Wednesday, December 31, 2008
The submission of the evidence was in direct response to he Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Afari-Gyan request for the NPP to bring evidence about concerns raised pertaining results and voting in some constituencies in the Volta Region. The NDC also raised serious concerns about the voting and results in some constituencies in the Ashanti Region and has already provided evidence to support their allegations.
The Electoral Commission and representatives of the NDC and NPP spent a lot of hours on 30th December 2008 to resolve some of these allegations but the meeting was not conclusive with the EC promising to continue the process of auditing of such results.
Dr Afari-Gyan stated categorically at press conference held yesterday that such allegations will be audited based on evidence since " the name of the game is evidence".
In addition to successful elections in Tain, this auditing process must be completed as soon as possible if Ghana's new president will take office on 7th January 2009.
Daniel Ohene Agyekum, NDC regional chairman, said he was attacked at his residence at Ridge, and he identified some of his alleged attackers as Kennedy Agyapong, MP for Assin North and one Appiah Stadium.
Other party officers and operatives have been attacked, and according to Ohene Agyekum, the group that marched on his house number about 500.
Police and military personnel, as well as NDC party supporters have since arrived at the residence.
Ohene Agyekum Luv FM's journalist, Yaw Ansu Gyeabuor, that some Kumasi-based citizens of Tain, the outstanding constituency to conduct presidential election runoff in the Brong Ahafo Region, who had gone to see him for financial support to enable them travel back home to vote on Friday.
He said he had asked the group to wait, and while he was organizing to get them some support, they heard some noise that approached from the Ridge School end, and "suddenly there was this horde of marauding crowd or mob."
"Kennedy Agyapong was leading them, …Appiah Stadium,…they came dressed in NPP T-shirts and NPP flags…so when our boys moved out, thank God they were here, when they moved out, it was going to be a near-clash."
"Who doesn't know Kennedy Agyapong? Who doesn't know him? I saw him, I know him. The only person I didn't know was Abinlele. I don't know him but they mentioned his name, but Appiah Stadium I know him, they were leading the mob. Here, just at my entrance here. Why? What is this?"
He said three of the people with him were beaten up, and one of them was seriously injured he feared for his fate.
"They came with cutlasses, stones and sticks, and all types of deadly weapons. We thought that boy was dead."
According to Ohene Agyekum, the crowd screamed death threats at him and his people, and explained that the attacks had been on since morning when the NPP agents attacked the party's office, went to the regional Metro TV stations to also attack a video cameraman in pursuit of some recording, and in the process destroyed his video camera.
Ohene Agyekum said the threat of attacks had been reported to the police since morning, however nothing happened until they were attacked before the police showed up.
Meanwhile Kennedy Agyapong has denied being in Kumasi altogether, let alone lead any mob attacks.He said he had returned from his constituency in the Central Region and was at a bank in Accra to cash money for the holidays when media houses started calling him with allegations he had led mob attacks in Kumasi.
He expressed his optimism on Wednesday at his residence in what is his first public encounter with the media, after the EC declared the results of the December 28 election run-off.
The party trails the opposition NDC by some 23,000 votes after it garnered 4,478,411, in the election runoff.
Prof. John Evans Atta Mills of the NDC polled 4,501,466 votes.
Contrary to calls by some opposition members for Nana Akufo-Addo to concede, the NPP presidential hopeful is not the least perturbed by the daunting task ahead of him.
Reports say party bigwigs have already been dispatched into the Tain constituency to begin vigorous campaign for the January 2 decider.
Nana Akufo-Addo expressed regrets over what he described as deliberate attempts by the opposition NDC to prevent his polling agents to monitor the polls in the Volta Region, adding elections must be held in the right manner in order for the right person to be elected.
He hinted the party has gathered enough evidence of electoral malpractices and irregularities in the Volta Region which they will present to the EC.
He reiterated his confidence in the ability of the EC to conduct a free and fair election, but suggested some inherent flaws in the electoral system must be addressed with a sense of urgency.
Akufo-Addo condemned acts of intimidation and harassment he says were unleashed on his supporters and appealed to supporters of the NDC to exercise restraint.
"No single Ghanaian blood should be shed over this election," he cautioned
The presidential candidate was flanked by his running mate, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia and Prof. Mike Ocquaye with dozens of expectant party supporters waiting patiently at the entrance of his residence.
"The matured manner in which the results were announced defused the tension and averted a potentially explosive situation," a statement signed by Mr Kofi Asamoah, Secretary General, TUC said in Accra.
The statement assured the two contending parties, the New Patriotic Party and National Democratic Congress that the Commission was ready to listen to their legitimate grievances, where evidence was provided.
The TUC noted that the EC had informed the whole country that it was going to audit some of the results in the Volta and Ashanti Regions following complaints from the two parties hoping that "these investigation will be completed on time for the new President to be sworn in on January 7, 2009."
Congratulating the leaders of the two parties, security personnel, and civil society organizations for a successful runoff, organized Labour, however, condemned "certain discordant tones in the course of the runoff, especially during the period after the ballot and when the whole nation was anxiously waiting for the declaration of the results by the EC".
On the alleged irregularities and malpractices, in the Ashanti and Volta Regions, the Union condemned the acts of violence, intimidation and lawlessness committed by misguided and misled party activities and supporters of the two parties.
"The systematic form in which actions took makes it difficult to believe that they were not organized" the statement said.
The TUC further condemned some sections of the media, who through pronouncements which clearly incited people to embark upon illegal, unconstitutional and violent forms of protest, which had no justification.
In the view of the TUC, such pronouncements were not consistent with the professional ethics and practice of the media, adding that, the people of Ghana would not accept such conduct.
On the Tain Constituency elections slated for January 2, 2009, the Union was optimistic that the elections would be conducted in a peaceful and transparent manner so that the two contesting parties would also accept the final results to be declared by the EC.
As in many parts of the country, the atmosphere in Koforidua prior to the announcement was tense as nervous residents glued themselves to radio and television sets to ferret whatever information they could lay hands on about which party was ahead in the polls.
Around 10:00 hours, rumours were rife to the effect that Dr Afari-Gyan was going to announce the results by midday but this turned out to be false as supporters of both parties had to endure some five anxious hours before the EC's announcement eventually came.
Even before the EC Commissioner could make the announcement, NDC supporters were jubilating, aware that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was behind their candidate.
But the jubilations were not organized and not near the grand-scale that NPP celebrations often took in the Municipality where the ruling government is clearly the dominant party.
Individual NDC supporters took to the streets or celebrated in their immediate communes by means of dramatic displays that included car manoeuvres, blowing of bugle, drumming and singing.
At all the six main Zongo suburbs in the Municipality, supporters cheered and sang a medley of NDC songs.
Indeed, NDC supporters in the Zongo areas have been in a celebration mood since Monday when it became obvious that their candidate was in a comfortable lead.
At the Koforidua/Kumasi bus terminal some NPP supporters joined their NDC counterparts in the joyous mood by hoisting NPP paraphernalia in mutual celebration.
A total of 128 in-patients on admission the Ghana News Agency (GNA) visited at six hospitals and clinics in the Volta Region during the Sunday December 28 Presidential Election Runoff said they could not vote.
The health facilities are the Volta Regional Hospital; Ho Municipal Hospital; Ketu-South District Hospital, Aflao; the Central-Aflao Hospital and New Hope Clinic and Sape-Agbo Memorial Hospital all in the Ketu-South District.
The GNA also realised that relatives, who were attending to these patients, missed the opportunity to go and vote. At the Volta Regional Hospital, a referral facility, for instance,
Esther Osei and Rebecca Gbadogo, both registered voters on admission at the maternity ward, said they would have travelled to Accra to vote.
Miss Mary Agama, Midwife on duty, said it was important that a decision to involve in-patients in the voting process was taken before the next general election.
She said she had to convince three relatives of a patient, who had just delivered that they could go and vote because their patient was in safe hands.
Miss Agama said she believed thousands of people nationwide had missed the opportunity to vote because of their hospitalization."Hospitalization takes people away from their homes without warning, but they should not lose their right to vote," she stated.
Madam Felicia Kpato, whose relative was on admission at the Ho Municipal Hospital's Maternity Ward, said it was impossible for her to travel to Vane on that Sunday to exercise her franchise.
Madam Lucy Kornu, who would have voted at Juapong, said she was unable to do so on December 7, 2008 because her relative was rushed to the Ho Municipal Hospital and was admitted again on December 27 2008, a day before the runoff.
Meanwhile, Miss Laurentia Kpatakpa, Volta Regional Director of the EC, had told the GNA that the Commission had no special provisions for patients on admission to exercise their franchise. "That has been the case since 1992," she explained but said proxy voting, was the alternative left for such people to exercise their franchise because nobody could tell when he or she would fall sick and be on admission.
Ms Kpatakpa said the Commission did not have the resources to get to all hospitals in order to get those on admission to vote.
She said what the Commission had been doing for such in-patients was to get them registered at the hospitals during voter registration exercises.
Ms Kpatakpa said it was only hospital staff such asdoctors, nurses, allied personnel and others who might be on duty on voting day who could apply for special voting if they wished.
The election in Tain became crucial on Tuesday evening after two days of waiting for a winner to be declared in the December 28, 2008 presidential election runoff failed to materialise because the outcome of the contest between Professor John Evans Atta Mills of NationalDemocratic Congress (NDC) and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of New Patriotic Party (NPP) was inconclusive. The Electoral Commission collated figures for 229 constituencies with the exception of Tain in percentage terms were, 50.13 per cent
Results in the Ashanti and Volta areas have been disputed, and the Tain region, where the poll was delayed, will now vote on Friday.
Officials said the contest between the opposition's John Atta Mills and ruling party's Nana Akufo-Addo was so close one result could decide the outcome.
The BBC correspondent in Ghana says the further delay might heighten tensions.
New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate Mr Akufo-Addo gained the most votes in the first round earlier this month but did not pass the 50% threshold needed for outright victory.
Electoral commission chairman Kwadwo Afari-Gyan said opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate Mr Atta Mills had won 50.13% of the vote, while Mr Akufo-Addo had taken 49.87%.
This means just 23,055 votes divide the two candidates, out of a total cast of some 9m.
"Results are so close that the result of the Tain constituency could affect the eventual winner," Mr Afari-Gyan said.
He said the results covered all 230 constituencies, except Tain in the Brong Ahafo region, which was unable to vote on Sunday because of a problem with voting materials.
According to the Daily Guide newspaper, the ruling party had accused electoral officials in Tain of stealing about 1,820 ballot papers, which they claimed were given to the opposition.
The district has some 53,000 registered voters.
The privately-owned Joy FM radio station reported that during the first round of the vote in Tain earlier this month, 30,000 electors turned out and awarded a narrow victory to Mr Atta Mills.
The commissioner, who has been stuck in behind-closed-doors wrangling with both parties in the capital Accra, said they would also use the delay to audit the disputed results.
The electoral commission headquarters was besieged for much of Tuesday by thousands of NDC supporters demanding their candidate be declared the winner.
Armed police and soldiers backed by water cannon trucks and an armoured personnel carrier kept the protesters behind barricades and at one point fired warning shots.
As tensions rose, party officials handed out ice cream and water to the crowds to calm them down.
Mr Atta Mills had earlier claimed victory, but the NPP said this was premature.
Shops closed early on Tuesday, with businessmen fearing that there could be looting once the result is announced.
The opposition has been disputing results awarded to the governing party from five constituencies in its stronghold of the Ashanti region.
It is understood turnout in one area was recorded at 99% - said by election experts to be unheard of - while there were also complaints dead people, children and foreign nationals had been listed among voters.
The NPP, meanwhile, said there had been widespread intimidation of its election agents in the Volta region and results from these areas would be challenged.
International observers have given the poll a preliminary clean bill of health and urged both candidates to accept the results.
Some 12.5 million people were eligible to vote in the election - the fifth since Ghana's return to democracy in 1992.
President John Kufuor is standing down having served two consecutive terms.
In the two previous elections he defeated Mr Atta Mills.
Mr Atta Mills served as vice-president under former leader Jerry Rawlings.
Monitors hope Ghana's poll can help salvage the tarnished image of constitutional democracy in Africa, after flawed elections in Kenya and Zimbabwe and military coups in Mauritania in August and in Guinea last week.
The stakes have been raised in these elections because Ghana has just found oil, which is expected to start generating revenue in 2010.
The Tain Constituency ( Tain District– created Nov. 12, 2003) of the Brong Ahafo Region, with a voter population of 53,880, is the battleground for the final determination of which of Nana Addo Adankwa Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party and Prof. JE.A. Mills of the National Democratic Congress is president.
Two back-to-back races have failed to produce a winner, and even though the coming decider is not exactly a complete race, the Chairman of the Electoral Commission says it holds the key to the ultimate answer.
General Elections on December 7 saw Nana Akufo-Addo lead the race, polling 4,159,439 or 49.13 per cent, while Prof. Mills polled 4,056,634 or 47.92 per cent. On that occasion, the leader failed to win the race because he needed anything above 50 per cent.
Then came the runoff, and once again, neither contestant has been declared winner yet, pending the outcome of the Tain Constituency election. EC Chairman Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan announced that out of 229 constituencies whose results the Commission collated, Professor Mills has polled 4,501,466 or 50.13 percent of valid votes cast, while Nana Akufo-Addo polled 4,478,411 or 49.87 percent.
Voting in the constituency runoff did not come off because of late arrival of electoral materials, however on December 7, Prof Mills won the constituency votes, once again, marginally. He garnered 16,211 votes against Nana Addo who had 14,935 votes on an occasion turn-out was 61.03 per cent.
Tain was the scene of bitter allegations between the NPP and NDC following the general elections on December 7. The NPP alleged that the constituency result was manipulated to favour the NDC.
Days after the polls, the EC offices in the constituency was razed in what was suspected to be the work of arsonists. A journalist, Kofi Doe Lawson, told Joy FM a security man on duty detected smoke from the building at about 1am before it went up in flames.
Official documents, ballot boxes and the roof of the entire building burnt to ashes.
Story by Isaac Yeboah- joyfm
Speaking at a news conference, Dr Afari-Gyan said mathematically the results from the constituency could affect the outcome of the Runoff because the number of voters in the constituency was more than the difference between Professor John Evans Atta Mills of National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of New Patriotic Party (NPP).
He announced that the results from 229 out of the 230 constituencies that have been certified by the EC, gave Prof Mills 4,501,466 votes representing 50.13 per cent of total valid votes cast while Nana Akufo-Addo garnered 4,478,411 votes representing 49.87 per cent.
Thus the difference of 23,055 votes could not give Prof Mills the presidency since the number of voters in the Tain constituency was more than the figure.
Prof Mills won in the Tain constituency during the 2008 General Election. He obtained 16,211 votes, representing 50.7 per cent, while Nana Akufo-Addo got 14,935 votes representing 46.8 per cent.
Ahmed Ibrahim of NDC won the Parliamentary Election with 14,965 votes representing 48.1 per cent of the valid votes cast, while Joe Danquah of NPP got 12,048 votes representing 38.7 per cent.
The Tain District of the Brong Ahafo Region was carved out of the Wenchi District. Its capital, Nsawkaw is a 40-minute drive away from Wenchi.
The people are mainly farmers cultivating food crops, especially maize and yams.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Dr. Kwadwo Afari Djan has announced the presidential run-off will be held in the Tain constituency on January 2, 2009 before the election results are announced. Dr Afari Gyan explained the results of the polls are very close ,can be affected by results form the Tain constituency. Voters in Tain did vote in the December run-off following some misunderstanding over polling materials.Dr. Afari Djan however announced the results collated for the 229 out of 230 constituencies as follows:
Nana Akuffo Addo 49.87%
Professor Atta Mills 50.13 %
Tain constituency consists of about 56,000 registered voters, with the NDC winning the constituency on December 7 with 16,211 votes representing 50.25% while NPP got 14,935 representing 46.75 % of the votes.
Tain constituency in the Brong Ahafo region in Ghana is going to be the decider
A statement signed by Colonel E.W.K. Nibo, Director, Public Relations explained that the troops were there to stabilise the situation at Denu after a request for reinforcement.
The statement said the Military High Command received reports of chaotic situation in Denu where security personnel and some party agents were allegedly chased out of their respective polling centres.
"The High Command therefore authorised the dispatch of a helicopter (which was the fastest means of insertion of troops) to Denu and the remainder of the troops by road," the statement said.
The Military High Command therefore advised all media houses to be circumspect in their reports and appealed to them to crosscheck their information on military activities from authentic military sources before putting information in the public domain in order not create panic, anxiety and alarm.
It further advised the public to remain calm and peaceful until the final results are announced by the Electoral Commission.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
At midnight, some Ghanaians and other interested parties are gone to Bed but others are glued to their radios, Television, mobile phones and Internet websites to stay abreast with results tricking in from the 230 collations centres spread across the length and breadth of the country.
Most electronic media houses are very busy talking to their correspondents who are feeding them with provisional results which they relay to their listeners. As at the time of filing this report, the Electoral Commission of Ghana is yet to issue out any certified result signed by the Chair of the Electoral Commission, Dr. Afari Gyan.
According to reports reaching African Elections Project, over 80 constituencies' provisional results are in with 150 constituencies results expected. The race is still very close to call and it is expected that final results will be released within 48 hours according to the Electoral Commission.
Stay with www.africanelections.org/ghana for up to the minute updates
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Polling officially ends at 1700 hours. All voters in queues before 1700 hours would be allowed to vote. The security details at the polling centres are expected to join the end of the queues when it is time to ensure that nobody joins it after the close of the polls.
Counting would start at the polling centres after the last voter has cast his or her vote. The first results are expected late on Sunday night or early Monday morning. The Electoral Commission expects the result to be declared within 48 hours.
Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), told Ghana News Agency that the voting procedures remained the same.
"The voting pattern is transparent and at each point of the voting process there is an identifiable glaring system, which would make it impossible for any one to cheat.
"The result of any polling station where the number of votes cast would exceed the number of registered voters and those who have lawfully transferred their votes would be cancelled."
Dr Afari-Gyan urged Ghanaians, especially political party representatives, to avoid making wild allegations about imagined electoral fraud and suspicions and said the entire process would take place in the open view of the public.
The EC Chairman said Presiding Officers in-charge of polling stations would inspect the ballot papers in the presence of the agents; enter the total number in a booklet; show the ballot boxes to the public to ascertain that they were empty and then place them in the open for voting.
Dr Afari-Gyan said accredited local and international observers, journalists, national and regional executive members of contesting political parties, security personnel, contesting candidates and spouses and monitors were permitted to visit the polling stations.
He advised all accredited officials to wear their prescribed identification tags exhibiting their photograph, name, organisation and mandate.
Dr Afari-Gyan reiterated that accredited EC officials were responsible for the conduct of the elections and were not subject to the dictates of anybody. They should, therefore, be allowed to work without unnecessary interference from any quarters.
At the Christ The King Polling Station of the Lakoo Electoral Area of Dade Kotopon Constituency in the Greater Accra Region, a first-time voter, Mr Isaac Tegbey was waiting behind the closed gate, when GNA visited at 0345.
Mr Tegbey said he wanted to vote early so that he could go back home to watch television and to avoid entering into arguments.
Mrs Gifty Afrifah, 37, Hairdresser, who arrived at 0350 hours, said she wanted to vote early so that she could go and open her salon.
At the Salem Secondary School Polling Station of the Ringway Electoral Area of Korle-Clottey Constituency, Abdulai Atanga, 27, a Driver of Accra Psychiatric Hospital, said he had been waiting at the gate since 0330 hours when the GNA visited at 0357 hours.
He said he wanted to be the first voter at his polling station. Mr Kwabla Adjei, 21, Building Construction Electrician, and Mr Kwasi Tekpe, 21, Air Conditioner Mechanic, said they wanted to vote early so that they could go and attend to other businesses.
At the Salem One and Salem Three Basic Schools Polling Centres, when the GNA visited at 0410, Mr Theophilus Saka Allotey, 41, Security Officer, said he got to the polling station early to ensure that he was the first voter, while Mrs Emelia Botchway said she was early because she wanted to avoid the crowd that would come later.
Meanwhile the People's National Convention, Member of Parliament-Elect for Builsa South Constituency, Mr Alhassan Zong has joined the National Democratic Congress Campaign Team while Mr Bernard Morna, General Secretary of the Party, has called on all supporters of the party to vote for Professor John Evans Atta Mills, Presidential Candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Presidential Election Runoff.
Prof Adele Ginadu, leader of the observer team, said this at Aflao on Friday during a visit to the Ghana/Togo border at Aflao.
Prof Ginadu told the Ghana News Agency that the team would state its position on the closure of the border.
Professor Ginadu's team tried unsuccessfully to secure the release of two other ECOWAS election observers being held by the Ghanaian security at Aflao for allegedly attempting to cross into the country through an unapproved route on Friday.
They were said to have been stranded in Lome on their way from Benin to monitor the presidential runoff.
The two, including a lady, were not allowed by the Ghana Immigration Service authorities to leave the Aflao border as at 2000 hours on Friday despite proof of their status by Prof Ginadu.
Mr Baba Alatunde, a Nigerian who said he was en-route through Ghana to Cote d I'voire with his two sons and his pregnant wife to see a doctor, described the closure as an act of insensitivity.
A group of Europeans who arrived in a chartered bus also murmured comments in anger and refused to talk to the press.
Security remained tight at both the Ghana and Togo sides of the border with all unapproved points sealed off.
There were unconfirmed reports of some people having been arrested for attempting to cross through unapproved routes into and out of the country.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Alex Segbefia, campaign coordinator of the NDC, made the submission on Joy FM's current affairs programme, Front Page, appearing with other guests including the EC's Director of Public Affairs, Christian Owusu Parry.
"Nothing here that has been said today, convinces me about what happened in the special voting as a credible voting. We would appeal to the Electoral Commission to consider scrapping the whole of the special voting throughout the country and let us, everybody, vote again…because we have real concerns. We are saying this at this stage, we are still waiting for final figures.
"We have sent letters to the EC across the country as to how many people voted in the special voting and then based on that we can make a conclusive analysis of the situation as to what happened. We have the rest of today and tomorrow (to go to the runoff proper) but as it stands at the moment based on what happened in Ashanti, let us make it clear; we think that it would be better to totally scrap the special voting exercise across the country…"
The programme, hosted by Kwaku Sakyi-Addo, discussed the success or otherwise of the early voting exercise, protests arriving from the exercise and the December 28 presidential runoff and prospects.
Also in attendance were Mr. John Larvie, elections coordinator of the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Mr. Bright Simons, a policy analyst associated with IMANI Ghana and Mr. Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, Campaign Chairman of the New Patriotic Party. Pollster, Ben Ephson and Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey, Executive Director of the Institute for Democratic Governance, contributed via phone.
Alex Segbefia alleged very serious shortcomings recorded during the exercise have undermined its credibility and the results should not stand. He said in specific constituencies in Kumasi and other parts of the Ashanti Region, no lists existed of voters eligible to vote in the exercise, and in one instance, the electoral officers exhausted a supply of 2000 ballots and requested for another 1000.
He had early on alleged that figures obtained in constituencies in the region were too curious to be accepted as credible.
Segbefia said for instance at the Bantama constituency, 350 people voted in the earlier special voting on December 2, but by 3pm on December 23, 2000 people had voted already while EC officials could not tell how many people were expected to vote there.
At Manhyia, 208 persons voted on December 2, but by 3pm last Tuesday, 2000 had already voted and EC officials had ordered for another 1,000 ballot papers, also unable to tell how many people were expected.
Similar 'huge' figures turned up at Subin where 1500 voted on December 2, but 2796 people had voted while the exercise was yet to close and at Asante Akim North, 485 voted on December 2, as against 1,223 on December 23 while Ejisu Juaben recorded 286 in the first instance against 526.
"Now contrast this with our constituency, the one we won in Ashanti, Asawase; 137 to 167… Go and check Ketu North, Ketu South, Keta; increases of 10, 30, 40, that's Volta Region. Ashanti stands out on its own, with 300, 400 percent increases in some areas and it doesn't make any sense whatsoever, as to what occurred and the basis upon which they occurred..."
Owusu-Parry explained however that the special voting lists are generated at the constituency level and anybody appearing to vote would have spoken to the returning officer and that the returning officer has actually given his permission to be put on the special voters' list so people don't just walk to the polling centre for special voting.
"Obviously the Returning Officer must be in the know and they may have spoken to the Returning Officer and the question that we need to ask is whether those people qualify to be placed on the special voters' list and …anybody whose duty would not allow him to be at his original polling station on election day, can apply to be placed on special voters' list."
He explained that the commission's own staff, political party agents and election observers requested to be placed on the special voters list and that explains the rise in numbers registered for the special exercise.
What diligence, EC?
Jake Obetsebi Lamptey said the NPP had their own concern of significant increases in the numbers, but explained that it could be because a lot more people are taking the voting exercise more seriously and therefore turned out in their numbers to vote.
"I know that in Accra for instance there were many places where the figures were significantly increased on special voting day. I don't have all the figures and since I don't have all the figures nationally, I don't want to just talk round and say in this area or in this region or whatever and I'm saying that ultimately our view has been that the people of this country are taking this second round very, very seriously…"
"I am an official of the NPP and I want to vote, I want to vote early to be free from 5 o'clock in the morning (of runoff) to be touring around and not have to do it at any time during the day so I can also go and vote and a lot of people took advantage of that because this time round the monitoring is going to be very heightened and so the people who are going to be involved in that monitoring have taken the trouble to make sure that they are free of any incumbencies and they can work and they can concentrate on monitoring the voting that day.
"For me it's a good sign for our country, it shows the commitment of our people to get involved in the democratic process. Let's applaud some of these things instead of always beating a particular drum; it's Ashanti, it's Ashanti, it's Ashanti, ... It's not only Ashanti, lots of places they had much higher figures than they did in the first round."
Mr. John Larvie however was concerned if the names of all those who voted in the special voting can be cleaned from the voters register to prevent double voting.
"If you do special voting it means you should not do Election Day voting. Which means your name should be absent from your original register. Is the Electoral Commission ready to prove that all those whose names came on the special voters' list are going to be absent in their original registers …what diligence is there to show that these people are not going to double vote?"
Ben Ephson said "Given the figures and problems Alex has indicated, I believe that the two parties in the Ashanti Region can request the list from the EC and between the two parties, tick all the numbers who have voted so that the various polling stations, anybody who goes there, polling agents of the two parties will have between them a common list where all those who voted the numbers have been ticked. I think that that should be a quite a nice way to try and solve the increased numbers, wherever they came from so that the possibility of double voting does not arise."
Ben Ephson also suggested that given the entrenched disagreements between the NDC and NPP, the two parties might want to consider agreeing to have the special voting exercise in the Ashanti and Volta regions counted ahead of Sunday so that the ballots could properly be accounted for.
Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey said the Electoral Commission owes the populace an explanation on how the special voting went in the Ashanti Region and it would be a helpful exercise if the explanation came ahead of the Sunday special voting, explaining that from monitored radio reports, it appeared there were problems there.
The NDC has 114 parliamentary seats compared to the 107 seats of New Patriotic Party (NPP) and this situation could be a constant source of conflict between the Presidency and the Legislature, if Professor Mills did not win Sunday's polls, Mr Danny Annang, Greater Accra Regional Chairman of NDC, stated in Accra on Thursday.
He said: "The NDC has taken firm control of Parliament the legislative arm of government- capturing 114 seats; controls seven regions - Western, Central, Greater Accra, Volta, Upper East, Upper West, and Northern Regions and a vote for Professor Mills would, therefore, consolidate Ghana's democracy."
Mr Annang, who was addressing members and supporters of NDC, said a vote for Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of New Patriotic Party (NPP) would be a recipe for constitutional crisis.
He cited the case during the Third Republic when Parliament rejected the Budget of the People's National Party (PNP) because the Party did not have the numbers in Parliament on the day the Budget was presented.
Mr Annang explained that the NDC stands on the threshold of controlling the next Parliament and by the Constitutional arrangement the Majority Leader runs government business in the House.
Mr Annang said the NDC as the majority party in Parliament, would also nominate the next Speaker, who is the third powerful person after the President, and the Vice-President.
He said it would be disastrous for the Leader of Government Business and Speaker of Parliament not to belong to the President's party, adding that the country should not choose such a dangerous road.
He said: "What is important is for Ghanaians to think about the welfare of one another rather than issues that would create anarchy in the society and litigation among the people."
Mr Annang called on the Chairman of the National Security Council, the Electoral Commission and the Inspector General of Police, to take appropriate measures to forestall actions that might hinder the smooth running of Sunday's polls.
He described Prof. Mills as the President every Ghanaian could trust to govern with humane policies, ensure the protection of all and share the national cake across board, irrespective of ethnic or party affiliations.
The presidential candidates of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have taken centre-stage and are dominating the airwaves with their messages with very little air time available for Christmas carols and messages.
When the Ghana News Agency went round to capture the mood of the people, most of the residents were seen going about their daily activities as if nothing was happening.
Most of the churches in Wa were not open for worship on Christmas day.
However, functionaries of the NPP and NDC moved in and out of the two FM stations in the town to present their messages to the voting public.
Only few people were seen in the livestock market in the centre of the town haggling with the traders about the prices of goats and fowls.
Abudu Sumani, one of the traders in poultry and sheep, told the GNA that he recorded more sales during the Muslim festival of Id-ul-Adha, which was celebrated early this month, than the current Christmas.
"While there was a rush for goats and sheep especially rams during the Muslim festival, I have sold only four guinea fowls since yesterday and I think it is because of the coming elections as it is occupying everybody's mind", he said.
Madam Memuna Iddrisu, a trader in textiles at the Wa central market, said she did not know that Thursday was Christmas as there was nothing to show, through her sales, that it was a festive period.
"All we are hearing from the radio these days is NDC, NPP, Nana Akufo-Addo and Professor Mills and nothing about Christmas", she said.
The only sight of Christmas was at the outskirts of the town where people congregated at drinking spots to share alcoholic beverages with friends and loved ones.
"That has been the case since 1992," Ms Laurantia Kpatakpa, Volta Regional Director of the EC, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Ho on Friday.
She said proxy voting, which required going through some processes, was the alternative left for such people to exercise their franchise but because nobody could tell when he or she would fall sick and be on admission, that alternative would not be feasible given the time factor.
Ms Kpatakpa said the EC did not have the resources to get to all hospitals in order to get those on admission to vote.
She said what the EC had been doing for such in-patients was to get them registered at the hospitals during voter registration exercises.
Ms Kpatakpa said it was only hospital staff such as doctors and nurses and other personnel, who would be on duty on voting day, who could apply for special voting if they wished.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
The Leadership of the NDC has met in connection with the highly publicized incidents of irregularity and illegality in the Special Ballot that took place on 23rd December 2008. The nature of the irregularities profoundly compromises the integrity of the electoral process. This has been communicated in writing to the Electoral Commission.
Further to that the NDC is compelled to take appropriate measures to protect Ghana's electoral system and protect the interests of the electorate and our Presidential Candidate on Sunday 28th December 2008. As a first step the party has notified the Electoral Commissioner that the party reserves the right to reject results from those polling stations where there was blatant abuse of the electoral process. Furthermore the NDC serves notice that should similar irregularities occur at any polling station in Ghana on Sunday 28thDecember 2008 the NDC will not hesitate to reject the results.
The NDC has made its commitments to free and fair elections through its adherence to the rules and regulations and decisions of the Electoral Commission and IPAC. The party is determined to play its role to ensure free and fair elections and to resist any attempts by the ruling NPP to subvert the will of the people.
The Electoral Commission of Ghana has successfully organized elections since 1992, and has acquired an international reputation for the four previous successful polls they have conducted. The 2008 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections are the fifth to be conducted under the 1992 Constitution. Our electoral procedures are tried and tested and there is no excuse for the irregularities that presently threaten to mar the election this year.
It is the expectation of the NDC that the Electoral Commission will protect its hard won reputation and not succumb to any pressures from the ruling party. In this connection we urge the Electoral Commission to open its eyes and watch the activities of some of its officers who may compromise its standing in the eyes of Ghanaians and the rest of the world.
The integrity of the Ghana Police Service has also been called into question as a result of the apparent complicity of some officers who looked on whilst irregularities and illegalities occurred. Indeed the NDC has reason to suspect the identity of some people who paraded around in police uniforms at polling stations on that day. In line with the IGP's promise that all security personnel assigned to duties at polling stations will wear name tags, the NDC has directed all polling agents of the party to establish the bona fides of all members of the security services whom they suspect to be impersonating officers of the Ghana Police Service. The NDC is making arrangements to support all its polling agents with cameramen to gather documentary evidence to assist in the identification of questionable security personnel and to document illegal activities. We also urge members and sympathizers of the party and the public at large who own camera phones to record all illegal incidents and activities at polling station to supplement the work of the NDC cameramen.
On December 7th the NDC won seven out of ten regions in the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections. The NDC now has a majority of seats in Parliament. It is worth noting that the NPP lost over twenty seats in Parliament. The NDC now has the widest representation in Parliament covering all regions of Ghana. It is therefore the duty of the NDC to legitimately speak for the majority of Ghanaians. As the party with the broadest national support the NDC seeks the Presidency of Prof. John Atta Mills in the interests of political stability and good governance.
The NDC would like to assure the Ghanaian electorate of its determination to protect their right to elect a President of their choice as guaranteed by law. We are aware of the activities of the ruling party in recruiting macho men and an assortment of disruptive elements with a view to snatching ballot boxes and otherwise disturbing the normal conduct of the elections. We are taking steps to protect our polling agents and supporters from intimidation, and assure our supporters that the party will stand with them in ensuring that the right things are done by all parties. We are compelled to take these measures because the President has been curiously silent about all the developments and appears to have abdicated his executive responsibility to maintain a presidential hand and voice regarding these developments that pose a threat to the peace of the Nation.
It is worth noting here that a party that is willing to reverse its policies just to hold onto power cannot be trusted, and will definitely reverse itself again once it does retain power.
The Leadership of the NDC will act with every determination to ensure that the run-off of the 2008 Presidential Election is conducted according to the arrangements agreed by all the political parties and in accordance with the laws of the land with the professional assistance of the security services.
Our strength lies in our ability to uphold the law and the firm belief that a majority of Ghanaians want change. It is the duty of every Ghanaian including all members of the NDC who are registered voters to uphold our democracy through the ballot box on 28th December 2008. It is by casting your ballot that all Ghanaians can participate in healing the wounds and uniting our divided country. VOTE FOR ATTA MILLS. VOTE FOR CHANGE.VOTE FOR A UNITED GHANA.
Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, General Secretary – National Democratic Congress
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Preaching the sermon on Christmas day in Takoradi, the clergyman said God would enable the right person to win the polls and asked the people irrespective of their ethnic, religious and political background to rally behind the victor.
Rev. Sackey asked Ghanaians not to take God's favour for the people for granted, especially as the country prepared for the runoff.
He said "Our thoughts, words and action towards each other should reflect peace before, during and after the Presidential run-off" and called on Ghanaians to emulate the peace, love and humility of Jesus Christ.
Rev. Sackey appealed to government to manage the country's oil find judiciously to accelerate national development and to ensure equitable distribution of the national cake.
He said closing Ghana's eastern borders alone during elections makes the people of the Volta Region for example feel excluded from the rest of Ghana.
Bishop Lodonu who was delivering a sermon at a mass to mark Christmas at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Ho suggested that, "if borders have to be sealed then it should be all".
Government closed the country's borders to Togo just before the December 7 general elections, raising criticism from Chiefs in the Volta Region, who said that decision was discriminatory.
"I fully concur with them. If you close only borders leading to Togo which borders mainly the Volta Region, you make the people there feel like strangers," Bishop Lodonu stated.
He advised the winning side in the December 28 presidential runoff to go easy on celebrations to avoid brushing the sensibilities of the defeated side.
Bishop Lodonu also advised the side that would be beaten to accept defeat, saying just as Jesus Christ accepted defeat, was crucified but rose the third day to claim victory, that party would also win one day.
A Group of observers from the Commonwealth will be in Ghana for the Presidential run-off election scheduled for 28 December 2008.
This follows the polls on 7 December 2008, at which none of the Presidential candidates obtained more than fifty per cent of the total number of valid votes cast as required by the Constitution.
The Group, led by Baroness Valerie Amos, former leader of the House of Lords in the UK and former Minister for Africa also observed the first round of the poll.
"We will observe the electoral environment and process for Presidential run-off, continuing our work from the first round of elections," said Baroness Amos.
Baroness Amos said that the Group hoped that the overall spirit of peace and calm in which the first round of voting was conducted would be carried through before, during and after the 28 December 2008 poll.
In its interim statement issued on 9 December after the 7 December polls, the Commonwealth Observer Group said that the process had been conducted in a credible manner.
She said the world and the Commonwealth looked to Ghana to conclude the election process in a manner that will meet the expectations of its own people, and provide a good example to the region and the Commonwealth as a whole.Commonwealth News and Information Service (London)
He said life was the most precious thing the Creator has given to humanity and nobody would be sacrificed on the altar of politics since it was against God's law and, therefore, charged the Government to investigate and come out with the truth concerning the "hit list".
Former Vice President Mills, who was addressing a rally at Tarkwa on Wednesday, said he would rule Ghana with the truth, the fear of God and humility.
Prof. Mills said he would reduce further downwards the prices of petroleum products because of the negative effects high fuel prices had on the economy.
He promised to address the teachers' problems; expand the National Youth Employment Programme, make the National Health Insurance Scheme more affordable and expand the School Feeding Programme to cover all schoolchildren and ensure that they are fed with nutritious meals and not maggot-infested beans and tin-tomatoes, whose shelf-life has expired.
Prof Mills pledge to resolve the problems of Galamsey operators so that they could go about their operations with harassment.
He said NDC had 114 seats in Parliament compared to 107 of the NPP, adding, that the elephant was already out of government and was on its way back to the forest.
Prof Mills said some people have been lying about his health and even said he was dead, adding, "I am as fit as a fiddle".
Nana Kwabena Obob, Deputy Western Regional Chairman of NDC, told polling station agents of NDC to be vigilant and not monetary inducement from the NPP functionaries and allow them to manipulate the polls.
Prof. Mills later went to Prestea, Wassa Dawurapong, Himan and Bawdie before proceeding to Asankragua, all in the Western Region.
The 21-man team, headed by Janguo Athumani Saidi, Chairperson of the Committee on Rural Economy, Agriculture, National Resources and Environment, is in the country at the invitation of the Electoral Commission (EC).
The mission was deployed in Ghana during the December 7 elections.
Mr Athumani Saidi told the media in Accra on Thursday that while in Ghana the observers would be briefed and addressed by the Ghanaian Electoral stakeholders.
They would be deployed to all the 10 regions on Friday, December 26 where they would meet with electoral stakeholders including electoral officials, civil society organizations and representatives of political parties and the media.
Members of the mission would observe voting and counting at polling stations and return to Accra on December 29, 2008 to attend a debriefing session and to assess the electoral process.
The mission would deliver an interim assessment statement at a press conference on December 30, and its members would begin to depart for their various countries on December 31 2008.
Mr Athumani Saidi said the Pan-African Parliament would continue to monitor the process until the finalization of the election results, after which the mission would present its final report and final assessment of the Ghana's presidential and parliamentary elections.
He said: "Democracy cannot be secured when it leads the people with mistrust and flagrant abuse of the law."
Mr Mahama, who was speaking at a rally at Daboya, near Damongo, in the West Gonja District of the Northern Region as part of his campaign to galvanize votes to win the December 28 presidential election runoff said what the country needed most was building trust among the people.
"It is necessary to ensure that our actions are rooted in truthfulness. Insulting a political opponent would not put food on the table for the citizenry, and we must all desist from that and gain trust from the people that we want to serve," he said.
He said the way the majority of Ghanaians were raising concerns about the electoral system and attempts by others to rig the elections, missing of ballot boxes and other alleged electoral malpractices, were indications that there was no trust in the leadership.
"All these things are happening because some people think that it is a must to become a leader, but at this era when the electorate is well awake, no one can cheat nature and the intelligence of the voter," he stressed.
"What we should all be concerned with now, is how to unite the country after so many years of polarization, anger, antagonism and the unwillingness to put Ghana first, which would make all of us proud to belong to the nation," he said.
He said all the parties have crafted their manifestos on issues and programmes that would help to alleviate the plight of the suffering people, which could put Ghana on the right path to development.
Mr Mahama, therefore, stressed the need to focus on issues.
He said the NDC had repeatedly explained how it would review the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and other programmes of the NPP that would make it convenient and progressively achievable and beneficial to all Ghanaians.
He appealed to Ghanaians to assess his character and that of Professor John Evans Atta Mills and draw conclusions as to whether they could manipulate or victimize political opponents, and vote massively for the NDC to win the December 28 run-off.
On the issue of alleged voting irregulaties, during the special voting which took place on December 23, Mr Ephson suggested that the Electoral Commission must urgently make available the list of all persons who voted during the special voting to the two political parties to prevent double voting on December 28.
AEP - www.africanelections.org/ghana
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
In a Christmas and New Year message to the nation, he charged the Police and other law enforcement agencies to be alert and discharge their functions effectively to ensure accident-free yuletide.
In a statement signed by the Press Secretary to the President, Andrew Awuni, President Kufuor asked Ghanaians, the Electoral Commission and the political parties to ensure that fairness prevails in Sunday's run-off to avoid suspicions and tensions.
This way the President said the whole nation will share in the pride of having contributed to the credibility and success of the election, the outcome of which all interest groups should be able to live with.
The President said Ghana must enter the New Year in peace, harmony and unity.
A statement he signed and released by his office counseled Ghanaians again not to discount the religious relevance of the occasion but to thank God for seeing the nation through a difficult year and for His abundant blessings.
"It is important that we recognise the religious significance not only of the occasion but also of the particular period of the year. God being so magnanimous has taken us through to the end of the year and we need not mock His generosity by abusing our bodies."
Below is the entire statement.
Fellow Ghanaians, as we celebrate the Christmas holidays I extend the warmest greetings of my family and I to you all.
Christmas falls at a very important period on the annual calendar. It coincides with the end of the year and ushers into a New Year.
The celebration serves as a source of stocktaking for each individual as it officially also marks the end of the working year for many.
The year 2008 has no doubt been tough, nevertheless the proverbial Ghanaian belief that God will provide has carried us through the year and Christians and Muslims alike have to be thankful to the Almighty for His abundant blessings.
Religious as the original celebration of Christmas may represent, the festivities have also taken on a secular angle with various entertainment events from parties to wild nights out.
One cannot begrudge the Ghanaian for choosing to celebrate the end of the year with some entertainment, but let us do so with a decent element of sobriety and thoughtfulness.
Such periods tend to unfortunately record huge motor accidents and excessive abuse of alcohol and sadly to say, other substances not fit to mention.
It is important that we recognise the religious significance not only of the occasion but also of the particular period of the year. God being so magnanimous has taken us through to the end of the year and we need not mock His generosity by abusing our bodies.
Christmas is also a period of gift giving. As we offer token gifts to our family, friends and loved ones we should not forget our biblical responsibility to give to the less privileged in society.
Acts 20:35 aptly enjoins us:
I have shown you in every way by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.
I enjoin Ghanaians to use the period for sober reflection particularly because two days after Boxing Day we will be going to the polls to elect our President in the election runoff.
It is important that we do not see the act of making Presidential choices as one of enmity between two opposing factions. The choices we are making are private choices based on our inner convictions and it is important we do not allow ourselves to become vessels of anger, violence, intimidation and fraud.
Let us rather use this occasion to sow seeds of affection, unity and togetherness even if we belong to opposing political factions. We owe an obligation to generations to come to make this process a success.
I call on all Ghanaians to stretch a hand of unity to each other and eschew acts of dishonesty during the electoral process. The consequences of any ill-motivated actions will bring a curse on our dear nation of ours.
To all political parties, security agencies, the Electoral Commission and other arms of the state who will be responsible for the electoral process it is important that we operate above reproach and exercise a high level of professionalism, independence and fairness that will ensure that our Christmas season will end in peace and tranquility.
We deserve to elect a president through people's power, not through forgery and fraud and on December 28, let us use our choices sensibly and desist from using anything other than our single vote to make that choice.
Isaiah 9: 6 - "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Merry Christmas and a most Prosperous 2008 to you all.
Signed: Jerry John Rawlings
The protesters said they would continue to protest until the EC nullifies the results in that region.
The Ashanti Regional Chairman of the NDC, Mr. Daniel Ohene Agyekum claimed the voting process in the region was characterized by widespread irregularities.
He said minors and other unqualified persons were allowed to vote. The special voting is meant for security officers and other persons who will be performing special duties on Election Day. But the NDC Chairman said persons other than such people voted, adding that there were astronomical increases in the numbers compared to the number that voted in the last early voting on December 2.
He gave indications that the party would reject the results of the special voting in the region The presidential candidate of the party, Prof. Atta Mills, also called for an investigation into the matter.
But that appears not to be enough for the supporters of the party who said they would continue to demonstrate until the EC nullifies the results.
Speaking the media during the demonstration, a leading member of the NDC, Mr. Victor Smith swore if the NPP does anything funny on December 28, the country will not be peaceful.
He claimed an NPP guru had told him that the NPP had 650, 000 supporters who did not vote on December 7. That number, he said was as a result of multiple voting engaged in by the party.
He believes the NPP is bent on making such 'ghost voters' vote during the run-off. Mr. Smith cited the NPP Constituency Chairman Ejura Sekyere whom he claims was exposed by his own son for possessing voter ID cards.
"Akufo-Addo and the NPP are determined to rig the elections and if they try it…" he paused, as a protester standing behind him completed the sentence, "We will burn this country."
The Constituency Deputy Organiser of East Ayawaso of the NDC, Sumaila Fuseini said just as former President Rawlings handed over power Kufuor peacefully, President Kufuor should hand over.
He asked why centres that registerd about voters in the last special voting exercise should record 2,000 this time.The visibly enraged protester claimed some people were given three ballot papers each to vote.
If you experience political persecution, you should have driven a vehicle with NPP colours through the ridge hospital road.NDC supporters wielding sticks and leaves, sung, danced and booed every vehicle that bore anything NPP.
They tried to enter premises of the EC and were restrained by riot police.While the scene was interesting to behold managers of the country's electoral process and peace should be worried.
Mr. Aglagoh, who also contested the last December 7, Parliamentary election on an independent ticket in the Ave-Avenor constituency, has urged Ghanaians to give Prof. Atta Mills and the NDC a Merry Christmas and New Year package of landslide victory in the coming Sunday's Presidential run-off.
In a statement issued at a press conference on Monday at Akatsi in the Volta Region, Mr. Aglagoh said, Ghana, more than ever before, needed a visionary leader who was without blemish and whose strength lies in his transparency and humility.
He said, Ghana, as pace setters in modern democracy in Africa, needed a true leader for the people, elected by the people and the requisite cardinal qualities could only be found in no other person than Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills.
He said the track record of Prof. Atta Mills as a renowned statesman and a former Vice President of Ghana for four solid years was not only impeccable but also stood out of the rest.
The statement continued that it was very unfortunate that this time in the political history of Ghana, the country was threatened by ethnicity, employment based on party affiliation, increasing spate of armed robbery, official corruption and flagrant abuse of power as well as rule of law.
The statement said, in the opinion of many Ghanaians the only man capable of bringing a sigh of relief and able to put back the smile on the faces of the suffering masses was "our own tried and tested politician and statesman, Prof. Atta-Mills."
It emphasized that the NDC had already dictated the pace by securing majority in parliament which indicated that the sovereignty of Ghana, indeed, resided in the power of the thumb, and that any government that failed to meet the needs and aspirations of the people would not deserve their mandate to rule them.
The statement commended all Ghanaians for their vigilance and maturity in defending their sovereignty and demonstrating that the will of the people was, indeed, supreme during the last December 7, general elections.
Mr. Aglagoh congratulated Mr. Doe-Adjaho for winning the just ended parliamentary election that retained him as the MP-elect for the Ave-Avenor constituency.
He said he had been an avowed and committed member of the NDC on whose ticket he contested the parliamentary primaries in 2004 general elections and not a supporter of the NPP was being peddled around.
He called on all the stakeholders of the December 28th, run-off to conduct themselves in a most worthy manner to ensure a credible run-off that would be free, fair, transparent, peaceful and unimpeded.
Finally, Mr. Aglagoh thanked all the people of Ave-Avenor who voted for him and those who did not, during the just ended parliamentary election and urged them to rally behind the NDC to clinch a knockout victory for Prof. Atta Mills on coming Sunday.
The Chairman for the occasion, Mr. Pius Attise, who was a leading member of the campaign team, commended Ghanaians for the peaceful conduct of the December 7, general election, saying; "we are duty-bound to ensure a peaceful transition in the run-off to sustain peace and development in the country.
The general sentiment of the people after the conference was a firm resolution to vote massively for Prof. Atta-Mills.
The members argued that, almost all the opposition political parties opted for a change in governance and therefore it is important for all members of the opposition parties, their supporters and sympathizers to vote massively for Prof Atta Mills to effect the change, which they were yearning for.
This was contained in a press release issued by the group and signed by Nana Owusu Sekyere, immediate past Eastern Regional Chairman of the CPP, a copy of, which was made available to the Ghana News Agency on Tuesday.
In a related electoral dispute matter, the Sunyani High Court has fixed January 12, 2009 for a ruling on the case which Mr. Yiadom Boakye-Boateng the New Patriotic Party(NPP) parliamentary candidate for Asutifi South constituency, filled a motion on notice for an interim injunction on the results of the parliamentary elections on December 7, until the re-collation of the results.
The determination of this cases are very important to the key question who holds majority in Ghana's 230 member parliament, out of 228 constituencies results declared NPP holds 108 seats,NDC 113, CPP 1,PNC 2 and Independent 4. Based on 230 members in parliament, the majority must have 116 members to carry the house.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
The team, led by Mr Chris Ackumey, told a press conference in Accra that it would explore all legal opportunities available to it to ensure that the right thing was done so that Ghanaians would freely exercise their franchise and elect a leader of their choice at next Sunday's Presidential run-off.
The contest would be between NDC's Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the presidential candidate of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), neither of whom obtained the constitutional more than 50 per cent of the total valid ballots cast in the first round.
The team complained that some polling officials and presiding officers kept agents of the NDC far away from the polling officials to make it impossible for them to closely monitor the elections.
This, the group said was against the electoral laws, and called for a strict compliance, and called on the Commission to make a public statement on the matter and advise its officials to strictly observe the law.
The lawyers said a polling agent acted on behalf of a presidential candidate and it was wrong and against the law for any presiding officer to keep polling agents at long distances from where it would be impossible to detect impersonation and other malpractices.
The team accused some supporters of the NPP, of conniving with some Police personnel to arrest and intimidate NDC supporters, in the Mfantsiman West, Oda, Ayawaso Central and Weija, adding that, certain areas had been declared "no go areas" to NDC members and agents.
The lawyers said there were reports Government ordering the closure of the eastern border of the country, but such closure, they pointed out was an act which breached the fundamental rights of Ghanaians in that area.
"The closure of the border is discriminatory and it infringes on the right of free movement of the citizens in that area, contrary to the provisions in the 1992 Constitution," Mr Ackumey said.
The party says it will not allow the votes in the region to be added to the results of the December 28 polls because of what it says were the widespread irregularities.
The Ashanti Regional Chairman of the NDC, Daniel Ohene Agyekum told Joy News that the number of voters in most polling centres in the region had more than doubled.
He claims at Kwadaso polling station, the number had increased from 540 in the last special voting to over 1,500 this time around.
The Electoral Commission (EC) officials explain that some officials who could not vote in the last special voting prior to the December 7 election were disenfranchised as they could not partake in the exercise.
To forestall this situation, the officials and other political party agents who will be on duty on December 28 were allowed to vote.
That, they said account for increasing numbers at the polling centres.
But Mr Ohene Agyekum will have none of that claiming he was nearly manhandled while some supporters of the NDC had been arrested unjustifiably.
Meanwhile Joy News' Yaw Ansu Gyeabour reports that the election went very peacefully.
He said there were a few complaints of some people failing to find their names in the special voters list.
Luv FM's Said Ali Yakubu also said the exercise was peaceful.
He said the list of voters was handwritten and that was a bit worrying for some voters.
He said it was the duty of traditional rulers to impress upon their people to vote to elect a president of their choice.
A statement the Media Relation Manager of Manhyia, George Boasiako Osei Antiw signed on Tuesday, said Otumfuo Osei Tutu was speaking at the last meeting of the year of the Asanteman Council held at the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi.
He urged paramount chiefs to request their elders through traditional means, such as beating of gong-gong, to ask people to vote, saying Ghanaians wanted development and this was the time to vote for a candidate, who was development oriented.
The Asantehene advised registered voters not to cause confusion at the polling stations to disrupt the voting process to give Asanteman a bad name.
He praised voters for their comportment during the December 7 elections and expressed the hope that they would exhibit similar attitudes during Sunday's runoff.
The special voting in the presidential run-off of the Tano South District started at 0700 hours
When the Ghana News Agency visited the centre around 1:25
Mr Philp Ofosu, Presiding Officer said the centre had adequate
He expressed the optimism that electorate would continue with
Mr Thomas Okrah, a polling agent for the New Patriotic Party
He was responding to issues at a day's consultative workshop for peaceful run-off elections in Kumasi on Monday. It was organised by the National Peace Council (NPC) and attended by journalists, security personnel, party representatives and civil society organizations from the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions.
"The country is not entirely polarized as is being made to believe or portrayed by politicians," he emphasised adding that the swinging voting patterns in the Central and Greater Accra regions should not be misconstrued as voting on ethnic or tribal bases.
"When they vote in their favour, they keep quite but when against them they read all sorts of meanings," ProfessorAnsah Koi said.
He said the December 7, 2008 elections had shown that politicians could not take the electorate for granted and they should therefore, be honest enough to find candid reasons for their failuresand make amends.
Professor Ansah Koi said the run-off was a great challenge to the peace and security of the nation and urged all stakeholders to avoid complacency and play their roles effectively
Professor Irene Odotei, a member of the NPC, stressed the need for respect of the country's tradition and custom to serve as a guide to the democratic dispensation.
She said ethnicity was there to make the nation and its people diverse and unique and that Ghanaians should not allow politicians to use tribal sentiments as their game plan to cause confusion.
Professor Odotei, therefore, called on Ghanaians to strongly condemn politicians who tried to play tribal or ethnic politics to achieve their aims.
Mr Francis Azumah, a representative of the UNDP, said the first round was the commitment of all Ghanaians to the democratic dispensation and advised them to continue to ensure peaceful elections in the run-off.
He said the UNDP would continue to support initiativesthat sought to bring peace and greater transparency in all aspects of national life.
Mr Isaac Owusu, Deputy Ashanti regional Director of Electoral Commission (EC), said so far the Commission had not received any petition challenging the outcome of the elections in the region, adding that, the region recorded 73.3 per cent turn-out in the December 7, elections.
He, however, mentioned long queues, problems in the transfer list and the special voting as some of the challenges the Commission faced during the elections.
Mr Owusu said the Commission would create additional polling stations for stations, which had more than 1,500 voters' population during the run-off.
Mr Kwabena Kese a member of the NPC, re-echoed that the voting on December 7, attested to the fact that, Ghanaians were becoming more discerning and that politicians could not take them for granted.
He called on all stakeholders to play their partseffectively to ensure peace after the run-off elections on December 28, 2008.
According to the Command, an alleged destruction of election materials at the polling station during the special voting on Tuesday was also not true.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency, Chief Superintendent Mathew Appiagyei, Offinso Divisional Commander said the alleged incident took place between supporters of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) outside the polling station. It did not in any way disrupt the voting process, he stressed.
Mr Appiagyei, who did not immediately give details of the alleged disturbances, said investigations into the matter were ongoing.
He said a misunderstanding also at Akomadan in the Offinso North constituency was resolved peacefully and explained that the issue bothered on a challenge from the NPP polling agents that the NDC had not presented its lists of polling agents for the December 28 presidential run-off.
To this end, the NPP agents attempted to prevent the NDC agents to be part of the special voting exercise and the police had to intervene to settle the dispute.
Mr Appiagyei said the special voting exercise had so far been peaceful in the two constituencies.
A press release issued on Tuesday and signed by Mr Kwame Tabiri, Secretary to the "CPP members for Atta Mills Presidency Forum'' said the NDC candidate "holds the best prospects for a rejuvenated CPP in the country".
It said even though the leadership of the party in the region respected the decision of the Central Committee of the CPP that their members should remain neutral in the December 28 election, "it has become abundantly clear that for the majority of members of the CPP in the region," the rejuvenation of the party depended on the election of Atta Mills as the next president.
The release urged all members of the party in the region in particular and the country in general to vote massively for Prof. Atta Mills.
Even though no official reasons have been adduced for management's decision, Joy News believes the decision must have been politically motivated.
The affected persons are General Manager in charge of news Emmanuel Osei Boakye, Director of operations Kofi Nyantakyi and an official at the marketing department.
The management's decision took effect on Friday, December 19, 2008.
Sources close to Joy News indicate management had previously met with Osei Boakye and the news team over what they (management) perceive to be bias reportage against the ruling party, during the recent December 7 general election.
Osei Boakye has been accused of unduly favouring the NDC whilst Kofi Nyantakyi and the marketing official were penalised for allowing on air political advert of the NDC.
The decision has made workers, especially those in the news room worried and insecure, fearing their job could be compromised.
Pleading anonymity, they told Joy FM's correspondent, management decision is as a result of political machinations by high ranking members of the ruling government who have not been happy with news team's incessant reportage on filth, indiscipline, poor road networks dotted across the country.
Even though the marketing officer has denied being asked to proceed on leave, the two affected persons have refused to comment.
A memo signed and posted on TV3 newsroom notice board by Osei Boakye on Friday reads; I have been asked to proceed on leave effective today. Emma Morrison, Robert Kyere and Gabriel Bosompim will together manage the department and they will report to the Director of Finance.