20 December 2012

Ghana: 2012 Election Was 419 Scam

The controversies surrounding the credibility of the just-ended presidential elections conducted by the Electoral Commission are not likely to die any time soon, as other parties have joined voices with the largest opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) to point to gross abnormalities and fraud in the election results.

Yesterday, the National Democratic Party (NDP), led by former first lady Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, described the conduct and outcome of the elections as "419 Election 2012".

At a press conference organised by the party's Chairman, Dr. Josiah Aryeh, he pointed to "serious avoidable flaws" in the conduct of the elections, which cast serious doubts on the credibility of the results.

The opposition New Patriotic Party is currently gathering evidence to contest the election results at the Supreme Court, stating electoral fraud as the basis of its action.

Other political parties such as Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom's Progressive People's Party and the Conventions People's Party have all pointed to gross abnormalities in the electoral results declared by the Electoral Commission (EC).

The NDP said, not only did money and vote buying play out significantly in the elections, but also there were serious incidences of electoral fraud.

"The outcome of our own internal auditing of the election results shows an unhealthy pattern in the coalition of the figures in several constituencies across the country."

The NDP, a break away party made up of disgruntled members of the ruling NDC, alleged that in the run up to the elections, its parliamentary candidates were "pursued and harassed to step down, with the promise of being given huge sums of money and vehicles. Indeed, a number of them fell victim," the party alleged.

This allegation seems to corroborate other suggestions which pointed to the fact that the government's decision to distribute laptops to students on the eve of elections, an exercise which coincidentally ended with the elections, influenced voting patterns.

Again, allegations of mass distribution of Hyundai i10 cars by the government to students on various university campuses, and other incidents where fifty Ghana Cedi notes in branded exercise books were given to first time Senior High School voters, and other freebies which exchanged hands on the eve of the elections, point to a very worrying trend in the country's democracy.

To the leadership of the NDP, "Ghana's democracy is gradually becoming one for monetary influence, and the massive swindling of the conscience of the masses."

"In effect, some governments are impoverishing the people, so that during elections the people are given some pittance for their votes, and this has a negative influence on the direction of our democratic growth," The NDP Chairman opined.

On allegations of electoral fraud by the EC, the party gave some examples where polling station results were massaged.

The party alleged that in a constituency in the Volta Region, their parliamentary candidate had counted the results of all the polling stations except three, and had over a thousand votes. "The electoral officer there delayed the release of the results until they were asked to go home and return the following day, only for him to be told that he had only 211 votes," the party alleged.

In the Ashanti Region, the NDP said its parliamentary candidate, after counting her votes, had over 800 only for the final results to come out as 419.

"Indeed, this result aptly describes the election as the infamous 419 Election 2012," Dr. Aryeh noted.

The party is of the opinion that in order for the nation to continue on a path of real peace, unity and stability, reports of malpractices about the elections must be investigated, and the results used to strengthen the country's democratic credentials.

The party is not considering any court action, but says it would not hesitate to support any action to seek justice in the case which will soon receive hearing at the Supreme Court.

"We support the review of all disputed election results, and wish to remind the Electoral Commission that it is the people of Ghana that cast their vote, and their will should prevail.[the voice of the people is the voice of God]," the party said.

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