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Opinions of Friday, 21 August 2015

Columnist: Daily Guide Network

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Demarcating the electoral area to favour a particular political party, preventing eligible voters from casting their ballots, preventing qualified people from registering and changing electoral results are all forms of rigging – Paul Boateng.

The Ashanti Regional Electoral Commission (EC), the man to whom the foregone is attributed, summarized it all about what election rigging is and how it is accomplished when he spoke recently.

Also worth noting is the fact that the dishonest feat is not undertaken in a day but stretched over a long period.

The definition comes at an opportune time. The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has made startling revelations about why the electoral register must be changed, putting out for public brooding many issues, the prominent being the importation of Togolese nationals to partake in our electoral process.

Although and expectedly, these have been disputed by the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), it is impossible not to give the revelations serious thought.

At a time when we are still in the process of perfecting our electoral system or coming close to that stage, observations or revelations – no matter how seemingly miniscule in the estimation of those for whom the status quo favours – must be considered as critical.

There is a bottled-up anger in a section of Ghanaians the queried results of the last polls being one of the causes and indeed coupled with the largely bastardised outcome of the Supreme Court verdict on the election petition hearing.

With the two largest political parties sharing almost equally the voter population in the country, each having to its credit over five million voters, nothing should be done to impair the credibility of polls. That would be courting avoidable strife in a country which has known peace since independence. Going into an electoral duel with a discredited voters’ register should not be entertained.

The telltale discoveries by the NPP team, led by Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, cannot be swept under the carpet as the NDC response sought to do. Questions about the integrity of elections border on national security, given the fact that it is a potential ingredient for a breach of law and order.

The Ashanti Region EC Chairman’s observations have thought us that rigging is not accomplished on Election Day only, but something which is started long before then. For a public official with his wealth of experience in Ghanaian elections, this man’s expose is worth exploring.

Organising unqualified persons from neighbouring geo-political entities to come and vote for instance, is something which is done over a long period. Foreign nationals whose details were lavishly displayed in the media after the NPP press conference, were part of a complex rigging matrix engineered not overnight but over time.

The unnecessary re-demarcation of some electoral areas in the country attracted so much opprobrium, especially from the NPP, when the former EC Chairman, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, embarked upon that dangerous journey. The action was seen as one intended to achieve a certain tilt for one of the political players.

We have followed the various rigging stations spelt out by the EC officials and can only express our gratitude for the expose.

In an IT-driven world many of the rigging tricks would sooner than later become public knowledge

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