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Politics Tue, 30 Sep 2003

Withdraw Procurement Committee - NPP Tells Govt

The General Secretary of the ruling New Patriotic Party, Dan Botwe has urged the government to withdraw its proposal to establish a Procurement Committee to purchase materials for the 2003 voter registration exercise as well as the 2004 general elections. Mr Botwe is advocating for a withdrawal of the bill in view of the controversy it has generated.

“The way the argument is being done, people are being mischievous, so I am making suggestions to government that no matter the noble intentions that they have, they should back out of this agreement”, he told JOY FM in an interview.

The Electoral Commission and other opposition political parties have rejected the setting up of the Commission saying that it amounts to direct control of the Electoral Commission, thus infringing on the country’s constitution and the Act establishing the EC.

Mr Botwe says although government might have good intentions for setting up the Committee, it can be used to discredit the NPP, should it win the 2004 elections. “I’m confident we are going to work very hard to win this election because of the programmes that we are pursuing … For me why would we work so hard to win elections so that in the end people will say that they procured the equipment and so it is no wonder they have won”, he queried.

Mr Botwe says whether the Procurement Commission has legal basis or not does not matter, “government should back down on the proposal”.

NDC Gets Cold Feet Over Looming 2004 Election Defeat

Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra) -- THE GENERAL Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr. Dan Botwe, has repudiated allegations by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) that the government has advanced plans to load the electoral register with ghost names in order to facilitate multiple voting come next year's general election.

According to him the NDC, having realized that they would lose the 2004 elections massively, had now embarked on laying the foundation for excuses to kick against the results.

He said, "The NPP believes in multi-party democracy and it has never occurred in the history of this party that we engaged in rigging elections."

Speaking to The Chronicle in an interview, the NPP scribe said the allegations by the NDC were unfounded and baseless because there was not a single evidence to substantiate them.

He said it would be an act of corrupting the will of the masses if the NPP did that.

According to Mr. Botwe, he suspected that the NDC was making these allegations with reference to its regime where rigging was the order of the day and which at a point in time warranted the NPP to write the Stolen Verdict, adding that the NPP would not do that because it believes in transparency and multi-party democracy.

"It is impossible for the NPP to rig elections because the government is ensuring that elections are conducted in free and fair manner in this country. It is important therefore that all people become very vigilant so that such a thing would never occur."

Mr. Botwe pointed out that the Electoral Commission has come out with a concept of identifying people with photo identity cards to prevent any fraudulent electoral act and that anybody who wants to impersonate would be arrested due to the photo identity cards.

In order to facilitate the plans of the EC, he said the government would support the EC with the required inputs to enhance its effort to ensure free and fair elections.

On the issue of Ghanaian residents in Europe being allowed to vote in the next elections, Mr. Botwe said, it is the EC and not the government that decides. It is therefore wrong for people to assume that the government has the prerogative to allow such people to vote.

He dismissed the accusation that the government was abusing its incumbency, and called on the NDC to clearly define that charge so that the NPP could respond appropriately.

Mr. Botwe said although NDC posed a threat to the NPP considering the number of members it has in Parliament, his party would not do anything to undermine the NDC because the NPP believed in multi-party democracy.

He said while he would not predict the doom of any political party, he would urge them to practise internal democracy.

For any party to grow and be viable, he said, depended on how it would market itself to the electorate.

According to him even though the NPP won the general election and later six by-elections, the party soon went to the drawing board to analyze its mistakes and rectify them to make sure that it remained vibrant, strong and ready to win the next elections.

"Our party is a bit separate from governance; we concentrate on party activities, by organizing seminars for our foot soldiers and others, while Mr. John Agyekum Kufuor concentrates on governance".

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Source: Joy Online
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