Ghana: Complaints by three parties on elections reported in Ghana

Accra, Ghana (PANA) – A complaint by three parties against the Electoral Commission (EC) claiming that the 7 December presidential and parliamentary elections will not be free and fair and a stern warning to media houses not to foment trouble during the polls were some of the stories played up by the media this week.

“3 Parties cry foul; Claim elections may not be free, fair,” was the headline of the state-owned Graphic newspaper about the complaint by the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), the People’s National Convention (PNC) and National Democratic Party (NPP).

Their presidential candidates, Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom of the PPP, Dr Edward Mahama of the PNC and Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings of the NDP, were initially disqualified for errors in their nomination papers but were reinstated following orders from the Supreme Court for them to be allowed to correct them.

The Graphic quoted a joint statement as saying they had a “terrible experience” of spending close to six weeks in court, litigating against the “unnecessary attempted disqualification” of their candidature “as part of a deliberate scheme to frustrate their efforts” to contest the polls.

They said that the situation had brought about untold hardships, financially and emotionally, and taken energy and precious time from their campaigns.

It accused the EC of deciding to utilise the regulations guiding the conduct of the elections as “an oppressive tool” to punish and deny them equal opportunity to campaign during the critical times of the campaign season.

The pro-opposition Daily Guide had the headline “EC rigging elections for NDC… Says Gang of 3,” with the story saying three of the seven presidential candidates contesting in the elections had expressed fear about possible rigging.

The newspaper quoted their statement as saying there were many indications the elections would not be conducted in a manner that would be fair to the various political parties.

“NMC, NCA warn media against irresponsible reportage,” was the headline of the Graphic about the warning of the National Media Commission (NDC) and National Communications Authority (NCA), that they would sanction any media house that used its medium to foment trouble in the run-up to the polls.

The sanctions would include warning and withdrawal of licences and frequencies.

In a joint statement, the two media regulatory bodies said their decision was not to stifle the media or prevent free expression but rather to ensure responsible reportage and prevent the media from creating tension and disturbing the peace in the country.

The chairman of the NMC Nana Kwesi Gyan-Appenteng said the NMC and NCA would make every effort to encourage professional practice in the media.

"The two institutions would not hesitate to take all appropriate measures within the law against any media house that does not comply with their statutes, especially with regard to (their) broadcasting organisation."

Meanwhile, the Chief of Defence Staff warned on Friday that tough action would be taken against people planning to cause mayhem in the election.

Air Vice Marshall Michael Samson Oje said the military would team up with the police and other security services to crack down on any form of disturbance.

He said the military were ready and prepared to “deal ruthlessly with anyone who causes any kind of trouble during the election period”.

“I wish to especially appeal to our energetic youth not to allow themselves to be deceived and be used for any violent act. Any unlawful act would be met with the force it deserves and the laws of the land would be applied appropriately to deal with any individual or group,” he warned.  
-0- PANA MA 26Nov2016

26 november 2016 05:19:27

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