There seems to be uncertainties surrounding the registration of the National Democratic Party (NDP) at the National Electoral Commission because of issues concerning its selected colours.
This is due to conflicting statements announce by officials of the Electoral Commission (EC).
While the Deputy Chairman in charge of Operations of EC, Mr. Kwadwo Safor-Kantanga is quoted by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) as saying that the black, red, white and green colours of NDP has been rejected, the acting Director of Public Relations of the EC, Christian Owusu Parry, insists that no decision has been taken on the party as yet.
Mr. Kantanga stated that the colours of the NDP violated the Political Parties Act, 574, but Mr. Owusu Parry said the Commission was yet to receive a completed registration form from the party for scrutiny.
The new party has as its logo, a flying bird similar to the one on top of the umbrella of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and the same black, red and white colours as the ruling party.
The only difference is that the dove in the NDP logo, is holding on to the “Gye Nyame” symbol with the motto, “Justice, Unity, Peace and Progress”.
Section 10 of the Act, which states that “…No prospective political party shall submit to the Commission for the purpose of registration under this Act any identifying symbol, slogan, colour or name which is the same as the symbol, slogan, colour or name of any other registered political party; or of the Republic; or which so closely resembles the symbol, slogan, colour or name of a registered political party or the Republic as to be likely to deceive or confuse members of the public.”
Mr Kantanka, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra last Saturday, said the Commission had set in motion a mechanism to scrutinise the documents presented for registration as a political party by the NDP.
He said: “In accordance with the Political Parties Act (574), EC is mandated to issue not later than seven days after receipt of the application to the political party, a provisional certificate of registration.
“The Commission would then cause a notice of the application to be published in the Gazette inviting objections from any person, concerning the name, aim, objects, constitution, rules, symbols, slogans and colours of the party,” he added.
Mr Kantanka said the Commission may in addition to inviting objections to the application cause independent inquiries to be made so as to ascertain the truth or correctness of the particulars submitted with the application for registration.
On expiration of the 30 days after the date of the publication of the Gazette notice, the Commission shall, if satisfied that the relevant provisions on registration have been complied with register the political party, the Deputy Chairman said.
“Where within the 30-day period an objection has been brought to the notice of the Commission, it shall not register the political party until the objection has been disposed of to the satisfaction of the Commission.
“Where the Commission upholds the objection or if enquiries made disclose that any of the particulars submitted with the application for registration are false, the Commission may refuse to register the party and cancel the provisional certificate issued to that party,” he said.
He explained that issues to consider include ethnic, gender, religious, regional, professional or other sectional divisions, and said the EC would also examine whether NDP’s slogans or symbols could arouse ethnic, gender, religious, regional, professional or other sectional divisions.
On his part, Mr. Owusu Parry said there were procedures involving the registration of new political parties.
He explained that after a party had taken a registration form to fill and return it to the Commission, the necessary checks are carried out to ensure that the party does not violate the political party law.
Mr. Owusu Parry said the Commission would scrutinize the document of the party before deciding whether to issue a certificate to the party.
“The NDP came for registration forms last Friday and we are waiting for the document and the necessary attachment after which we will give the party a provisional certificate and begin the process of scrutiny,” he stressed, pointing out that the Deputy chairman of the Commission might have been “misquoted”.
It is believed that most of the founding members of the new party are members of the NDC who have left the ruling party out of frustration.