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General News
EC wants 230 NDC and NPP supporters prosecuted 4/30/2009

The Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan, says the commission has submitted to the police for prosecution, names of 230 supporters of the NDC and NPP supporters who engaged in double registration in the last elections.

However, he said only one of them has been prosecuted.

He wondered why to date, only the NDC’s Parliamentary candidate for Kwabre West Constituency, Pius Opoku Boateng, was tried and jailed for 12 months.

Dr. Afari Gyan was answering questions by John Larvie, Co-ordinator of Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) as to what the EC did about the prosecution of only an NDC candidate for double registration even though an NPP activist also committed that same crime.

This was at a forum in Accra Wednesday between the EC and the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers to analyse what went wrong with the 2008 elections and steps all stakeholders should take to forestall their recurrence.

Dr Afari-Gyan said nothing prevented the police under the current NDC administration to get all those offenders, both NDC and NPP, prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to those who might be contemplating multiple registration in future.

The EC Chairman also proposed that the name "Special Voting" for the security services should be changed to "Early Voting" because some security personnel, even without voter ID cards, thought they were so special that they should be allowed to vote that day.

He asked security men who are allowed to vote early to know that it was the same voting process but that they were only voting early to enable them to perform their duties on the actual voting date.

"There is nothing special about them which should make them swollen-headed," he observed.

In answer to another question, Dr Afari-Gyim said he had wanted to declare the results of the presidential re-run on December 28, but after three hours of deliberations between the NPP and NDC, the NPP asked that the Tain elections should be conducted to determine which party won the elections.

"NPP said there was a mathematical possibility of NPP winning, so let''s go to Tain" he said.

The Commissioner said he was therefore surprised when NPP later turned round to say that it would not participate in the Tain elections, which went ahead, all the same.

Turning to the election observers, he said the duty of the EC was to listen to CODEO on their observations and discuss shortfalls because no electoral system was fool-proof.

However, Dr Afari-Gyan said, as CODEO pointed out the shortcomings of the EC, it should also offer solutions that were candid, truthful, sincere and lawful.

Professor Miranda Greenstreet, spokesperson for CODEO, said the organisation was made up of 34 civil society organisations, including faith-based ones and the ultimate objective of CODEO was to organise political campaigns to make citizens realise their rights as votes.

Prof. Greenstreet said CODEO had observed that there was a lot of political intolerance during the 2008 elections and that was threatening to polarise the country.

She said public office holders who wanted to do politics should have followed the rules, while the security agencies could have been more pro-active to punish people who broke the electoral laws.

The General-Secretary of the Christian Council, the Rev. Fred Deegbe, suggested that the election date be changed.

He said if voting should be moved from December to either November or October, it would create ample time for transition from one government to another.

The Resident Director of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, a German political foundation working in Ghana, Kathrin Meissner, praised the EC for distinguishing itself by organising a successful 2008 election.

Kathrin Meissner said she was convinced that one of the reasons why the EC had such a remarkable reputation was that it never rested, and was never satisfied with past successes.

Source: Times

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