NDC Packs NIA With Party Activists In Ashanti

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) hierarchy in the Ashanti Region has raised a number of objections to the National Identification exercise, which begins in the region on March 22 this year. The opposition party is accusing the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and officials of the National Identification Authority (NIA) of complicity in the recruitment of registration officers for the exercise in the region. According to the party, the processes for the selection of registration officers have been flouted with parochial, partisan, sectional, and selfish interest on the part of some government officials. The opposition party said it had information from a reliable source that the NIA was secretly recruiting NDC party faithful and sympathizers as registration officials, to move into communities in and around the region to register people. The party is also accusing the NIA of having failed to use the accepted laid down procedures in the selection and recruitment of staffing for the exercise. Addressing a news conference over the weekend in Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the NPP, Mr. Fredrick Fredua Anto, cautioned that the exercise in the region could suffer serious setbacks, if the authorities, and for that matter the security agencies, do not move quickly to rectify the anomaly. The party expressed surprise that in recruiting personnel for an important national exercise like the collection of data of citizens in the country, the NIA authorities failed to advertise the recruitment exercise for registration officials to apply, but instead decided to rely on District Chief Executives (DCEs), who have surreptitiously roped in their party associates and friends, to do the registration. This position, according to the opposition party, further contravenes the NIA’s own directives issued in 2007 in an advertisement that it was going to recruit and train people from all over Ghana, including the Ashanti Region, with teachers as the main target. The NPP therefore wondered why the NIA had abandoned the initial plan, and was instead recruiting people known to be sympathizers of the ruling party, knowing very well they could skew the exercise to their advantage. “We are reminding the NIA and the government that the exercise is doomed to fail, if neutrality and impartiality are not demonstrably exhibited. Teachers, have, over the years, proven their merit, competence and effectiveness in these matters. Let them be the core of this exercise, and certainly not DCEs and party, activists,” Mr. Anto noted. To buttress its assertion of the involvement of the ruling party in the recruitment exercise, Mr. Anto alleged that on March 7, this year, one Sofo, a National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) Co-ordinator of the Kwabre East District Assembly, conveyed people from Ahwiaa, a known NDC stronghold in the district, to Mamponteng to be enlisted as registration officials of the NIA. He further added that on March 13, this year, at exactly 8:00 a.m, at the Mampong R/C Primary School, NIA officials, in the persons of Messrs Obeng Diawuo and Asiedu, were allegedly attacked by NDC thugs who were conveyed there in a vehicle with registration number AS 1155 U, belonging to one Safari, the Aboaso branch Chairman of the NDC. The reason for this unjustified attack, according to the NPP, was that out of eighty names submitted by the NDC for enlistment only 37 were alleged to have been selected. He said the NDC goons allegedly went ahead to threaten that no Ashanti should be allowed to do the registration in the Zongo communities in the constituency, and that should the authorities fail to heed their warning, there would be bloodshed. The NPP Chairman said similar repugnant acts of the NDC had been replicated in all the districts of the Ashanti Region, notably Ejura-Sekyeredumasi and Effiduasi/Asokore. The party however warned that it would not sit down and watch unconcerned for the rights and liberty of their supporters to be trampled upon.