EC disqualifies candidate for using party identity

Politics of Thursday, 29 January 2015

Source: Graphic Online

Electoral Commission Ghana

The Electoral Commission (EC) has disqualified Mr Winfred Kofi Ofori Adjei, who is contesting the upcoming district assembly elections in the Maakro Electoral Area, near the Suame Magazine in the Ashanti Region, for flouting the laws governing the district assembly elections.

The EC came to this conclusion after it received a petition from a group of three persons that Mr Adjei had violated the rules and regulations governing the district assembly elections.

According to the petitioners, Mr Adarkwa Obed Kwabena, Mr Isaac Boahen and Mr Kwabena Frimpong Asiamah, Mr Adjei flouted Article 4 clauses “a” and “b” of the District Assembly Elections Act, 1994.

According to Article 4, no candidate seeking election to a district assembly or any lower local government unit shall use the name, motto or symbol of a political party or organisation; and solicit or accept the assistance of a political party in connection with the organisation of district assembly elections.

With pictorial evidence, the petitioners showed Mr Adjei had mounted billboards, using specific identities of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and pasted an NPP membership card on his posters. Confirming his disqualification in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday, the Director of Elections at the EC, Mr Samuel Tettey, stated, “This act clearly contravenes the District Assembly Elections Act, 1994”.

He said the disqualified candidate was given a hearing by the commission but he explained he was ignorant of the act.

“Ignorance of the law is no excuse so the commission has decided to disqualify the candidate from contesting the forthcoming district assembly elections,” Mr Tettey told the Daily Graphic.

He further disclosed that more candidates had been disqualified across the regions and mentioned some candidates from the Brong Ahafo and Greater Accra regions.

The reasons for disqualification are varied but include the failure to transfer votes to the said electoral area within the stipulated time announced by the commission.

This contravenes Regulation 20 (1) (3) (a) of the Public Elections Regulations 2012 (C.I. 75).

Mr Tettey took the opportunity to advise all candidates to study Local Government Act 473 on the District Assembly Elections Act 1994 to avoid flouting the laws, which will enforce their disqualification.

He insisted that district assembly elections are non-partisan and “we do not expect political parties to sponsor candidates.”

However, when contacted, Mr Adjei told the Daily Graphic that he had not been officially communicated to and, as far as he was concerned, “I am still in the race.”