Politics of Saturday, 17 November 2012

Source: GNA

Independent candidates to apply for copies of biometric voters register

Independent Presidential and Parliamentary Candidates are expected to apply to the Electoral Commission (EC) for copies of the biometric voters register, which would be made available to the political parties by Monday, November 19th, 2012.

This was announced by Mr Ebenezer Aggrey-Fynn, EC Commissioner Responsible for the Brong-Ahafo Region at a seminar for parliamentary candidates in the Region on Friday.

The seminar on the theme: “Enhancing the Credibility of Ghana’s 2012 Elections’- EC-Dialogue with Parliamentary Candidates” was organised in collaboration with KAB Governance Consults and sponsored by DFID.

Mr Aggrey-Fynn said the key to peaceful and successful elections in the country was for winners and losers to accept the results in good faith and pledged that the EC would not countenance any manipulation from anyone.

“It is for the people to determine who rules them, and it is better to live in poverty in your country than to be rich in another country. If there would be any electoral problems, it should not be in Brong-Ahafo Region or any part of the country. If you have any problem let the EC know and we discuss them for peace to prevail,” he added.

Mr Aggrey-Fynn urged the parliamentary candidates to be meticulous in the selection of their agents to the polling stations because they played a significant role in the elections.

He explained that when competent agents were selected they would be able to protect the interests of the candidates much better since most electoral malpractices occurred at the polling stations.

Mr Aggrey-Fynn noted that people had all sorts of agenda during elections and sometimes when agents were required to provide vital information they could not be found, adding “A good agent is ideal”.

On the registration of minors, he observed that most of the constituencies undertook that exercise to justify the creation of new districts and constituencies to shore up their population.

Mr Aggrey-Fynn said the registration and voting by minors and aliens was a major concern to the EC and asked those who encouraged such minors and aliens to register to bow down their heads in shame because their action was corrupting the register, which the Ghanaian tax-payer had spent much money to achieve.

However, he said, the minors and aliens who registered could be prosecuted after being allowed to vote and challenged afterwards, the elderly should stop corrupting children at such tender age because in future they would not be involved in electoral fraud, but armed robbery which would be detrimental to the society, adding “We should endeavour to bring up responsible citizens”.

Mr Aggrey-Fynn expressed concern about some of the parliamentary candidates, who had representatives because there was likely to be misrepresentations from the proceedings at the seminar while their presence could assist them in their campaign to win more votes.

“Your presence could be a source of intelligence or knowledge for your campaign instead of sending a representative.”

He said the inbuilt integrity of the electoral process depended on the transparency in the system and the electorate would have confidence and respect the results. In addition, he said, all information should be made accessible to all the candidates and political parties equally as well as the relevant stakeholders.

Mr Aggrey-Fynn gave the assurance that the EC had established fair principles and procedures, built operational and technical electoral rules that were uniform and would not favour any particular political party or individual.

He pledged the commitment of the EC to conduct Election 2012 without the control or interference from the government or any external or international organisation.

Mr George Gyabaah, Brong-Ahafo Regional Director of EC, said the seminar was to have a dialogue with the parliamentary candidates to further deepen their confidence with the EC as well as update them on the preparations so far made and the other measures being instituted towards December 7.

In addition, it would seek clarification on issues agitating their minds; improve on communication and exchange of information.

Mr Gyabaah urged the parliamentary candidates to take advantage of the opportunity and take active part since the election was about issues and choices and advised them to conduct clean campaign devoid of insults.

He pointed out that power resided with the people and to seek the power from them should be encouraged and not coerced.