Ahead of the February 23, 2019 flag bearer election of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), six out of the seven flag bearer aspirants of the party have raised concerns with the choice of the company to print the ballot papers for the election as well as the voters register, which they claim has come with no photographs.
The six are Mr Alban Bagbin, Mr Nurudeen Iddrisu, Mr Sylvester Mensah, Mr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Mr Augustus ‘Goosie’ Tanoh and Professor Joshua Alabi.
To that effect, the six have written a petition to the National Election Committee, and copied it to the Chairman of the party’s National Council of Elders, former President Jerry John Rawlings; the General Secretary, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, and the National Chairman, Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo.
The petition was received by the acting Director of Elections of the NDC, Mr Bede Ziedeng, at the party headquarters last Saturday.
Among their contention is that the party should award the contract for the printing of the ballot papers to a trustworthy firm such as the Assembly Press to ensure that some of the irregularities that rocked the party’s national executive election in November 2018 did not recur.
“We are also deeply concerned about the apparent decision to award the contract for printing of the ballots to the same company that printed ballots for the November NEC elections. As you are no doubt aware, several contestants and observers of those elections have described significant irregularities with the ballot papers.”
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Those irregularities, they said, “include incorrect rendering of aspirants’ names, mismatching of pictures and names and presence of duplicate ballot papers (i.e. with the same supposedly “unique” serial number).
All of these irregularities have been cited in a discourse that calls the legitimacy of the outcome of some of the NEC elections in question.”
The six aspirants also called on the Election Committee to furnish them with a voters register which contains photographs of the voters.
One of their main complaints was that the “voters register provided to aspirants only consists simply of a list of names without photographs, Voter ID card numbers or even party membership card numbers.”
More so, “there is 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 six stated that they were aware that the party’s re-registration exercise, designed precisely to enable the party to identify its members accurately for purposes such as elections, captured members’ Voter ID card numbers.
They are also aware that the raw data exists at the constituency level where it was used for constituency executive committee (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 out a Primaries Electoral College Roll that includes pictures and Voter ID numbers within a matter of days,” the petitioners claimed.
Ensuring openness and transparency
In ensuring transparency, the petitioners have also requested for a briefing on polling day logistics, transportation and feeding.
They added that “our teams are immediately available to meet with FEC [Functional Election Committee] or the Electoral Committee to discuss these matters and achieve acceptable solutions that prevent further disruption to the proposed election schedule,” the six presidential aspirants added.
Seven aspirants gunning for the flag bearer role of the NDC have been successfully vetted and balloting for the slots on the ballot paper has also been done.
During the balloting last Wednesday, Mr Alban Bagbin picked the first slot followed by businessman, Nurudeen Iddrisu.
Former President John Dramani Mahama picked the third slot on the ballot paper while the fourth slot was picked by Sylvester Mensah, followed by Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Goosie Tanoh and Prof. Joshua Alabi in that order.