The Electoral Commission (EC) has referred all the electoral and criminal offences identified during the vetting of the nomination forms filed by aspirants for the 2016 presidential election to the Ghana Police Service and the Attorney-General’s Department for further action.
The EC disclosed this to the Daily Graphic in an exclusive interview yesterday.
The Daily Graphic was at the EC head office in Accra to follow up on what actions were being taken following the rejection of the nomination forms of 12 presidential aspirants and whether there were opportunities for those disqualified to correct the errors or anomalies.
The affected aspirants are Mr Hassan Ayariga of the All People’s Congress (APC), Dr Edward Nasigre Mahama of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Nana Agyenim Boateng of the United Front Party (UFP), Mr Kofi Akpaloo of the Independent People’s Party (IPP) and Mr Kwabena Adjei of the Reform Patriotic Democrats (RPD).
Others are Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Dr Henry Herbert Lartey of the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), Mr Richard Nixon Tetteh of the United Development Systems Party (UDSP), Mrs Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings of the National Democratic Party (NDP),
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The rest are Madam Akua Donkor of the Ghana Freedom Party (GFP), Mr Thomas Nuako Ward-Brew of the Democratic People’s Party (DPP) and Mr Alfred Kwame Asiedu Walker, an independent aspirant.
The decision on Mr Akwasi Addai Odike of the United Progressive Party (UPP) is on hold.
Four go through
Four aspirants — Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr John Dramani Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Ivor Kobina Greenstreet of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and Mr Jacob Osei Yeboah, an independent candidate — had their nomination forms accepted by the election management body.
Errors were traumatising
The EC Chairperson, Mrs Charlotte Osei, in the presence of Mr Amadu Sulley, the Deputy Chairman in charge of Operations, insisted that the commission did a thorough job by satisfying itself that the aspirants met the qualifying criteria under the law and were eligible to contest national elections.
“We at the commission are not there to victimise anybody; we are there to strictly implement and lean on the law.
“There is the law and we all have a duty and responsibility to follow the law, particularly if we want to serve the nation at the highest level,” she pointed out.
According to her, the process of nomination, receipt and acceptance of nomination forms was a very critical part of the electoral process and the EC had continually urged prospective candidates to take the process seriously.
“We advised all the aspirants and the political parties to take their declaration seriously and all those aspirants disqualified made mistakes or errors which were very traumatising,” she stated as the Daily Graphic went through the primary data on the aspirants’ nomination forms.
In doing that, the Daily Graphic observed that some of the forms were not properly signed by the subscribing voters; some of them were only ticked, instead of being signed or thumbprinted.
“There were wrong voters identity by the subscribing voters and some had no voter identity cards at all,” Mrs Osei added.
The statutory declaration was also not properly executed, while other errors bordered on criminality and fraud, including falsification of age, names and home towns.
Again, in some instances, it was realised that less than two registered voters per district signed the nomination forms, among other issues.
In the view of the EC boss, all the compliance requirements in the Political Parties Law had a purpose.
“What they did is what happens when you have offices under trees. If you do not have structures on the ground, you will be tempted to make unpardonable errors and forge documents,” she reasoned.
She said what was worrying “is that the political parties and aspirants have had the provisional voters register since the exhibition of the voters register and it could become an easy point of reference if anybody or aspirant was in doubt. That would have enabled anyone to know who was on the register and who was not on it”.
She also said that the booklet, “A Guide to Candidates and their Agents”, was given to the aspirants and the political parties to help them fill the nomination forms without difficulty.
“What has the EC done which is not in consonance with the law?” she asked, and indicated that “it appears some of the aspirants took the nation and the commission for granted and failed to do due diligence in the filling of the forms”.
For his part, Mr Sulley quizzed: “If we do not strictly adhere to the rules of engagement, won’t that be more dangerous? What happens to the aspirants who did due diligence and qualified to become candidates for the 2016 elections? Can we say we have been fair to them when everybody is calling on the EC to be fair to all contesting aspirants or candidates?”
In his view, the public should rather force the EC to strictly apply the laws governing the conduct of political activities in the country.
He also advised political parties and media practitioners to make efforts to understand the Political Parties Law and abide by them.
“You do not play a game without becoming conversant with the rules of that games,” he reasoned.
Mr Sulley said rather than give the EC an ultimatum, some of the disqualified aspirants should go into hiding, adding: “If they behave this way, they will be jeopardising the electoral calender and derail the process.”
Parties seek audience with EC
Meanwhile, throughout yesterday, a number of the affected aspirants sought audience with the EC to chart the way forward.
However, from Daily Graphic sources, though the interactions were cordial and some of the aspirants were apologetic, they yielded no fruitful results.