17 December 2012

Ghana: Electoral Commission, NDC Chase NPP Polling Agents

Kumasi — The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has cautioned its polling agents in the just-ended presidential and parliamentary elections to be wary of alleged attempts by some officials of the Electoral Commission and the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) to coerce them into appending their signatures to new electoral results.

The party has further instructed its agents not to have any personal or telephone interactions with any EC official or individual who attempts to collect their personal details.

The caution comes in the wake of reports that district electoral officers were demanding that polling agents in the recently held elections furnish them with their personal details, including contact numbers.

The National Campaign Manager of the party, Mr. Boakye Agyarko, who confirmed this in a telephone interview with The Chronicle, said the party had received reports that the ruling NDC was allegedly trying to manufacture new figures in the wake of protests by the NPP over bloated figures in some constituencies across the country.

Mr. Agyarko noted that it saw the demand by the EC as strange and unusual, as it had never been done in previous elections.

It is against this backdrop that the opposition party believed there was a heinous agenda by the electoral body, and connivance with the ruling party, to skew the results, in the event that the NPP commences its court action.

The opposition party is preparing to go court to challenge results of the presidential elections which, it alleges, was rigged in favour of the ruling party.

The Campaign Manager said his attention was drawn to the move, when one of its polling agents called him to confirm whether the party top hierarchy was aware of a demand from the EC for all polling agents to give their contact details to their respective district electoral officials.

Upon receiving the call, Mr. Agyarko said he got in touch with the Deputy Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Sarfo Kantanka, for further explanations on the matter.

The NPP Campaign Manager said Mr. Kantanka confirmed to him that the order was a normal one to enable the commission keep details of all members who took part in the exercise.

"Mr. Sarfo Kantanka then pleaded with me that he was going to call me back, he then hanged the phone, and called later to apologise for not telling the party machinery, but however, insisted that there was no heinous agenda behind the demand," Mr. Agyarko.

According to him, the move appears to confirm intelligence reports received by the party that the NDC was going round searching for polling agents of the opposition party to bribe them, so that they would append their signatures to new blue sheets being prepared by the ruling party.

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