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General News Thu, 25 Sep 2008

NDC cautions international observers

Accra, Sept. 25, GNA - Mr. Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, Deputy General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), on Thursday sounded a note of caution to international observers coming for the December elections, urging them to consider all the evidence before making declarations on the elections to prevent violence. He observed that in Kenya, post-election violence was partly due to the fact that in spite of abundant evidence of illegal movement of ballot papers and declaration of results in areas where there was no voting, the international observers angered the people by declaring the election as free and fair.

He said the NDC would like to caution the international observers ahead of their coming to be circumspect with their declarations as that could fuel unnecessary violence, especially when it opposed the evidence.

Mr. Afriyie-Ankrah made the call at the launch of UNITAS Foundations (UF), a non-governmental organisation, with a mission to consolidate democracy in Ghana, particularly educating the electorate to conduct themselves in a manner as would ensure free, fair, transparent and peaceful elections in December.

He said Professor John Evan Ata Mills, flag bearer of the NDC, had declared publicly that he would not make any inflammatory statements in the run-up to the elections, adding that, the NDC would expect the other political parties to do same.

"We are not interested in power sharing - we are confident that if the election is organised in a free, fair, transparent and peaceful manner we will win and we expect that when we win, power should be handed over to us peacefully," he said.

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Mr. Afriyie-Ankrah said in the run-up to the elections, it was important that political parties and other stakeholders spoke out on abuses of the system to ensure that the process itself was free and fair, else the desire for a free, fair and peaceful election would be a mirage.

He recalled that when the NDC kicked against the Representation of the People's Amendment Law (ROPAL) and the over-bloated electoral roll, the party's concern was misconstrued as just one of the NDC-NPP dichotomization of national issues.

"History will be our witness. In fact, even the EC is already complaining about the electoral roll being bloated by about two million people in the aftermath of the limited registration exercise," he said. Mr Afriyie-Ankrah said the incidences of underage persons voting could be blamed on both the NDC and the NPP, but the bottom-line was that anyone found culpable, should be brought to book irrespective of their political party.

He also called on the EC to flush out all permanent and temporary staff members who had been found to collude with opposing parties at the polling stations, saying that some of the violence at the polling could be traced to biased EC staff.

"We would also like to appeal to the security agencies (apart from the military) detailed to provide security during the elections, to desist from showing guns at the polling stations; we are not in a war situation and the guns could scare people off," he said. He touched on the recent spate of violence at Gushiegu in the Northern Region, saying that in the incident, seven cars and four houses belonging to NDC members got burnt and four NDC members died. Mr. Afriyie called on the media and all stakeholders to be balanced in their approach to election issues and join hands to foster a workable mechanism to ensure a free, fair, transparent and peaceful election.

Source: GNA
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