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Saturday, August 22, 2009

NPP demands measures to prevent election violence

Mr. Peter Mac Manu, NPP chairman
Mr. Peter Mac Manu, NPP chairman
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) on Thursday called for urgent actions to prevent the recurrence of the violence that characterized the Akwatia Parliamentary re-run polls.

The party accused the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) of instigating the Jihad call by Mr. Baba Jamal, the NDC Candidate and Deputy Eastern Regional Minister.

At a press conference in Accra to review what transpired at Akwatia during the re-run, Mr. Peter Mac Manu, National Chairman of the NPP, said the NDC violated an Inter-Party Advisory Committee accord, which disallowed holding of separate rallies by different political parties at the same venue.

He said this, however, happened on Sunday; August 16, when the NPP held a rally in addition to an earlier one on Thursday August 13, claiming that this sparked the violence amongst supporters.

Mr. Mac Manu said to ensure transparency and neutrality of the security personnel during the 2008 Elections, headship of the Regional and District Security Councils were ceded from Regional Ministers and District Chief Executives to Regional and District Police Commanders, but this was not the case during the re-run, a situation which, he claimed, allowed Mr. Jamal to manipulate the security personnel.

He questioned why the NDC when in opposition insisted on that arrangement but would not let it prevail in the Akwatia re-run.

Mr. Mac Manu added that on Sunday, the re-run also witnessed several cases of impersonation, which he described as a conspiracy to comb the voters’ register and identify names of persons deemed to be NPP supporters.

He called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to invite Mr. Jamal and question him for declaring Jihad, which contributed to the violence at Akwatia.

Mr. Mac Manu also called on the IGP to initiate processes to unconditionally release NPP Akwatia Constituency Organizer, Youth Organizer and two other strong members who were arrested on Thursday morning saying those arrests were politically motivated and could only heighten tension in the area.

He said the norm that security personnel on duty during elections had their names and ranks embossed on their attires should be respected and enforced to allow for easy identification.

Mr. Mac Manu also urged the Electoral Commission to commence work on the introduction of biometric voter registration to be used in 2012 elections to reduce and curtail voter impersonation and fraud.

The Akwatia re-run which took place last Tuesday, August 18, became necessary following the snatching of ballot boxes at six poling stations during the December 7, 2008 elections, which left the constituency without a Member of Parliament.

Results of the re-run were added to earlier results obtained on December 7, which saw Dr. Kofi Asare of the NPP winning with 17,900 votes as against 15,860 obtained by Mr. Baba Jamal.

Source: GNA

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