The Presidential candidates for the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), National Democratic Party (NDP) and the People’s National Convention (PNC) have declared that the 2016 general elections will not be free and fair.
According to them, there are many indications the elections will not be conducted in a manner that will be fair to the various political parties.
A joint statement issued by the three candidates; Papa Kwesi Nduom, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings and Edward Mahama said they had not been given even opportunities to campaign ahead of the elections.
The statement said the Electoral Commission (EC) used the electoral laws as an oppressive tool against them, forcing them to spend six weeks in court to litigate the injustice.
“The three of us have had a terrible experience of spending close to six weeks in court litigating against the unnecessary attempted disqualification of our candidature as part of a deliberate scheme to frustrate our efforts in this election. This has brought us untold hardships financially, emotionally and taken energy and precious time from our campaigns.”
They accused the EC of deliberately withholding necessary information from them ahead of the elections.
They said the EC is yet to supply them with information on the number of registered voters for the special voting exercise.
According to them, the recent allegation of the EC collaborating with the Police service to introduce new names of security personnel unto the special voting list when the scheduled period had elapsed, confirms the EC’s blatant disregard for the electoral laws.
“The EC has clearly disregarded the relevant portions of CI94 (regulation 23) to have entertained the latest applications from the Police Service. If the rules of the game can be twisted and turned by the referee as and when it pleases, can we then say that the elections will be free and fair when we do not know what illegal steps will be taken in the process leading up to the elections?”
“We believe this is another tool to be deployed in favour of particular candidate if the results do not go in his favour. This attempt to change the results through a purported recounting is a recipe for chaos and civil disobedience”.
The three candidates further described this year’s election as one that has seen clear incidents of the governing National Democratic Congress’ abuse of incumbency.
“This election has witnessed the clearest ever abuse of incumbency on the part of the NDC and the use the State’s security agencies and party thugs to intimidate other opponents.”
“The EC has gone to sleep and allowed the NDC to use state funds to buy votes without questioning them. More so, the state’s security apparatus has been used to harass and intimidate opponents of the ruling government.”
They, therefore called on the various Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), National Peace Council, the CODEO and the international community “to take steps to reverse these disturbing trends so that we can have proper free and fair elections in the future since free and fair elections for 7th December 2016 have escaped us.”
By: Jonas Nyabor/citifmonline.com/Ghana