At Long last, the campaign team of Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings has heaved a sigh of relief, as executives of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have granted one of their requests, to make changes to the regional voting proposed by the party. Some of the regions have now been paired, and will be voting in one ballot box.
The changes come barely forty-eight hours to the start of the congress. The NDC had planned to vote on a regional basis in their forthcoming Delegates Conference, in order to speed up and save time in the voting process.
But, Nana Konadu’s Campaign Coordinator, Nambour Berrick, at a news conference in Accra on Wednesday, June 22, 2011, kicked against such a move, describing it as a violation of the principle of secrecy of votes, and an act of intimidation.
He argued that the decision by the party would bring much burden on delegates in determining which candidate to vote for. “It is an act of intimidation to force regions to vote regionally,” Mr. Berrick said, adding “this will result in candidates knowing which region did not vote for them, and we do not think this is the best for our democracy and national unity.”
The request was, however, rejected by the party, arguing that the proposal from the camp of Nana Konadu was unfounded and baseless, since it undermined the constitution of the party and that of the country at large.
The General Secretary of the party, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, popularly known as ‘General Mosquito’, told various radio stations in Accra that determining which town, city or region voted for a particular candidate does not infringe on the NDC or 1992 constitutions.
He said what the constitution frowned upon was getting to know which candidate or individual voted for a particular candidate, and not that of a region, town, or city.
According to the General Secretary, knowing which region voted for a particular candidate would be in the best interest of the candidate, since it would afford him or her the opportunity to correct mistakes made during the electioneering campaign.
“Does it mean that President Mills is not aware the Ashanti Region voted against him, doesn’t ex-President Kufuor know that the Volta and Northern Regions voted against him, or ex-President Rawlings is not aware that the Ashanti Region voted against him?
“Regional Voting will even help the candidates to make corrections in their campaign messages and strategies where necessary,” said Mr. Nketia.
However, the party, with two days left to the congress, has made some changes in the voting pattern to suit the demand of Konadu’s camp.
Announcing the state of preparedness of the party, ahead of the Sunyani congress at a news conference in Accra yesterday, Mr. Asiedu Nketia said the decision by the party was borne out of persistent demands from Nana Konadu’s campaign team.
“We realised that the Konadu campaign team still persisted in that argument, so we felt that if what they wanted will not infringe on any of our laws, and it will not displease the other camp, let us grant it.
“So we have decided, as at yesterday (referring to Tuesday), to make some changes in the electoral process. Instead of the regions voting as regions, we have decided to look at some of the regions which have very high delegate population to stand alone, while others will be combined,” noted Mr. Nketia.
The new changes will see the Upper West Region, which has the least number of delegates, and the Eastern Region voting together in one ballot box. The Upper East and Greater Accra regions would also have one ballot box at their disposal, with the Volta and Western Regions doing same.
The Central and Brong Ahafo Regions have also been combined to vote in one ballot box, whilst the Ashanti Region, which has the highest number of delegates, will stand alone.
Those in the Northern Region and other delegates, comprising the Tertiary Education Institution Network (TEIN) of the party, national executives, as well as those from the foreign branches of the party, would have one ballot box at their disposal, during the voting process.
The last minute changes, thus, leaves the party with six ballot boxes, instead of eleven, as earlier proposed.
Source Ghanaian Chronicle