Dr Kwabena Duffour, a Presidential aspirant for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), has filed a suit seeking an injunction restraining the party from conducting the internal Presidential elections on May 13, 2023.
The Plaintiff said the injunction, which was filed against the General Secretary, the Director of Elections Directorate of the Party and the Electoral Commission, which pend in compliance with the preparation and delivery of a complete and accurate Photo Album Register.
The suit, which had other defendants like Mr. Kojo Bonsu, Former President John Dramani Mahama both Presidential aspirants, wanted a declaration that the Photo Album Register issued by the General Secretary and Director of Elections Directorate to the Plaintiff on May 4 2023 as the primary document for conducting the internal Presidential election of the National Democratic Congress on the
May 13 2023 was incomplete and inaccurate.
It is therefore seeking an order directing the General Secretary and the Director of Elections Directorate of the Party to prepare and deliver a complete and accurate Photo Album Register to the Plaintiff and other Presidential aspirants at least five weeks ahead of the elections to enable the aspirants to carry out the needed verification of the Photo Album Register.
The Plaintiff said he and Mr Dramani Mahama and Mr Bonsu filed nominations as the party’s Presidential Candidates on March 20 to March 22 February 2023 and were vetted on March 27 to March 29 March 2023 and approved to contest the flagbearership position of the party.
Dr Duffuor added that on March 29, 2023, the party balloted for the three aspirants in preparation for the party’s internal elections on May 13, 2023, to elect a Presidential Candidate for the 2024 Presidential elections in Ghana.
He said the Director of Elections Directorate informed the Presidential aspirants on the said March 29, 2023, that copies of the Photo Album Register of eligible candidates for the internal elections to elect a flagbearer for the party shall be made available to the Presidential aspirants immediately to afford the aspirants an opportunity to verify the accuracy of the voters register in all the branches within the 275 constituencies of the party as part of the processes to ensure free, fair and credible internal elections on May 13, 2023.
The Plaintiff said the measure was in compliance with best practices in modern democratic elections to ensure that the Photo Album register was complete, accurate and enhance free and fair elections and reduce disputes over election results and same was consistent with the aims and objectives of the NDC as enshrined in Article 7 of the party’s constitution.
Plaintiff repeated the averment, saying that it was a practice recognised and practised by the Electoral Commission in all public elections it conducted.
Indeed the Commission’s Regulations which constitute a model for public elections in Ghana require the Photo Album Register as in this instance to be made available to candidates and the voting public at least five weeks prior to the elections to enable the same to be verified by all.
The Plaintiff said he immediately sent a hard drive to be submitted to the Director of Elections Directorate to store the bulky Photo Album Register for him.
He said to his surprise, the Director of Elections Directorate failed to provide the voters register to his (Plaintiff) representatives as a result of which Plaintiff caused his head of research and strategy to send a reminder via WhatsApp to the Director and subsequently to the General Secretary.
The Plaintiff averred that mindful of the fact that time was of the essence in verifying the photo album register in the numerous branches in all the 275 constituencies located in the 16 regions of Ghana, he (Plaintiff) caused yet another written reminder dated May 2, 2023, to be sent to the General Secretary, who was the Chief Executive Officer of the NDC.
He said as a follow-up to the aforesaid letter of May 2 2023, the General Secretary and the Director of Elections Directorate held a meeting with representatives of all the three Presidential aspirants on May 4, 2023, and delivered a hard drive to the Plaintiff’s representatives at the said meeting which the said the hard drive the Director indicated, contained the Photo Voters Register of 228 constituencies and that the remaining 47 constituencies would be delivered to the representatives of the Presidential aspirants on May 8, 2023, but all to no avail.
The plaintiff averred that the partial delivery of the Photo Album Register to his representatives on May 4, 2023, was in itself out of time considering the magnitude of the verification exercise required of them before the internal elections on May 13, 2023.
Plaintiff added that to their utmost surprise, upon verification, it was found that the number of constituencies on the hard drive given to his representatives was 220 in number as opposed to the alleged number of 228 constituencies indicated by Defendant.
He added further that an initial verification of the said 220 constituencies on the hard drive given to his representatives by the Director established basic errors and inaccuracies that rendered the Photo Album Register inaccurate and unreliable for free, fair and credible elections.
The plaintiff averred that the records of some of the delegates had been duplicated and given different names and different Party identification numbers.
He said of the 220 constituencies, an exceptional list of 74,799 people have been created to take part in the elections said the exceptional list cannot be verified because of the scanty information provided about them in the Photo Album Register.
The plaintiff averred that for no credible reason, 3,910 eligible voters in the 220 constituencies have been disenfranchised.
Dr Duffuor further said that a sizeable number of the eligible voters had no photographs exhibited on the Photo Album Register making it impossible to conduct any meaningful verification exercise on these persons.
Plaintiff said that it caused an initial analysis of the incomplete and inaccurate Photo Album Register to be sent to the 2nd Defendant on May 8, 2023, and requested for a postponement of the May 13, 2023, Presidential primaries and clean the Photo Album Register to guarantee the integrity of the elections but all to no avail.
To date, the Director of Elections Directorate failed, refused and/or neglected to deliver the Photo Album Register for the remaining 55 constituencies to the Plaintiff for verification.
Yet the General Secretary and the Director insist on holding the internal elections on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
The Plaintiff averred that he caused a petition to be lodged with the Commission to intervene for a comprehensive and accurate register to be compiled by the General Secretary and the Director and prevent fraudulent activities such as multiple voting, impersonation and disenfranchising of eligible and qualified voters.
“The Photo Album Register put out by the Director with the knowledge, consent and tacit approval of the General Secretary would compromise the integrity of the elections and very much to the detriment of the Plaintiff, erode public trust in the elections and lead to disputes over the election results.
Plaintiff maintains that the two Defendants’ reluctance to extend the time for the internal elections and provide a complete and credible Photo Album Register ahead of time to the Presidential aspirants for verification smacks of a plan to create an undue advantage for manipulation of the presidential primaries.