NPP, NDC To Deploy 270,000 Polling Agents
NPP, NDC To Deploy 270,000 Polling Agents Website
The four political parties that have elected their flag bearers for the December elections have resolved to ensure absolute vigilance during the elections by deploying appropriate numbers of party agents at the various polling stations. The four parties are the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Convention People's Party (CPP) and the People's National Convention (PNC). Whereas the two front-runners, the NPP and the NDC, affirmed their preparedness to provide agents in all the 22,000 polling stations, the CPP and the PNC could not immediately give such an assurance, saying they had up to December to make an affirmation. The NPP and the NDC intend to train 150,000 and 120,000 election monitoring agents, respectively, for the December elections. Already, they have trained some leading members of their parties as trainers who have started training members of their election monitoring teams. The four parties were, however, unanimous in their opinion that undertaking such an exercise was very expensive and expressed the wish that the Electoral Commission (EC) could offer some financial assistance in that direction. Representatives of the four political parties were responding, in separate interviews, to a challenge from the EC to all Ghanaians, particularly the parties, to remain vigilant throughout the electoral process in order to ensure free and fair elections. The flag bearer of the PNC, Dr Edward Mahama the Chairman of the CPP, Mr Ladi Nyander; the National Organiser of the NDC, Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, and the National Organiser of the NPP, Mr Lord Commey, spoke to the Daily Graphic. Mr Commey acknowledged that it was the responsibility of the party to put its agents at all the polling stations, adding that the NPP would rely on its structures at the polling stations for that purpose. He said the first phase of its training programmes was completed last year with the training of trainers, while the second phase, involving the training of some party election monitors, was scheduled to be completed by the end of April. Mr Commey said such an exercise was very expensive, especially in the case of the NPP which needed to "oil the party's structures at the polling stations to keep party officers alive to their responsibilities". He said the NPP had learnt a lot since the 1992 elections after which it wrote the Stolen verdict, pointing out that the party believed that an election was a process and not just something happening on election day. When asked about the party's commitment to free and fair elections in December, the NPP National Organiser said, "Our commitment is absolute," especially in view of the party's belief in democracy. "If democracy succeeds in this country, we as a party would have achieved our aim," he remarked, but noted that it required a responsible opposition for democracy to thrive. For his part, Mr Ofosu-Ampofo said the NDC would take all measures within the confines of the electoral laws to secure free, fair, transparent and credible elections. As a first step, he said, the party sought the assistance of EC officials to train 300 leading members of the NDC as trainers of trainees. Mr Ofosu-Ampofo said in the second phase, the 300 trainers had started training 28,000 agents for the forthcoming voters' registration exercise, adding that it was the ell.-pectation of the party to train at least 120,000 election monitoring agents. He expressed worry that although the EC's handbook for party agents required the agents to be active, free, vigilant and protect the interests of their political parties without interrupting the electoral process, in most cases the agents were made to sit about four metres away from the scene.