The fate of the 17 presidential aspirants who submitted their nomination forms before the October 9, 2020 deadline will be known this week.
The Electoral Commission (EC) set up two committees; the IT and Technical, to scrutinise the nomination forms of all the aspirants.
The Chairperson of the EC, Mrs Jean Mensa, had announced last week that the report would be made available to the Commission by Monday, October 12, 2020, adding that the Commission would then look at it and make the outcome public this week.
Information gathered at the corridors of the EC said balloting will also be conducted on time for the placement for the candidates photograph and mark on the ballot paper.
There were exciting scenes at the EC last week as some party officials accompanied their aspirants to submit their forms. While some took advantage of the occasion to drop jokes, the serious ones used the platform to make a strong case why they would win the election.
Remarks from aspirants
Presidential aspirants who filed their nomination to contest for the December elections commended the EC for putting in place the process to ensure free, fair and transparent general elections.
They said the Commission had been open and receptive to their concerns, despite the fact that they had come up against challenges in the filling of their nomination forms.
Madam Akua Donkor, aspirant of Ghana Freedom Party, praised the Election Management Body, for restoring the right logo of the Commission, which was in line with all state institutions.
“This is the right logo for the Commission. It is the same being used by institutions of all state institutions and I did not understand why it was changed. The Police, Military, Ministries, Judiciary, Embassies, among others, are using the same logo; why must the past EC administration change it,” she queried.
The General Secretary of the NDP, Alhaji Mohammed Frimpong, indicated that petty administrative lapses in the electoral process should not be over-dramatised.
Speaking after the submission of the presidential nomination forms of the flag bearer, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, the General Secretary said the EC should be allowed to work.
“For the first time, the Commission took the trouble to give us the checklist and it falls within our understanding that disagreements within our institutions should not be overdramatized as if Armageddon is going to fall on us,” he said.
Two political parties, the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), filed their presidential nominations form for the 2020 elections on Wednesday October 7, 2020.
The NDC was to have filed at 11:00am. A few minutes to the time, however, they changed the filing time to 2pm.
As the clock ticked towards their altered time, the NDC informed the Commission that they would yet extend the time to 4pm, which the EC granted.
After the initial dithering, they still arrived at the office of the Commission late at 4:15pm.
Just as was done by the Commission to deepen rapport with the political parties, Mr Asidu Nketia, the General Secretary of the NDC after submitting the forms was asked by the EC to make a brief remark.
Instead of addressing the Commissioners, he turned his back to them, and even when some of the elders of the party told him it was disrespectful to turn your back towards the Commission he ignored saying, “The cameras of the press were at his back, so he has to turn in that direction”.
He began by accusing the Commission that they were to be blamed for their late submission, explaining that the Assets Declaration Law quoted on the form had been repealed.
He alleged that the Commission was receiving nominations based on a provisional register and that, in his opinion, was illegal. He insisted that the EC was working with the government to rig the elections, using military personnel in the border towns.
“It does not matter what the Commission did. The NDC will not boycott the elections. They will win it, and the Chairperson would be forced to declare their candidate winner”.
After talking for more than the stipulated 10 minutes, Mrs Sylvia Annoh, Acting Director of Public Affairs, drew his attention to the protocols. Ignoring the EC, official, Mr Nketia told her that she could go home if she wishes and that he was ready to be around until close of proceedings.
After ranting for over 16 minutes, Dr Bossman Eric Asare, the Deputy Chairman for Corporate Services began to offer an explanation to the claims and said all the parties were written to regarding edits on the forms on the 27th of September 2020 and that the Mr Samuel Tettey, the Deputy Chairman for Operations personally called the parties including the NDC to inform them about the changes.
He further stressed that none of the parties that had filed their nominations complained about the forms.
It was also explained to the NDC that the EC was operating within the remit of the law and that the use of the provisional register for the filing process was not illegal because CI 127 states that a registered voter was one whose name appears on the provisional register.
In the process of his explanation, Mr. Nketia grabbed a microphone and started shouting. Dr. Bossman, however, pointed out to him that the C.I. in operation was passed by the bipartisan Parliament including NDC lawmakers.
Mr Nketia suddenly called his other elders of the party who accompanied him, shouting ‘let us go‘, and while they got up, Mr. Peter Boamah Otokunor, the Deputy General Secretary started singing “The Holy Spirit should descend”.
While all the drama was unfolding, Dr. Bossman continued his explanation, with the NDC members who were clad in red and white reluctant to listen.
Ayariga praises EC
Dr Hassan Ayariga, Presidential Aspirant of the All People’s Party, has said that the actions of the leadership of the Electoral Commission (EC) have restored hope and confidence in the electoral process of the country.
“Over the years, political parties have lost hope in the Commission due to the continuous disqualification of parties after filing their nominations. However, you have shown the way by constantly engaging and working together with us,” he noted.
Dr. Ayariga after submitting his nomination to the Chairperson of the Commission, stated that the Commission had won the trust of many Ghanaians after successfully organising the voters’ registration and exhibition exercises.
“The 2020 Election is going to be a different one altogether. You have given political parties five days to submit nominations as opposed to the two-day given in the previous election.”
Also, you are sitting here personally to receive nominations. In the last one, we only saw some people coming, without the Commissioner herself. We were doubting if the political parties were important or not,” he added.
Having been disqualified at this stage in the build-up to the 2016 elections, the All People’s Congress presidential aspirant was full of praise for the EC chairperson for a job well done thus far.
He said, “we hope and wish that this document will be the best, and we will not get a call that we’re coming to make any amendment. The only call we’ll get is that you have been endorsed, and you can contest for the election.”