The two major political parties in Ghana, the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), have expressed reservations regarding the Electoral Commission (EC)’s proposal to close the 2024 elections at 3 pm. The EC has defended its decision to shift the closing time of voting from 5:00 pm to 3:00 pm during the 2024 general elections.
EC Chairperson Jean Mensa emphasised that this adjustment aims to facilitate the transparent and orderly collation of votes by electoral officers in broad daylight. However, the NPP’s Communications Director, Richard Ahiagbah, has urged the EC to ensure that the proposed change does not disenfranchise eligible voters.
In an interview with Citi FM on Thursday, December 14, he indicated that the party would only accept the proposal if the Commission assured them that voters would be given the comfort they deserve and that none would be turned away. “We receive that with some cautious optimism, to the extent that the EC can provide us with the necessary comfort that electorates would not be found wanting on the day of the election. But assuming that they provide that comfort for us, it is ideal for us to be able to close the polls early so that collation and things that need to be done to prepare results are done in daylight before dark.”
“So I think that is the import of that proposal that we first need to be sure that it will not result in people being turned away,” he stated. In his remarks on Citi FM, Mustapha Gbande, the Deputy General Secretary of the NDC, cautioned that they would oppose any efforts by the EC to manipulate the election in favour of a particular political party. He emphasised that it is too early for the party to provide commentary on the EC’s stance.
“For us, we welcome a response that will give Ghanaians a feeling that there’s a credible, transparent general election at the end of the day. We have resolved as a party that we are going into 2024 with full force, we are going to an election to win. Rigging that election is a great impossibility and will be resisted with all force, so it behoves on the EC to assure all political parties of a transparent election.”
He added, “That will be a big relief for this country. It’s early days yet, we will see as the conversation unfolds what our technical directors will advise the party to do, what the NPP will come up with, and what other parties will come up with.”