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Regional News Tue, 17 Feb 2004

Party activists, media trained on new voters register

Takoradi, Feb. 17, GNA - Miss Lucy Blay, Western Regional President of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) has said that dishonesty on the part of some Ghanaians was the major reason for the dissipation of million of cedis for the replacement of the voters' register.

She said the country did not need "ghost voters and impostors", during general elections.

Ms. Blay said these in Takoradi on Monday at the opening of a day's training for representatives of political parties and the media on the replacement of the voters' register.

The Electoral Commission (EC) organized the training with sponsorship from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the KAB Governance Consult.

She said, "The country can spend billions of cedis on the provision of infrastructure nationwide, but this can not achieve the desired impact unless the people are prepared to change their attitude for the better."

Ms. Blay urged all stakeholders to make honesty their watchword and change their negative attitudes, to enhance the rapid development of the economy.

Mr. John Reginald Amihere, Acting Western Regional Director of the EC said the exercise, which would take place between March 16 and 29 this year, was meant to provide the country with a new picture-embossed voters register.

He said all registered voters would be expected to use the new photo voter identification cards for the December 2004 general elections.

Mr. Amihere said it was the expectation of the EC that the new register would be genuine, respected, and accepted by the various political parties and Ghanaians as a whole.

He, however, appealed to the various political parties, to appoint knowledgeable agents to serve at the polling centres.

Mr. Amihere said such people could assist the EC and its partners in organizing, free and fair elections and ensure harmony at the various polling stations.

The Most Reverend John Martin Darko, Catholic Bishop of the Sekondi-Takoradi Diocese who chaired the function, appealed to political parties not to use inflammatory words during their campaigns.

"Such language, could result in conflicts and disruption of the peace and stability in the country," he added.

Rev. Darko urged leadership of the parties, to be honest and educate their members, to be disciplined and responsible.

"It would be a curse to put your personal or political interests ahead of national interest," he added.

Rev. Darko called on the EC to speak out against the destruction or defacing of party posters, T-shirts, billboards and other paraphernalia.

Source: GNA