By Edmund Mingle
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
The Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, yesterday prescribed what he termed as the only method of achieving successful election in December – commitment of all stakeholders to fair play.
He told the first-ever meeting between the Electoral Commissioners and presidential candidates of the various political parties in Accra, that although the EC was committed to doing its part for credible elections, the success of the general elections would largely depend on the actions and inactions of all stakeholders in the electoral process.
“The success of the elections would depend on the nature of campaign by the presidential candidates; whether they will see each other as aspirants to the highest office of the land and be civil in their language, and whether they will appoint responsible agents who would shun violence or not,” he said.
He was speaking at the meeting attended by all but two of the flag-bearers, Prof. John Evans Atta Mills of the National Democratic Congress and Dr Edward Mahama of the People’s National Congress.
Both were reportedly out of Accra on the campaign trail.
It would also depend on whether the police will act neutral and fair to all parties, whether the government will not abuse incumbency, whether the media will give fair and equal access to all parties, whether people will cast only one ballot, whether people will not be prevented from casting their ballot, and whether the courts will deal with electoral cases in a timely manner.’’
The dialogue with the flag-bearers, a project facilitated by KAB Governance Consult and funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), also aimed at providing authentic information on the right s and responsibilities of candidates and their agents.
It was closed to the media after the opening ceremony, a decision which according to the organisers, was to create a platform for the EC to update the flag-bearers and their parties of preparations towards the elections.
It was also to discuss concerns of the parties regarding developments in the electoral process and iron out differences on issues of alleged bloating of the voters register and the provision of the final register to the parties.
Dr. Afari-Gyan asked all the stakeholders, particularly the political parties, to be alive to their responsibilities, and promised that “we will be transparent in preparations and apply the law uniformly without fear or favour.”
He explained that the meeting was not replacing the Inter-Party Advisory Committee, a platform through which electoral issues are discussed by the EC and the parties.
In attendance were Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, NPP flag-bearer and his running mate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, flag-bearer of the CPP and his running mate, Dr. Abu Sakara, and Ms Petra Amegashie, vice presidential candidate of the PNC.
Others were Thomas Ward-Brew, flag-bearer of the Democratic People’s Party (DPP), Emmanuel Ansah Antwi, flag-bearer of the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), Kwabena Adjei, flag-bearer of the Reformed Patriotic Democrat (RPD) and Amoafo-Yeboah, an Independent candidate.
It had the theme, ‘Safeguarding the integrity of the ballot.’
The NDC was represented by its chairman and General Secretary, Dr Kwabena Adjei and Johnson Asiedu Nketia respectively.