PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE NEW PATRIOTIC PARTY (NPP), READ BY PETER MAC MANU, NATIONAL CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN
DATE: 14TH MAY, 2020.
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, good afternoon! We have invited you here this afternoon to respond to aspects of the National Democratic Congress’s (NDC) press conference that was held this afternoon. The main thrust of their argument is that the Electoral Commission (EC) and the National Identification Authority (NIA) are in a conspiracy to rig the 2020 elections in favour of the NPP. It is within the rights and competence of both the EC and the NIA to respond to the main thrust of the NDC’s accusation.
But it is important we make it clear that the NPP is and cannot be part of any conspiracy whatsoever to rig the 2020 elections. The NDC has sat together to plan and have finally come out with the details of their fake conspiracy theory against the NPP. A fake conspiracy does not become a credible conspiracy just because an opposition that is afraid of losing a free and fair contest says so.
We want the people of Ghana to ask the NDC this simple but important question: so what is it about the 2012 voters register that the NDC is so determined to protect it from being replaced? What is in that 2012 register that the NDC is threatening civil war if it is changed for a better one?
Why is the NDC placing its entire electoral fortunes on that controversial register which was compiled under their term in office?
Please, remember that this is the first time ever that any opposition party in Ghana has complained and complained so loudly against the compilation of a new voters’ register. Under President Rawlings, the EC compiled a new register and the NPP in opposition supported it. Under President Kufuor, the EC compiled a new register and the NDC then under John Atta Mills did not complain. In 2012, under President John Atta Mills, the EC set out to compile a new register and the NPP did not only welcome it, we were constructive in pushing for features to enhance its credibility.
It is that same register that the Supreme Court later ruled that it was wrong for the EC to accept the National Health Insurance Card as an ID source for registration in 2012. We set out in opposition to campaign for that discredited register to be changed. The NDC in government opposed our campaign. It was not done. But we did what any responsible political party must do; we organized ourselves and prosecuted our campaign and the people of Ghana gave us the highest numbers of Parliamentarians and the highest margin of nearly one million votes in the presidential election.
Our focus since then has been to justify the confidence that the Ghanaian people reposed in us by fixing the economy that the NDC rigged and with Akufo-Addo giving the people the caring and decisive leadership which John Mahama is not capable of delivering.
The NDC National Chairman said this afternoon that the NPP set out to rig the 2020 general elections immediately we took office in 2017. Well, Ghanaians know better. The focus of President Akufo-Addo and his Government upon assuming office was to fix the economy that President John Mahama and his NDC rigged in their 8 years in office. It remains our focus, to manage the crisis caused by Covid-19 in a way that the Ghanaian economy and society will come out of this crisis stronger and more united. The plan of the NDC is nothing more than to fabricate grounds for chaos, disunity and fear. They are doing this because they do not have a good candidate and a good story to tell voters in December.
It is that record of a rigged leadership under John Dramani Mahama that the NDC must be afraid of bringing back to face the Ghanaian people for their votes and not any fake conspiracy to rig the elections against them.
NDC must be reminded that the NPP, as an opposition party, beat the NDC in 2020 ––and by the largest margin ever in Ghana’s history against an incumbent president in Ghana’s history.
It is not the fault of any Ghanaian that the NDC chose to bring back as their presidential candidate for 2020 the very man on whose hands the NDC suffered their biggest defeat in their history. It is not the fault of NPP that the NDC chose to bring back as their 2020 presidential candidate the very same man who gave Ghana the worst economic growth performance since 1994. It is not the fault of President Akufo-Addo that the NDC has very little confidence in their own chosen Candidate for 2020, John Mahama.
We do not need the EC to rig an election in our favour. A government that has put some 1.3 million children to school, (who if NDC was in power would be on the streets) does not need an election to be rigged in its favour. A government that has restored industry and is creating jobs for the people does not need an election to be rigged in its favour. A government that has put 100,000 unemployed graduates to work does not need an election to be rigged in its favour. A government that puts the interest of the ordinary Ghanaian first, whether it is in protecting the money of millions of depositors, or absolving the cost of electricity and water of 30 million Ghanaians, to ease the sufferings of the people when there is a crisis, such a government does not need an election to be rigged in its favour. The President continues to show leadership and commitment to the welfare of ordinary Ghanaians and it is this which gives us confidence that the Ghanaian people will recognize his leadership and performance and allow the party that knows how to deliver to continue.
We intend to fight and win in December based on our performance.
Let me repeat, Ghanaians must find out why the NDC is so against the compilation of a new register which promises enhanced security features, such as facial recognition. What is it about the 2012 register that the NDC holds sacred? What is it about the 2012 register that the NDC claims if it is replaced, they will never win an election? In what way did they tie their electoral fortunes to the maintenance of a discredited register? They ought to tell us. What is it about the 2012 register that the NDC claims they are prepared to foment trouble if it is replaced?
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, Ghana since the establishment of the 4th Republic has had registers compiled at various stages of our journey towards perfecting our democracy: 1992, 1996, 2004, 2012. So basically, we have had new registers compiled every eight years since 1996. And for each of those exercises the idea has been to introduce features that are better than the previous one with the view to secure the sanctity of the register. So why is the NDC afraid of an improvement in the security and soundness of the register?
We have elections in December, and President Akufo-Addo has made it clear that elections must and will be held as scheduled as far as the Government is concerned. The NPP is not afraid to face the electorate. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that the coronavirus is still with us like now in seven months’ time – and that is a possibility – will the NDC be against the holding of the elections? There are some over 1,000,000 odd young people who have attained the age of 18 since last year. They have a right to be registered. And so, the EC will register them. How is this registration going to be done? Or is the NDC suggesting that we disenfranchise all these people? The EC has a mandate to conduct elections in December.
The NDC should be constructive in discussing how at least the over one million Ghanaians who will be old enough to register to vote this year will be done, even under this period of social distancing. It is important that we support the EC in all the processes that will lead to delivering free, fair and credible elections.
Not only is the NDC against the compilation of a new voter’s register, they are similarly against the issuance of National Identity Cards. The tried in 8 years to issue a national ID but were not competent enough to get it done. The benefits of having a national ID are varied and far reaching. In South Korea and Mauritius for example, where citizens and foreign residents are properly documented, National IDs have helped to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease. For instance, in the course of its six-week lockdown in Mauritius, residents have been permitted to go out for basic necessities according to the alphabetical order of their surnames. Currently there are no active cases in Mauritius. Such an innovation would be difficult to implement in Ghana without proper citizen and resident identification. Everyone knows who lives in their homes. We can identify them. Parents can identify their children and wards by name and by face.
Every entrepreneur knows who works in their company. If it’s a big organization, they provide them with ID cards. Even the NDC has ID cards for their members. So why is the NDC so against a project that seeks to do for all our citizens and residents what the NDC has done for its members? So why is the NDC against a national project that seeks to do what the NDC has done for itself?
We understand and appreciate that there are potential risks associated with bringing people together to register for the national ID. The NPP would like to encourage the NIA to share with the public their coronavirus risk mitigation strategies.
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, we call on the NDC to face up to the realities of the time and convince the Ghanaian people why they must bring an inept, clueless and incompetent Mahama back to power after he run down the country in the manner that he did. We didn’t elect their flagbearer for them. They elected him. If they find that he is an albatross around their necks, they should not be making excuses way ahead of the election in order to justify his loss in December which is inevitable.
We will end by saying that we support the compilation of a new register but will leave that decision for the EC to make. However, with or without a new register, the New Patriotic Party is prepared to campaign and win the endorsement of the overwhelming majority of the Ghanaian people once again in the next polls, based purely on what we are delivering to protect and improve the lives of the people in every corner of the country.
May God bless our homeland Ghana and make her great and strong.