The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), has rejected suggestions by six of its presidential aspirants to award the contract for the printing of ballot papers for the upcoming presidential primary, to a state-owned printing house.
According to the six aspirants namely: Alban SK Bagbin, Nurudeen Ali, Sylvester Mensah, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Goosie Tanoh and Joshua Alabi, the party should award the contract for the printing of the ballot papers to a trustworthy firm such as the Assembly Press, to ensure that some of the irregularities that rocked the party’s national executive election held in November 2018 do not recur.
Subsequently, the aspirants petitioned the party leaders on Saturday, claiming that the voters’ register to be used for the polls also came without photographs.
However, in an interview with Citi News, one of the party’s Deputy General Secretary, Peter Otukunor, said such a move would be very risky as the said printing house is headed by a staunch member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP.
“This issue is a very interesting one. Even to suggest that we get a printing press headed by David Asante, an NPP man and a leader of the Let My Vote Count Alliance to print our ballots for us is most unfortunate. What if he decides to mess us up, then we are in big trouble.”
“Procurement and the management of the party administration cannot be put in the hands of the flagbearer aspirants. The party has not communicated any printer to them. So it is rather unfortunate for them to raise these concerns when the process itself has not started” he added.
About the petition
The petition was addressed to the party’s National Election Committee and copied to the Chairman of NDC’s National Council of Elders, Jerry John Rawlings, NDC General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, and party Chairman, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo.
The six aspirants also called on the Election Committee to furnish them with a voter’s register which contains photographs of the voters.
According to Citi News sources, the petition was presented to Bede Ziedeng, who’s part of the Elections committee on Saturday, at the party’s headquarters.
They complained in their petition that the “voters’ register provided to aspirants only consists simply of a list of names without photographs, Voter ID card numbers or even Party membership card numbers.”
“There is also considerable inconsistency in the formatting. Our concern obviously is that this approach creates opportunities for voter impersonation and unnecessary confusion on Polling Day,” they added.
They also requested for a briefing on polling day logistics, transportation and feeding.
Reacting to concerns about the lack of photographs and ID card numbers on the voters’ register, Peter Otukunor said that too would not change because the candidates have properly been briefed over the issue.
“We have discussed the issue of the register extensively with the candidates. Even the Electoral Commission will not give you a register with the pictures of the voters so what we have given to them is well cross-checked. We agreed that for all those who are on the register, they will not be allowed to vote if they don’t provide any form of identification.”
NDC presidential primaries
Seven stalwarts of the NDC are currently seeking to be its flagbearer in the 2020 poll as the party has scheduled to hold an election for them on February 23, 2019.
All the seven have duly been vetted and balloting for the slots on the ballot paper have also been done.
Former President John Dramani Mahama picked the third slot on the ballot paper in the National Democratic Congress’ upcoming presidential primary.
During the balloting for slots on Wednesday, the Member of Parliament for Nadowli-Kaleo, Alban Bagbin, picked the first slot followed by businessman, Nurudeen Iddrisu.
The fourth slot was picked by Sylvester Mensah, followed by Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Goosie Tanoh and Prof. Joshua Alabi in that order.
The NDC’s acting Director of Elections, Bede-Zieding, told the media that printing of ballot papers will take place from 3rd to 17th February 2019, after which they would be forwarded to all their constituency centres where the election will be held.
But for an injunction on the NDC’s presidential election, the party would have conducted the exercise before the end of January 2019.
The NDC eventually agreed to declare its guidelines for the presidential primaries null and void after contentions over transparency and the filing fees which was reduced along the line.
Besides agreeing to hold the elections in a free fair and transparent manner, the party also agreed to consider the GHC300,000 not as filing fees only, but also as a contribution by the towards the cost of the primaries.