13 December 2012

Ghana: Probe Alleged Electoral Fraud - IDEG

The Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) and the Civic Forum Initiative (CFI) are calling on the various investigative bodies in the country to undertake full scale investigations into all alleged cases of electoral offences, including fraud and other criminal acts, during and after the 2012 elections.

The two organisations, concerned about the general atmosphere in the country, after last Friday's polls, urged all the political parties and the Electoral Commission to lend a helping hand towards the above directive.

"The Coalition has noted that in all elections, there have been criminal acts and allegations of electoral fraud, whose non-prosecution has perpetuated impunity and injustice.

"It is, therefore, imperative that such allegations be thoroughly investigated at all levels of the electoral process," noted the Chairman of the CFI Steering Committee, Major General N.C. Coleman (Rtd).

Maj. Gen. Coleman (Rtd) made this observation yesterday in Accra, when he addressed journalists on the post-election political situation in the country.

The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has accused the Electoral Commission of allowing some of its officials to manipulate some figures at some polling stations in the December 7 polls to favour the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC).

In their bid to let the world know their position, scores of supporters of the NPP took to the streets in Accra on Tuesday, and attacked innocent people, as well as some journalists covering the event. It took the intervention of a joint police and military team to bring the situation under control.

Leaders of the NPP, in addressing their supporters, called for restraint while they follow the due process of the law to contest the verdict of the polls announced by the Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan.

In the evening of December 9, 2012, Dr. Afari-Gyan declared Mr. John Dramani Mahama of the governing NDC winner of the presidential election. He polled 5,574,761, representing 50.70% of the total valid votes cast, to beat his closest rival, Nana Akufo-Addo of the NPP, who polled 5,248,898, representing 47.74%.

Similar complaints have also been lodged by the Progressive People's Party (PPP). According to the party, figures from the 2012 polls in constituencies such as Assin South, Mpohor and others were manipulated to favour the NDC.

"No matter how small our votes were, in some of the areas like Assin South, Mpohor, Wulensi and a few others, our results were massaged. That, in any way, if indeed even added to what we had, will not come anywhere close to what the NDC and the NPP had," Communications Director of the PPP Richmond Keelson was quoted as saying by citifmonline.com.

The Convention People's Party (CPP) is also making similar claims of loss of votes during the counting at the polling stations. Not enthused about the unstable atmosphere in the country after the elections, especially in Accra, Maj. Gen. Coleman (Rtd) urged the NPP and any other aggrieved entities to demonstrate unqualified commitment to the integrity of the judicial process, and accept the outcome.

"We recognise that using due process to resolve election related disputes is at the heart of democracy. Hence, by going to court, the party is seeking to pursue a legitimate cause of standing up against perceived impunity and injustice in the country," he said.

To that effect, he appealed to the rank and file of all political parties to tolerate each other, and also restrict themselves to the Public Order Act and other laws regulating mass assembly and demonstrations.

"We further urge them to refrain from acts of pronouncements that inflame passion, incite violence and undermine the credibility of state institutions, as well as the peace of the nation and due legal process," noted the Chairman of the CFI Steering Committee.

He further urged the security services to remain alert and discharge their duties professionally and impartially at all times, in order to sustain the confidence the public has reposed in them, as they seek to secure the peace and stability of the nation.

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