Former Member of Parliament for the Shama Constituency in the Western Region Ato Panford believes that the national hierarchy of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) must begin sending strong signals to “all members of the party, irrespective of who you are, that the party will not watch on for you to engineer any action that will destabilize the party”.
According to him, acts of intimidation, deliberate omission of names of qualified persons and allegations of favouritism that have angered members of the party to vandalize party properties in the ongoing polling station elections should be of great concern to the National Executive Council as the electoral fortunes stand at a risk.
“If, for example, about 20 persons have been disenfranchised at the polling station, imagine what this portends for the party and its quest to break the eight,” he observed.
“When we are dealing with people at the polling station, we should be very mindful that we are not dealing with an individual. That one person you muscled out has relatives, dependents…so if you use cruel means to disenfranchise that person, you should remember that you have touched not just that person but all who he has command of interest over.”
The former MP was speaking to Connect FM on recent alleged cases of electoral malpractices at Shama.
Polling station elections in the constituency have also not been spared of allegations of favouritism and open bias that have led to the defacing of posters of President Nana Akufo-Addo and the incumbent MP, Samuel Abakah Erikson, at the constituency party office.
3news.com is reliably informed that some aggrieved members, after a press conference to register their abhorrence to alleged cases of electoral irregularities, intend to go to court to pray it to order a rerun of the polling station elections.
Ato Panford is bemused and indicated that “it appears we have not learnt our lessons but repeating avoidable mistakes we committed in the last general elections”.
“We should not forget what happened in the 2020 elections, where people were voting skirt and blouse…because people were aggrieved on these same issues that are currently confronting us which largely went unresolved. Are we not learning anything from our mistakes, that we are not worried that the foundation of the party is being weakened?” he asked
He explained that regulations governing the conduct of the polling station elections were spelt out in clear terms and want persons found to be behind the disturbances to be punished severely.
“…everything starts from the polling stations. And the rules of engagements are as clear as daylight. You remember what we say that elections are won at the polling station? The ground network, the nerve of the party starts from the polling station. So once it is destabilized, then there is trouble. But as a democratic party, do you watch on for people to be imposed on people or you ensure that there is an even playing field for all?”
He mentioned that “anytime you want to bend the rules, anytime you want to go against what everyone knows is the right thing to do, then the chaos will definitely start. So we need to be careful because you cannot deliberately omit names of qualified people and not expect a reaction. It is only someone with cruel intent, diabolic intent of few individuals and they must be fished out and dealt with”.
By Eric Yaw Adjei|Connect FM|3news.com|Ghana