Confusion has begun rocking the upcoming flagbearer-hopefuls election by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) ahead of February 23, 2019, date slated.
Six of the aspirants have raised concerns about several electoral irregularities they identified that could mar the elections.
The six aspirants; Alban S.K. Bagbin, Nurudeen Ali, Sylvester Mensah, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Goosie Tanoh and Joshua Alabi have raised issues in a petition addressed to the party’s National Election Commission and copied to the Chairman of NDC’s National Council of Elders, Jerry John Rawlings, NDC General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia and party Chairman, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo.
They stated incorrect rendering of aspirants’ names, mismatch of pictures and names and presence of duplicate ballot papers.
The irregularities that have been cited, according to them, would call the legitimacy of the outcome of some of the NEC elections into question.
The six aspirants also cited considerable inconsistencies in the formatting, in that the approach could create opportunities for voter impersonation and unnecessary confusion on Polling Day.
According to them, they made considerable progress towards “free and fair” Guidelines for the Presidential primaries to the point that they agreed to proceed with vetting and balloting while they await the text of the new Guidelines.
But, they averred that the Voters’ register provided to aspirants consisted simply of a list of names without photographs, Voter ID card numbers or even party membership card numbers whilst there was also considerable inconsistency in the formatting.
“Our concern obviously is that this approach creates opportunities for voter impersonation and unnecessary confusion on Polling Day. The use of a voters’ roll with pictures has been standard electoral practice in Ghana since 2000 – enabling polling officers to verify prospective voters’ identities at the Polling station and substantially reduce the risk of impersonation. We know that the Party would not agree to participate in a national election using a voters’ roll that does not provide pictures or ID numbers. It is our view that the provision of an EC standard Roll falls squarely within the requirements for “free and fair” as provided for in the Judicial Settlement agreed last Thursday in Ali v NDC,” they stated.
They also averred that the Party’s re-registration exercise -designed precisely to enable the Party identify its members accurately for purposes such as elections- captured members’ Voter ID card numbers, adding that “We know that the raw data exists at constituency level (where it was used for CEC elections). It should not be too difficult to update the Voters’ Roll and provide Voter ID card numbers. We have checked informally with the EC and can confirm that if the Party provides this information the EC can print off a Primaries Electoral College Roll that includes pictures and Voter ID numbers within a matter of days.”
The six aspirants also raised certain issues that came out from their meeting held last Sunday.
According to them, the EC has accredited a number of printing houses for this kind of work including, Assembly Press, which is a state-owned facility but they would prefer to work with one of these printing houses, because “this is also in line with the commitment made that after the balloting for positions on the Ballot Sheet the process would be managed by the EC.
We would also like a briefing on polling day logistics and especially transportation and feeding with your committee at your earliest and hopefully within the next week.”