CODEO STATEMENT ON THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS (NDC) DELEGATES CONGRESS HELD AT THE SUNYANI CORONATION PARK BETWEEN JULY 8 AND 10, 2011.
The National Democratic Congress held its Delegates Congress at the Sunyani Coronation Park, in the Brong Ahafo region of Ghana to elect its flagbearer for the December 2012 General Elections. The three-day Congress started on the 8th of July and ended on the 10th of July, 2011. Over 3,000 delegates attended the congress.
Two candidates, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings and President John Evans Atta Mills contested the position. In all, 2,866 delegates cast their votes out of which Professor John Evans Atta Mills polled 2,771 votes (representing 96.1%) and Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings came second with 90 votes (representing 3.1%). There were 5 rejected ballots. CODEO deployed an observer to monitor the pre-election, election day and immediate post-election phases of the Congress.
CODEO congratulates the NDC and the organizers of the Congress in particular, and the Electoral Commission for ensuring peaceful and a successful congress.
CODEO also acknowledges the professional and peaceful manner in which procedural issues such as the regional voting order and the selection process of additional women delegates were resolved peacefully in the run up to the Congress. Indeed, the NDC has enhanced its democratic credentials and has lent credence to the tenets of democracy by ensuring free, fair, transparent and peaceful Delegates Congress.
CODEO also salutes Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings for not only deepening internal party democracy in challenging a sitting President for the first time, but also setting the pace for women candidates to compete their male counterparts at all levels in Ghana’s politics.
We also congratulate the security agencies for ensuring the safety and security of the ballots and the voters, including other observers at the Congress. Similarly, we applaud the media in the professional manner they discharged their constitutional mandate by bringing the Congress to the homes of Ghanaians, thereby helping to promote election transparency.
CODEO however condemns the continuous use of intemperate language and insults by party executives and supporters during the pre-congress phase. The acrimony, tension and insecurity created by these actors led to the heavy deployment of security to police the Congress. Furthermore, CODEO noted with disappointment the heckling of one of the contesting candidates as she was making her case to the delegates. Such actions undermine election fairness and should be avoided in the future.
As the country prepares for elections in 2012, we call on all stakeholders to play their part in making sure that Ghana continues to consolidate her almost 20 years of democratic rule.
• Political parties must begin to enforce their own constitutions and sanction their members who engage in incitement, the use of insulting language and personality attacks. The failure of party executives to go beyond rhetoric and discipline members who commit these offences is a tacit approval of their actions and invariably encourages party supporters to resort to abusive language.
• Parties must also reaffirm their commitment and compliance to the codes of conduct they have signed over the years.
• Furthermore, the National Media Commission, should as a matter of urgency, assert its responsibility and authority under Art. 167 (b) of the 1992 Constitution to ensure maintenance of high journalistic standards in the use of intemperate language on media platforms and in the coverage of the electoral processes.
• There is also a need to discuss and debate the increasing securitization of elections in Ghana and excessive burden imposed on the security services and the public purse. This heavy and elaborate deployment of the country’s security forces to police single election events like bye-elections and congresses is unsustainable and threatens the entrenchment of electoral democracy in Ghana
• Lastly, following recent concerns expressed by the opposition NPP about fair coverage by the State broadcaster, CODEO urges the Ghana Broadcasting Cooperation and other State media houses to begin negotiations with political parties to elaborate on the rule for fair coverage of party activities and candidates and make it public at the earliest opportunity to forestall unnecessary contestations and accusations of bias.
JUSTICE V. C. R. A. C CRABBE