Political parties in the country have expressed their satisfaction with decisions reached at an Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting towards the successful outcome of the December 7 2008 elections.
They have, however, asked the EC to sensitise its electoral officials and agents to decisions reached, as its success will depend on the implementation of the decisions at the polling stations, district and regional electoral offices.
The meeting, held to clear up concerns of the parties with the EC and its processes in the run up to the election, resulted in some solutions to ensure that the December 7, 2008 Elections passed off freely, fairly and creditably.
Political parties at the meeting pledged to ensure that no minors or foreigners came anywhere near polling stations on the Election Day. The EC and the political parties also agreed to place their seals on ballot boxes to ensure the credibility in the process.
The Deputy Chairman of the EC, Mr Sarfo Katanka, announced the decisions reached at a joint press conference with representatives of the political parties in Accra.
The General Secretary of the Reformed Patriotic Democrats (RPD), Mr Francis Kyei, was satisfied that so far all concerns raised by the party had been attended to.
He said the only challenge now was how to implement the decisions reached at the various polling stations through well informed and trained polling officers and agents of the EC.
Mr Kyei, who is also the RPD parliamentary candidate for Asante Akim North, said regional and district officers of the EC, as well as returning officers, and all other agents of the EC needed to be apprised of the information to ensure that the right things were done on that day.
A leading member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Squadron Leader Clend Sowu (rtd), for his part said there could not be total satisfaction with the process because the registration exercise was not done early, and therefore there were concerns which had been raised,just as in the case of the training of polling agents by the EC and the political parties.
He said although he had a CD of registered voters it was not certain that the EC would give the parties the hard copy of the register with pictures. He said to minimise the lapses, he was proposing an operation “observe, report and communicate (ORC)”, for the party’s agents, supporters and all Ghanaians.
If people observed and communicated to party leaders on the number of people registered at a polling station, the number of people who actually voted and the number of ballots in the ballot box, it would be easier to reach the right conclusions on all activities at polling stations.
The flag bearer of the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), Mr Thomas Nuako Ward-Brew, said the delays in the programmes of the EC in an election year posed challenges.
He said in future elections, the required period for electoral processes had to be strictly adhered to to avoid the rush.
Nana Ohene-Ntow, General Secretary of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), said the parties were of the belief that the EC had discharged its legal mandate satisfactorily so far.
He said the IPAC and the commission had agreed on a number of areas that needed to be ironed out, and added that so far everything was on course.
Nana Ohene-Ntow said the EC had for instance given the assurance that electoral materials would be dispatched to the regions for the electorate to cast their ballot on time.
“We are only hoping that there are no shortages and also every polling station will have their share of the materials on time”, he added.
Nana Ohene-Ntow said it was the wish of the party that the security agencies would also play their role professionally as ever to ensure a successful poll.
Over all, he said the EC had met the party’s expectations, and expressed the hope that all would be well.
DAILY GRAPHIC, WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2008, PG 23