Leading members of the opposition National Democratic Congress have in recent weeks accused the ruling New Patriotic Party of planning to rig the 2008 elections, just as they allegedly did in the 2004 election.

The NDC has therefore sent a strong signal that it will not accept the 2008 election results if it does not go in their favour.

However, the Democratic Freedom Party, which was partly formed by some former leading members of the NDC does not agree with the NDC’s assertion, given the performance of the Electoral Commission over the years.

Speaking to The Statesman, Abdul Rahman Issaka, DFP National Chairman, stated that for any rigging operation to be successful, at least two political parties must collaborate and cooperate through their polling agents at the voting centres.

Polling agents represent various political parties and are required to endorse election results after counting at the polling centres.

He did not rule out the possibility of rigging but said that it can only happen if political parties are not vigilant, stressing, “it will be difficult to rig elections if all political parties remain vigilant.” But even then, he doubts the EC could have been hoodwinked.

On the activities of the DFP, Alhaji Issaka maintained that the party is on course and expressed the hope that it will go to congress by the end of the year.

He said the exercise of putting up constituency offices across the country was “tedious” but the party was well on its way to ensuring the election of executives at the constituency level in fulfillment of EC requirements.

According to him, DFP is a grassroots party which allows the members to do their own thing whilst the headquarters occasionally gives direction, adding, “we have no cause to be alarmed about our progress.”

Asked who leads the DFP in 2008 general elections, Alhaji Issaka disclosed that some party members have indicated interest in the flagbearership but failed to mention names.

“The issue of imposition is out of the question” in the DFP, he asserts, and assured that the party’s door is open to every member.

The Chairman confirmed that Kwesi Botchway, a founding member of the DFP who is currently in town, has been touring the country and interacting with the people.

The media reported recently that the former Finance Minister under the NDC government may pick up nomination forms to lead the DFP come 2008. According to Alhaji Issaka, the former minister is qualified to contest for the flagbearership race just like any member of the DFP.

He said his party is confident of winning next year’s elections “because both [NPP and NDC], when in government have not performed well.”

He said their only concern about the presidential candidates of other parties is the information they put out to the ordinary voter.

While confirming that DFP patron Obed Asamoah had travelled outside the country, he denied that Dr Asamoah was on a fundraising trip. Dr Asamoah visits his family in the United States every year; this year’s trip is no different, he explained.

However, it is expected that whilst there he will interact with members of the party in the diaspora branches in countries such as Holland, United Kingdom, and the US.

But the activities of DFP go on without the patron, he told our reporter. “Obed is not DFP and DFP not Obed, we are firmly on ground without him.”

Credit: The Statesman