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Ghana’s Main Opposition Party Speaks Out on Voter Registration Exercise


Ghana's main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) party is expressing its discomfort with what it describes as unfortunate activities in the voter registration exercise being conducted ahead of this year's general elections. The NDC says it is concerned about disturbances and intimidation tactics reportedly being employed by some other political parties, which the party claims would undermine the credibility of the vote. Some political analysts are expressing outrage at the lack of logistics at the disposal of electoral officials in some areas of the registration exercise. But the electoral commission dismisses the accusations as baseless, saying the voter registration exercise is going as well as planned.

Haruna Iddrisu is the NDC minority spokesman on communication. From Ghana's capital, Accra he tells reporter Peter Clottey that his party is concerned about the electoral commission's inaction in dealing with problems associated with the exercise.

"We are not just only unhappy, but very concerned about the implications of some of the happenings in the voter registration exercise as against the credibility of the elections of 2008. We are afraid that we may not have a clean register for the purpose of the crucial 2008 elections. As I'm speaking to you, a member of parliament for Asunafo, Honorable Eric Opoku, has been put under house arrest by New Patriotic Party thugs and has not been allowed to move freely in the eyes of the security and police agency who are doing nothing about it," Iddrisu noted.

He said the opposition party is not pleased with some of the activities employed by the ruling New Patriotic Party in the registration exercise this year.

"In Agwira Sekyere Dumasi, the New Patriotic Party is bussing people who are neither resident nor hailing from that area to go and register for the purpose of turning the outcome of the elections there, which are currently being held by the NDC," he said.

Iddrisu said the opposition party is compiling its grievances for redress to the electoral commission.

"We have registered our protest minute by minute. And there are daily reports to district electoral officers, reports to regional electoral officers, and reports to national officers of the electoral commission. The ruling government is desperate and determined to perpetuate fraud on the people of Ghana using the register as a starting point," Iddrisu noted.

He said the illegal activities being employed by some of the parties would undermine the credibility of the elections.

"I believe that the acceptability of the electoral register is in serious doubt. Many other persons are being denied opportunity and are being disenfranchised because the electoral commission failed to provide adequate workstations for the purpose of these elections. It is covering five thousand areas, but many of the electorates are confused and don't even know where to register. And if they register they are asking where they would vote on the day of the elections," he said.

Iddrisu said a body comprising all political parties to address concerns of the upcoming elections has not lived up to its billing.

"Many of the IPAC (Inter-Party Advisory Committee) decision are not properly being enforced. I gave you an example in Tamale where IPAC met and took a decision for a joint team of the political parties and the electoral commission officials to go round the polling stations, but the New Patriotic regional chairman led thugs to chase the member of parliament of Tamale Central away from a polling station when he was going round to acquaint himself with what was happening at the polling station at Zogbele. There are civilians who are New Patriotic Party supporters who are moving on freely, armed to the teeth, and the security agencies including the police just looked on. Another incident happened in Tamale where they attacked the polling station and the police stood there helpless," Iddrisu pointed out.

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