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Politics Mon, 4 Aug 2008

NDC cries foul, calls on NPP to respect democratic practices

Koforidua, Aug. 4, GNA- The Eastern Regional Secretariat of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has condemned the interference of the on-going registration exercise in the region by some government officials and the attempt to create artificial shortages of registration materials in areas preserved to be strongholds of the party.

Speaking at a press conference at Koforidua on Monday, the regional chairman of the party, Mr. Julius Debrah alleged that on Friday, the West Akim Municipal Chief Executive, Mr. Kwabena Sintim-Aboagye in the company of the District Police Commander went to Methodist Primary School registration centre at Asuokawkaw in the Upper West Akim Constituency and personally asked people he thought were under-age to leave the queue for registration.

He explained that, Mr. Sintim-Aboagye had no business to take over the work of the Electoral Commission and that if, for anything, the best that the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) could do was to pick a form and file his grievance.

Mr. Debrah also complained of the use of buses to transport people from some constituencies to others to register and cited examples in the Afram Plains and in the West Akyem Municipality where people were being transported from Asamankese in lower West Akim constituency to register at Asukyereme in Upper West Akim constituency and called on the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to respect democratic practices. He complained of a grand design by some District Electoral

Officers in the region in collaboration with some registration officials to starve perceived NDC strongholds of registration materials. He cited an example at the Abuakwa North Constituency where there were abundant registration materials at registration centres in Kukurantumi, while Osiem at the Gyidi area perceived to be an NDC stronghold was constantly short of registration materials. Mr. Debrah said in Akwatia Presbyterian registration centre, the registration officials told the people in the queue to go home because the centre had been told to register a maximum of 50 people a day. He said right in the Koforidua Municipality, registration centres in preserved NDC strongholds like AME Zion School and Anlo Town South registration centres had been experiencing shortages.

Mr Debrah said the regional officials of the party are constantly receiving calls from the party agents on the ground and the party officials monitoring the registration of shortages yet those problems were not being brought to the notice of the Regional Electoral Director. He said, the party had taken up the issue with the Regional Police command and the Electoral Commission and warned that as much as the party would like to pursue the rule of law and abide by all democratic principles, nobody could predict the reaction of the people when they are pushed to the wall.

Mr Debrah observed that, it is not in the interest of any political party or individual to steal the right of the citizens of the country to decide who to rule them by denying them their right to vote by refusing to give them the opportunity to register as a voter. Attempts to reach Mr Sintim-Aboagye on telephone for his comments failed as he received the first call and explained that he was at a meeting but later calls could not go through since the reply indicated that the telephone was either switched off or was out of coverage area.

Source: GNA