC is being blamed for directly supervising an election that has been described as “flawed” and dogged with “widespread rigging” in favour of the ruling party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

On Sunday, December 9, 2012, the Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, based on the EC’s data, declared John Dramani Mahama as Ghana’s president-elect who won the election by 50.7 percent.

The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) raised red flags before the declaration, citing anomalies in the numbers at the EC.

According to the NPP and the other parties, these numbers did not correspond with actual votes recorded in the 275 constituencies.

The NPP claimed that some votes of its candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, were openly diverted to the ruling NDC’s tally.

Evidence sighted by DAILY GUIDE from compiled records of polling stations in about 13 constituencies across the country showed that about 88,000 additional votes were unduly recorded for President Mahama.

The NPP claimed the evidence in its possession was overwhelming and it could unearth almost a million votes that were added to President Mahama’s tally at the polls.

Since the NPP raised red flags, other serious opposition parties have also expressed their discontent about the level of alleged rigging that was experienced in this year’s election.

The Progressive People’s Party (PPP), the People’s National Convention (PNC), the National Democratic Party (NDP) and the Convention People’s Party (CPP) have all expressed different degrees of anger at the alleged preferential treatment given the NDC at the polls.

Speaking to DAILY GUIDE via telephone on Wednesday, Atik Mohammed, the policy analyst of the PNC, stated that the party would issue its official statement expressing its dissatisfaction at the alleged tampering during the election. “We felt that some of the figures that should have gone to the PNC were added to some other candidate [President John Mahama],” he said.

According to Mr. Mohammed, the PNC was not prepared to concede defeat yet until the anomalies were sorted out.

The PNC’s presidential candidate, Hassan Ayariga, has conceded defeat to President Mahama twice, but the PNC policy analyst has dismissed it as being in contravention of the party’s official position.

Unlike the NPP, the PNC does not have the capacity to institute a full scale legal challenge to the controversial mandate. “We don’t have the capacity like the NPP, but we are lending our support to them in any way possible,” explained Atik Mohammed.

The parties, particularly the NPP, claimed they possessed incontrovertible evidence that the NDC and some EC officials actively colluded to steal the presidential mandate for the NDC’s John Dramani Mahama.

According to them, the voting results recorded at the individual polling stations and constituencies were different from what was declared on Sunday by the EC boss, Dr Afari-Gyan.

The NPP has released evidence showing that huge numbers were cooked up for President Mahama to win the elections. The NDP and the PPP have made similar claims.

The founder of the NDP and former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings was quoted yesterday saying the votes of her party’s parliamentary candidates were clandestinely diverted to the NDC.

Richmond Keelson, the Communications Director of Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom’s PPP, expressed the same sentiments about his party’s votes being ambushed for the NDC. “The little votes that we had, when it got to the EC, you realize that it’s been tampered with,” he said.

“Some of our polling station agents told us, especially in the Volta Region, that they saw policemen, they saw soldiers standing there and then somebody will just come an ask a potential voter to vote in a certain direction-for the NDC. The soldiers and policemen are there, they couldn’t say a word, and you believe this is a proper system? It is flawed and a fraudulent system,” said the PPP’s communications director.

“For us, it is not about Mahama being the President, we don’t care. Afari -Gyan can declare president but as far as we are concerned, it is a flawed and a fraudulent system that should not be countenanced by anybody,” fumed Mr. Keelson.

Unlike the legal action currently being pursued by the NPP, the PPP is taking a different approach. It is mounting a crusade to prompt electoral reforms at the EC.

“We are not saying we are marching on to the street, we are not saying that we are going to court, indeed, whatever it is, it is also important that Ghanaians know what really went on this year,” explained Mr. Keelson.

Yesterday, the PPP sent a petition signed by its national chairman, Nii Allotey Brew-Hammond, to the EC. In the letter, the PPP highlighted all the flaws that marred the December elections.

“For example, in the Assin South constituency, the PPP was initially assigned 134 votes for both the presidential and parliamentary contests but upon a protest to recount by the parliamentary candidate our parliamentary vote count was confirmed at 1,487 and that of the presidential result was changed to 521. This is only one example of the problems we recorded,” the petition stated.

“The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) wishes to bring to the attention of the Electoral Commission (EC) the fact that we identified serious lapses in the voting, collation and declaration of Presidential and Parliamentary results. The PPP finds the anomalies identified very disturbing as they indicate a real likelihood of compromising the integrity of the entire 2012 results and future ones as well,” stated the PPP

“We find it unfortunate that the EC did not take its time to re-check the provisional results before declaring a winner in the presidential election. If that had been done, it would have guaranteed the integrity of the results,” it added.