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Ghana’s Opposition Party Calls for Vigilance Ahead of Elections

The political crisis in Kenya is reportedly having a ripple effect in Ghana, ahead of this year’s general elections. The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Party held a news conference Wednesday calling on President John Kufuor’s government to ensure that the December elections are free, fair and credible so as to avert similar problems that are threatening Kenya’s young democracy. The NDC said it would object to what it described as any fraudulent manipulation of elections results and would also adopt all legitimate means to seek redress to any political misconduct.

The party’s presidential candidate John Atta-Mills who is also Ghana’s former vice president told reporter Peter Clottey from the capital, Accra that Ghana’s democracy should be protected at all cost.

“We as National Democratic Congress decided that it is important for us, especially, since Ghana is going to have elections December this year to comment on what is happening in Kenya. If you look at the evidence available, it suggests clearly that all is not well. Not even their electoral commissioner, that is Kenya’s electoral commissioner can say for sure that President Kibaki won. And if you look at other evidence, it really shows that the results are questionable,” Atta-Mills noted.

He reiterated the need for Ghana’s stability to be protected.

“We felt there is the need to draw attention to this because you find that electoral crisis are sometimes the causes of violent conflict especially, on our continent. And there is the need for us to protect our democracy and give effect to the just wishes of the ordinary people,” he said.

Atta-Mills said electoral malpractices across Africa have sometimes resulted in violent clashes and threatened the stability of many countries.

“Our problem in Africa and perhaps not only in Africa is that we don’t learn from the experiences of others. Who would have said three months ago that something like this will happen in Kenya? We have problems in Togo, Nigeria, etc. So I believe that we have to guard against these things. In Ghana, in 2004 we expressed deep reservations over the election results. In fact I believe that it is on record that it was not the electoral commission, which even declared the results, a minister of the incumbent NPP (New Patriotic Party) government declared the results. We are still in court asking that the details of the results be given to us. Up to now, nothing has been done and we decided to avert disaster by preaching calm and all that. But I believe that there is a limit to people’s tolerance and we should make sure we nip these things in the bud,” Atta-Mills pointed out.

He urged vigilance ahead of Ghana’s December elections.

“I believe that in the first place that is why we have international observers. We should all put countries, which are going to have elections on the radar and take interest in what is happening. Where it is clear that the elections have been rigged there is no reason to call for compromise, there should be no recognition. Where there has to be a re-run, let there be a re-run, but we must all show abhorrence of malpractices of this nature. When we do this, government would think twice about manipulating the system to their own advantage,” he said.

Atta-Mills said all players in this year’s elections should uphold the rules that govern the voting process.

“I believe that we have suffered for too long, and it is high time that we respected the views of the rules of the electoral process. And the only way to do this is by drawing attention to it and then letting people know that nobody is going to tolerate a situation like this,” Atta-Mills said.

He also declared his support for Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga’s call for an election re-run.