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Ghana Opposition Party Celebrates 16 Years In and Out of Power

Ghana’s main opposition National Democratic Congress Party (NDC) will be celebrating 16 years since its formation today, reminding Ghanaians that the party has a great democratic legacy ahead of this year’s general elections. The NDC said it demonstrated its commitment to entrenching democracy in Ghana when it handed over power peacefully to the opposition after losing the 2000 general elections. The party claims that its presidential candidate John Atta-Mills who is Ghana’s former vice president, will win this year’s polls, claiming that the ruling party failed to live up to its promise to alleviate suffering by ordinary Ghanaians. NDC Communications Director Hannah Tetteh tells reporter Peter Clottey that the party is poised to win this year’s elections.

“The NDC is now 16 years as being a political party, and I we don’t think we should make it a one day celebration. We think that for the month of June, we should do a few activities that would depict our commitment to the democratic process that would help Ghanaians to understand what the NDC stands for in an election year, and would help them to make a better choice,” Tetteh noted.

She said the opposition party has a plan to introduce itself to the ordinary Ghanaian.

“On Friday, we are going to be in Kumasi, and we are going to have a town hall meeting at the Prempeh assembly hall with our flag bearer and our running mate and leading members of the party to give the people of Kumasi the opportunity and people within the Ashanti region to interact with us and to see that the NDC is not perhaps the villain that it has been couched out to be, but a social democratic party that thinks about the welfare of Ghanaians and is committed to making a better Ghana,” she said.

Tetteh reiterated that the opposition NDC party is committed to cementing and supporting the growth of Ghana’s democracy.

“We are ready to play by the rules. When we lost an election and we believe that having supervised the election that it was a fair, credible, and transparent election we handed over to the NPP (New Patriotic Party) government. We didn’t do the things that other West African governments and countries and other nations in Africa, especially African leaders, have tried to do, perpetuating themselves in power,” Tetteh pointed out.

She said the founding father of the party proved his embrace for democracy, although he became the head of state of Ghana by the barrel of the gun.

“Jerry Rawlings did not become a Robert Mugabe. He showed that even though he started out as somebody who was the head of a government that was a quasi-military and civilian government, he ended his political career as a head of state as a democrat. And the NDC as a party is committed to the democratic process, and that is the significance of what we handed over when we lost an election,” she noted.

Tetteh said the opposition party is displeased with the level of preparation of the electoral commission ahead of this year’s elections.

“We have some problems with the way the preparations for this elections are going. You see, we’ve had a situation where we’ve had problems with the voters register. The NDC received from the custody of the electoral commission a CD Rom with the voters register, and a printout of the voters register. And there were huge discrepancies between the registered voters in some constituencies in the Ashanti region on the printout as against what was on the CD Rom. Now, that is troubling because the electoral commission is saying that that was just a human error. But remember that it’s that hard to have paper copies that are going to go out to the constituencies and with which we are going to use for the elections. So, how do we know that an error of such nature will not happen again? And what happens if there are even more serious errors that would cause us to doubt the credibility of the electoral process?” Tetteh asked.

She blamed the ruling New Patriotic Party for not adequately funding the electoral commission ahead of this year’s general election.

“We think that the electoral commission has not been adequately resourced to be able to perform its task. We are talking about these issues now because there is time to rectify the situation, so that we can have a peaceful free, free fair and credible election,” she pointed out.

Meanwhile, the NDC claims that when it was in power, it ensured the deepening of the democratic process in Ghana and established key institutions that were essential under the new constitution for the development of democracy, including district assemblies, the National Commission for Civic Education, the Electoral Commission, and the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice.