The New Patriotic Party (NPP), says that the Electoral Commission’s (EC) intention to introduce electronic transmission of results in the impending general election is a radical departure from what was agreed on by the various political parties and stakeholders.
Addressing a news conference in Accra yesterday to respond to issues raised by the National Democratic Congress, against the NPP, on Wednesday, the Acting General Secretary of the NPP, John Boadu, said the Electoral Reforms Committee recommended that “hand-held scanners should be used to scan constituency collation forms that contain the polling station results and sent electronically and directly to the National Collation Centre,” and subsequently “the hard copies would be sent physically to the head office of the EC”.
The NDC accused the NPP of its hypocritical stance on issues including the decision to move the date of election to November 7 and deletion of NHIS card holders from the voters’ register.
According to Mr Boadu in the EC’s request of Expression of Interest for procurement of electronic transmission device published in the dailies stated that the exercise was for “direct capture of polling stations results at about 29,000 polling stations, supply, installation and support appropriate ICT products and logistics for direct capture of polling station election results at about 29,000 polling stations.”
“What the EC plans now, electronic transmission of the results from the polling stations, is radically different from what was proposed by the Electoral Reforms Committee and agreed upon with the political parties and other stakeholders and the EC,” he said.
Mr Boadu said the EC had on its own decided to extend electronic transmission to all the 29,000 polling stations without consulting the Inter Party Advisory Committee, saying it will be difficult for elections results to be transmitted from polling stations to constituency collation centres due to poor internet and communication network.
“We believe that what needs to be done is for all interested parties, especially the EC, to stick to collective decisions and implement them in the manner agreed upon. And if it becomes necessary for modifications to be made, the EC must be honest, professional and transparent enough to inform stakeholders. This is what transparency, fairness and inclusivity are all about as far as the electoral process is concerned,” he said.
In view of the experiences of the 2012 general elections, where the STL company admitted was contracted to electronically transmit results as backup, but the EC denied ever contracting STL only to be for the Minister of Interior, Prosper Bani to admit over three years, Mr Boadu said “we cannot afford revisiting mistrust in 2016″.
The Acting General Secretary said the NPP finds it disingenuous the deliberately distorted claims by the National Democratic Congress NDC) the efforts of the NPP to ensure free and fair contest in the impending election were rather “to sabotage the electoral process.
“We in this regard find it laughable the call on us by the NDC to let our “Yes be yes” and “No be no” as far as decisions taken in respect of the electoral process are concerned,” he said.
Mr. Boadu said the NPP would work to ensure that the nation goes through a transparent and fair electoral process that delivers credible elections whose outcomes would be acceptable by all interested parties
On the extension for re-registration of NHIS registrants, he said the NPP was happy about the EC’s positive response for the calls and petitions for the extension for the period of re-registration.
He entreated all affected eligible Ghanaians who were affected but could not re-register in the just-ended exercise to take advantage of the extension to register so that they could exercise their franchise in the upcoming elections.
Touching on the decision of Parliament to maintain December 7 for the general elections, he said NPP found it extremely disingenuous for the NDC, led by its General Secretary, Mr Asiedu-Nketia, to suggest that the prudent decision taken by Parliament constitute a sabotage of a collective decision by the NPP minority.
He said the decision to maintain the December 7 for the general elections had created the room for individuals who had attained 18 years to register and participate in the decision of choosing the president to lead the country.
By Kingsley Asare