Vote transfers: NPP, NDC express varied stance on EC directive to withdraw party agents
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Vote transfers: NPP, NDC express varied stance on EC directive to withdraw party agents

The two major political parties, the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) are at variance with the decision by the Electoral Commission (EC) not to allow agents of political parties to observe the ongoing voter transfer exercise.

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While the governing NPP is in support of the EC’s decision, the opposition NDC has insisted that party agents would go ahead to monitor the exercise across the country.

Ahead of the December 7, 2024 general election, the Electoral Commission began the transfer of votes, application for proxy voting and replacement or lost or damaged voter ID cards on May 30, 2024 and is scheduled to end on June 14, 2024.

Per the Constitutional Instrument (C.I.) governing the elections, the Electoral Commission is not obliged to admit political party agents as observers of transfer of votes, application for proxy voting and replacement or lost or damaged voter ID cards, the EC has said.

However, pursuant to Regulation 22 (8) of CI 127, EC returning officers are required to give copies of the transfer of votes list to political parties and candidates upon request.

Kasoa clashes and EC directive not to admit political party agents

According to the EC, on the grounds of transparency and magnanimity, it decided to allow party agents to observe the process.  

But following a confrontation between party agents at Kasoa in the Awutu Senya East constituency in the Central Region on Sunday, June 2, 2024, the EC has directed its officers not to allow political party agents to observe the ongoing exercise.

The move, according to the EC is to ensure that, sanity prevails during the two weeks exercise so that the exercise can progress smoothly.

Related article: Three persons arrested following clash at Kasoa EC Office

The Kasoa incident led to the stabbing of one person and the arrest of three people by the police.

The EC in a memo signed by Deputy Chairman, Dr Bossman Asare issued the directive to EC officers not to allow party agents to observe the ongoing exercise.

Emergency IPAC meeting

The Kasoa incident also prompted an emergency Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting on Monday morning [June 3].

At the meeting, Graphic Online gathers that the EC insisted on not giving the green light to political parties to monitor the exercise.

The NPP, represented by Peter Mac Manu, a former Chairman of the party said they support the EC's move because after all, it was on the grounds of "magnanimity" that the EC decided to allow party agents to observe the process although the law does not allow political party agents to monitor the exercise.

The NDC’s Director of Elections and IT, Dr Edward Omane Boamah however on his part expressed the stance that the NDC will still go ahead and send agents to monitor the exercise.

They both spoke to the media in separate interviews after the IPAC meeting on Monday.

The EC did not comment after the meeting.

IPAC meeting

The IPAC emergency meeting was attended by representatives of other political parties including the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Progressive People’s Party (PPP), National Democratic Party (NDP) and Ghana Freedom Party (GFP). Also in attendance were representatives of civil society organisations and the country’s donor partners.

Mr Mac Manu and Dr Boamah in their separate interviews with the media said the IPAC meeting ended without any decision on the withdrawal of agents of political parties monitoring the ongoing voter transfer exercise and that the EC would communicate on the matter later, reports Graphic Online's Samuel Duodu and Getrude Ankah Nyavi.

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The EC would make a decision on whether to permit the return of party agents to observe the transfers later, they stated.

They told the media that it was agreed that individuals who registered before 2023 should proceed with the transfer of votes for the 2024 general election while those who just registered in the limited voter registration of 2024 will have their fate regarding transfers determined by the EC.

That has to do with students who registered during the 2024 voter registration exercise in the 25 public universities.

Earlier NDC statement

Following the EC’s directive on Sunday, the NDC in a statement signed and issued by its General Secretary, Fifi Fiavi Kwetey called on all its agents across the country to monitor the ongoing voter transfer exercise.

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“All structures of the party, particularly Regional and Constituency Secretariats, are hereby directed to deploy NDC agents to all district offices of the EC to closely monitor the ongoing voter transfer exercise,” it said.

Dr Boamah in his interview with the media after the IPAC meeting said the party stood by the statement issued by its General Secretary that the NDC would not withdraw its agents from the votes transfer centres.

“The NDC, as our General Secretary has put out, we will not withdraw our agents from the transfer centres,” he stated.

NPP stance

Mr Mac Manu for his part said the NPP would abide by the directive of the EC and have asked all its agents to withdraw from the centres.

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He explained that the decision by the EC to allow party agents at the centres for the transfer of votes exercise was to allow for transparency but due to the chaos witnessed so far the Commission has issued a directive for all parties to withdraw their agents.

“We have already sent word around to the agents to withdraw”, he said.

EC

The Deputy EC Chairman in-charge of Corporate Services, Dr Bossman Asare who chaired the Monday meeting declined to brief the media on the outcome of their deliberations.

The directive by the EC for political parties to withdraw their agents took effect from Monday following reported clashes at some of the district offices as a result of the transfer of votes at the weekend.

The in a memo  directed all Regional Directors of the EC not to allow agents of political parties to observe the transfer of votes exercise with effect from June 3.

Background

While the law does not explicitly address the presence of political party agents at the transfer centres, both the EC and the political parties in an IPAC meeting held last Monday agreed to allow their presence in order to enhance transparency. However, their presence was impeding the progress of the process. This prompted the EC to issue a directive for the parties to withdraw their agents.

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