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Ghana Prepares for Presidential Elections

Ghana is preparing for presidential and parliamentary elections on Tuesday, with state television broadcasting programs aimed at preparing the population for free and fair results. But some opposition newspapers are still engaged in a smear campaign against the current president.

The editor of the opposition newspaper the National Democrat has publicly retracted and apologized for false statements made against current President John Kufuor.

On Wednesday, the paper claimed that President Kufuor refused to acknowledge twin children he fathered during an extra-marital affair. The paper went on to say if the president was given another four years in office he would continue to be responsible for illegitimate children.

The editor Ebenezer Josiah has since retracted the statement along with claims that President Kufuor was using local magic known as Juju. Mr. Josiah issued a statement saying he had been influenced by members associated with the opposition party, the National Democratic Congress.

The National Democratic Congress held a press conference on Friday accusing the Electoral Commission of potential fraud for printing too many ballots for Tuesday's election. The Electoral Commission says ballots were printed in accordance with voters registered from earlier in the year and dismissed allegations of vote rigging.

The Electoral Commission says transparency is key to free and fair elections and it has used local television to prepare Ghanaians for the voting procedure. The television campaign also warns against violence at the 21,000 polling stations throughout the country.

"Never assault or violently confront anybody you suspect of any kind of election affairs. There are constitutionally mandated people to handle any such case and all suspicions should be directed to them," the TV ad instructs.

The Electoral Commission has hired 105,000 temporary employees to assist in the elections. Voters who are not able to make it to their assigned polling stations on Tuesday can cast votes on Saturday but the Electoral Commission says those votes will be sealed until the polls close on Tuesday and counted with the rest of the ballots.