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General News Thu, 31 Jul 2008

NDC asks EC for enough workstations for voters' registration

Accra, July 31, GNA - The National Democratic Congress (NDC), the largest minority party contesting in Ghana's 2008 general elections, on Wednesday expressed doubt as to whether the voter registration exercise would be smooth and fair as expected.

A day ahead of the commencement of the exercise on Thursday, July 31, the Party says it wonders why the Electoral Commission (EC) had made available only 2,500 workstations instead of for 5,000 electoral areas where the registration exercise would be taking place. "Why did the EC procure only 2,500 workstations when it announced to the whole world that government had provided all the funds and logistics that it needed towards the 2008 elections?" Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, National Organiser of the NDC, queried at a press conference in Accra.

The NDC said the provision of 2,500 workstations came to one workstation to two electoral areas, which reduced the speed and efficiency and possible disenfranchising of potential voters and a source of possible confusion at the registration centres.

"This is because once the exercise is taking place in one electoral area, potential voters in the other electoral area cannot take advantage of the process at the same time," Mr Ofosu-Ampofo said, and added that, the Party wished the EC conducted the re-registration exercise concurrently in all the 5,000 areas, or alternatively increased the period for the 10-day exercise.

The NDC recalled a recent Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting and said it requested the EC to furnish it with track sheets detailing the distribution of the registration forms from the EC headquarters to each registration centre.

It said EC also obliged to the request to direct its regional and district officers to release forms to all political parties. The NDC said there was considerable political interference in the recruitment of temporary EC staff, and alleged that an attempt was made on the life of an EC official for refusing to be compromised in the Pru District.

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"Unfortunately, the police and the EC did not arrive at any conclusion in their investigations," Mr Ofosu-Ampofo said. The NDC took strong exception to reports of recruitment of the members of the campaign team of the District Chief Executive, who is also the parliamentary candidate for a party as temporary EC officials. "They are currently part of the training process being organized by the EC," the NDC said, and urged the EC to take steps to remedy the situation.

"A non-action by the EC would undermine the electoral process," the NDC said.

The NDC also said it would not countenance any act of repetition of supplying few registration materials by the EC to areas known as NDC strongholds like the Volta Region and extra materials and more days for areas considered as strongholds of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) during the registration exercise.

The NDC also expressed concern about the conduct of the re-registration exercise alongside the National Identification registration process in the Western Region, "since it has a potential to confuse voters".

Mr. Johnson Asiedu Nketia, General Secretary of the NDC, said after the establishment of democratic structures, it was necessary to keep them on their toes and raise alarm when dangerous signs that would hurt the nation's democracy were detected. Dr. Kwabena Adjei, National Chairman of the NDC, enlisted the assistance of the press to expose anything that would sustain democratic governance.

"We are giving you the lead to keep us on our toes when we come to power. It is important we open our eyes and keep them on the ground to have a credible voters' register," Dr. Adjei said. 31 July 08

Source: GNA
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