General News of Fri, 27 Oct 201712
No food for NDC polling agents - Botchwey Report reveals
It has emerged that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) starved its members who served as polling agents on election day – December 7, 2016. They were not provided with food.
The 13-member Prof Kwesi Botchwey Committee report that investigated causes of the NDC’s massive defeat in the 2016 general elections reveals that some of the desperate agents had to rely on the then opposition party agents for food, even though huge amounts of money were voted for that purpose.
The money ended up in the pockets of party officials whom the Botchwey Committee said should be probed in order to recover it.
“There were reports of the party’s polling agents not being fed on election day,” the 65-page Executive Summary of the report states on Page 32.
The report recounts how some of the party’s agents were fed very late on the crucial election day and others looking elsewhere to find their own food, making policing of the ballot difficult.
“In Upper West, for instance, it was reported to the committee that some of the polling agents were not fed up to 4pm on the day and had to rely on the food that was supplied to NPP polling agents,” the report says.
According to the report, “Some of these claims were made to the committee with extreme anger and emotions.”
The report says that the NDC did not plan as far as distribution of logistics on election day was concerned.
“The committee found that the mobilization and distribution of logistics was unplanned and uncoordinated and left much room for suspicion and manipulation,” according to the report.
Even though the NDC was swimming in an uncharted wealth, the report claims, “There were widespread complaints about a general lack of logistics across the country to cater for the 2016 election.”
According to the report, the committee heard how money meant for monitoring the process on the election day arrived very late in many places.
“Money meant for the monitoring of the elections arrived on the eve of the elections and in some cases arrived on the day of the elections,” the report posits.
It continues, “For instance, in the Upper East and Upper West, their Election Directors had to travel to the Northern Region to receive their regions’ money meant for the monitoring of the elections on the day of the election. In the Upper West Region in particular, constituents complained that as a result of the late arrival of the money for monitoring, the region was unable to monitor the elections in the region and could therefore not guarantee if the results that were published for the region represented an accurate account of what transpired on election day.”
Security of Voters
According to the report, the NDC could not take intelligence report on how the state security was performing in the protection of voters on election day, saying, “in Walewale in the Northern Region for instance, the committee was informed of how the state security neglected the policing of some polling stations that were especially located in the hinterlands leading to the firing of warning shots at those polling stations to intimidate voters.
“This unfortunate development led to poor monitoring and supervision of the elections in some parts of the region.”
The NDC, according to the report, did not have its own vehicles to transport its electoral materials to the regions and the constituencies prior to the election day and had to rely on public transport to ferry the materials.
“This, in the committee’s view, could not have been a conducive measure to secure the party’s participation in the electoral process,” the report indicates.
It said the NDC’s own seals it imported ahead of the election to secure the ballots on “are still in the warehouse.”