Ghana Warns against Foreign Interference in Elections

Published November 28th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

The Ghanaian government on Monday warned foreign governments and institutions against interfering in presidential and general elections to take place on December 7. 

Foreign Minister Victor Gbeho issued the warning when he addressed members of the diplomatic corps in Accra on Monday. 

"It must be understood that donor assistance confers no license on any government or institution to directly or indirectly interfere in matters that fall within the domestic jurisdiction of Ghana," Gbeho said. 

The warning came after the deputy British High Commissioner, Craig Murray, had urged the electoral commission to allow only people with new photo identity cards to vote.  

Gbeho said that many people have not been issued with the new cards, and that Murray's remarks "bordered on direct interference in the internal affairs of Ghana and are clearly unacceptable". 

British High Commissioner to Ghana Rod Pullen responded that his deputy's remarks were without malice but based on a tour of 66 communities and the inspection of 76 electoral registers which indicated that the identity card replacement exercise had been successful.  

He pointed out that the British government had committed funds to the exercise after assurances from the various political parties in the country of the need for it.  

US Ambassador to Ghana Kathryn Dee Robinson said a fact-finding team from the US embassy in Accra had also testified that the exercise was successful throughout the country. 

Ghana's police chief, Inspector General Peter Nanfuri, last week predicted trouble in the December 7 poll if new identity cards were not distributed in time. 

Speaking to the press, he said that voters in some rural areas "had not yet received the new photo ID card from the electoral commission". 

The inspector general said villagers were issuing threats concerning action they would take if prevented from voting for not having the photo ID cards, which replace thumbprint cards. 

Two major parties are set to take the lion's share of the vote, the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP). 

The NDC is fielding current vice-president John Atta Mills as its candidate to replace Rawlings, who is stepping down after two terms in office. 

The NPP presidential candidate is John Agyekum Kufuor -- ACCRA (AFP)  

 

 

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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