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Opinions of Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Columnist: The National Forum

2016 Elections: What went right and what lessons have been learnt?

The Electoral Commission intends to hold an IPAC meeting tomorrow May 24, 2017 The Electoral Commission intends to hold an IPAC meeting tomorrow May 24, 2017

Since 1992 when we had the first general elections under the Fourth Republic, the Electoral Commission of Ghana has always conducted post-election reviews. These studies have in the past helped in measuring and assessing how poor or well the conduct of elections was.

We are in the fifth month after elections 2016, May, which is about ending. No mention is made of any such report and so far the Electoral Commission has not called for any Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC )meeting yet. Our checks at the Electoral Commission suggest the Commission’s intends to hold an IPAC meeting tomorrow May 24, 2017.

Before the general elections in December, a number of issues were raised by political parties. The NPP particularly poured scorn at almost every move by the EC.

Voters’ Register

Ghanaweb reported in its General News of Tuesday, 18 August 2015;

New Patriotic Party's (NPP) 2016 running mate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has described the current voters register as incurably flawed and unfit to be used for the 2016 elections.

Dr. Bawumia, addressing the press at the Alisa Hotel in Accra said that the NPP being convinced of the flaws in the voters’ roll is requesting for a new one.

“The voters register is incurably flawed and can’t be relied on for 2016 elections…that is why we submitted our petition to the EC this morning…,” he said.

The NPP held a press conference to present their case for a new voters’ roll ahead of the 2016 elections.

The former deputy governor of the Bank of Ghana was presenting the party’s argument.

The event #NewVotersRegisterNow was attended by several NPP bigwigs including flagbearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, then Party scribe, Kwabena Agyepong and then Party chairman, Paul Afoko.

Dr. Bawumia was doing a PowerPoint presentation to state the party's case.

He referred to the use of National Health Insurance cards to register during the opening of the voters register to buttress the point for the compilation of a new one.

Rigging Allegations

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) says it has intercepted a leaked recording that proves that some leading members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), including Mike Oquaye and Lord Commey, attempted to connive with some Election officers to rig the upcoming polls.

The party at a media briefing on Monday said it will report the matter to the Electoral Commission (EC) and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service to take swift action.

With barely 48-hours to Ghana’s general elections, both the NPP and the NDC have been engaged in accusations and counter-accusations over plans to rig the general elections.

The NPP had earlier on Monday said it had discovered several ballots thumb-printed for President Mahama in a guest house in the Ashanti Regional capital.

Not long after the NPP’s report, the National Organizer of the NDC, Kofi Adams who addressed the press on Monday said the party has compelling evidence to prove the NPP has plans of rigging the elections.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong, has alleged that the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the Electoral Commission (EC), are planning to rig the upcoming general elections. The legislator, while addressing thousands of party supporters at the launch of the NPP’s election 2016 campaign manifesto in Accra, vowed that the NPP will ensure that plots to rig the election fail.

“The NDC and the EC have planned to rig the upcoming elections, but when you look at all these young men gathered here, there is no way we will ever allow them rig the elections, never,” Kenney Agyapong said.

The outspoken MP who is known to have criticized the appointment of Charlotte Osei as the Electoral Commission boss earlier this year, added that “for those who have taken money and rented apartments in New Jersey [USA] and have sent their children and husband there so that even when Nana Addo [of the NPP] wins, she will make Mahama win, that will never happen.”

He called on party supporters to remain vigilant on Election Day, and police the various polling stations to ensure that thugs do not tamper with the electoral process.

“You should all be ready, on the day of the election, everyone should be there, when they [the thugs] come and they see you there, there is no way they can misbehave,’ Kennedy Agyapong concluded.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo, had earlier described the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) as a party with a penchant for rigging elections.

We had voting day issues, post-election theories and conspiracy theories. Finally, the EC chair declared the election results after the two main parties had claimed victory either in straight or veiled words at various press encounters.

TNF post elections analysis have concluded that the earlier most of these accusations or allegations are frontally dealt with the better for this nation’s maturing democracy.

Some experts and elections watchers expressed worry over the EC always waiting to the last minute to handle issues it could have dealt with earlier than the elections’ year.