11 December 2012

Ghana: NPP Blames EC for Woes

Photo: Daniel Finnan/RFI
Argument at a polling station.

Kumasi — The Electoral Commission has been at the receiving end, as the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has blamed it for the party's defeat at last Friday's general elections.

The NPP has cited frustration of voters, inefficient verification machines, and manipulations of figures by EC officials at collating centres to explain the party's electoral woes.

Mr. Frederick Fredua Antoh, NPP Ashanti Regional Chairman, told The Chronicle in a post-election interview, that the EC did a lazy job thus preventing over 500 registered voters from voting.

He said the queues at some polling centres were exceptionally long, and that many voters felt frustrated and left in the face of the inefficiency of the verification machines, which slowed down the process completely.

He cited the Ash Town Methodist polling station, Tafo Assemblies of God polling station and Duase, where the late arrival of voting material, which arrived there after 10:00 a.m., resulting in the massing up of voters into the night.

According to Mr. Antoh, there were less than 400 voters at the K.O. Methodist polling station, while an adjoining polling station had over a thousand voters held up in a queue.

The NPP Chairman also cited an instance where the EC oversaw the miscalculation of figures at collation centres without restraint.

Mr. Antoh indicated from reports that instead of 96 votes, 996 was entered for candidate John Mahama at the New Tafo Baptist JHS polling centre F150506A of the CPC/Odumase electoral area, while 786 was recorded for Nana Akufo-Addo, an indication that 900 votes were added to John Mahama's votes.

It had also emerged that at the Nana Buabasa area polling centre F150306B at the Manhyia electoral area, 8,000 votes were entered for John Mahama instead of 7,353 certified by the EC, while Nana Addo's figure of 450 was manipulated by the EC to read 405.

Chairman Antoh also referred to the Asokwa constituency, where a submitted declaration form to the EC indicated that Nana Akufo Addo polled 52,960 against 14,673 by John Mahama. He said Mr. Manu, the Electoral Officer, realised too late after cross checking the following day that Nana Akufo-Addo's figure was short of 617 votes, and that the correct figure should have read 53,577.

The said Mr. Manu has reportedly admitted making a mistake in that regard, for which Mr. Antoh has blamed the EC, since the onus lies on the EC to correct genuine mistakes, instead of rushing to declare results.

The NPP Regional Chairman did not understand why Dr. Afari Gyan was in haste to declare the winner without addressing concerns raised by the NPP. He said if the EC had done the ideal thing by addressing complaints, corrections should have been effected, and ensured the credibility of the results.

Mr. Antoh suggested that in future the EC should instruct their staff to check and confirm details of results submitted the next day, before final entries are done, to ensure accuracy.

The NPP Chairman said he was awaiting reports from the remaining 45 constituencies in the region to establish other concerns for the necessary action to be taken.

The Member of Parliament for Kwabre East, Mr. Kofi Frimpong, observed that there was a lot of manipulation by the EC.

He said, but for the vigilance of the NPP polling agent, Nana Akufo-Addo would have lost 9,000 votes at the constituency. According to him, after calculations at the collation centre, it was realised that Nana Akufo-Addo's votes, which should have read 64,056, was entered as 55,056.

The MP said it was realised that instead of logging 10,000 votes for Nana Addo, 1,000 votes was entered, which mistake, he said, was quickly corrected by Mr. Kyei, the District Electoral Officer, upon promptings.

Frimpong suspected the National Service personnel engaged by the EC to handle the collation had been influenced and tutored to work in favour of the NDC.

Mr. Patrick Adu-Gyamfi, NPP Constituency Chairman for Bekwai, in blaming the EC, noted that the verification machine had denied voters from exercising their franchise, and that the operations of the EC were just not too good.

He did not understand why the EC, which fed the machines with the data and particulars of a voter, should turn round and reject a voter who had duly been captured in the voters' register compiled by the commission.

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