Decision on New Register Concluded; No turning back

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Jean Menssa, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission

Director of Electoral Services of the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr Serebour Quaicoe, has revealed that the decision to compile new voter register has been concluded. He has thus given the indication that no amount of pressure can get the EC to change its mind.

 

Pressure

There has been an intense pressure from some opposition political parties led by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to get the EC to rescind its decision of compiling a new voter register. In an attempt to stampede the EC into kowtowing to its pressure, the NDC has described as “unconscionable” the EC’s justification for a new voters’ register. The NDC’s led coalition of six political parties, comprising of the All People’s Congress (APC), National Democratic Congress (NDC), Egle Party, United Progressive Party (UPP), United Front Party (UFP), and People’s National Convention (PNC), have since staged a demonstration in the Northern Regional Capital to get the EC to change its stance. The group calling itself Inter-Party Resistance Against the New Voters’ Register have served notice that it was going to embark on other series of public demonstrations, with the next stop being Kumasi in the Ashanti Region,  to put pressure on the EC to rescind its decision.

 

Consequently, a coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) under the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) has waded into the new voters register issue, calling on the EC to rescind its decision. The coalition involving 18 CSOs say the more appropriate, most lawful and financially responsible and justified approach will be for the EC to let the National Identification Authority (NIA) collect and process data. It added that the NIA would then send the EC the subset of the information needed for the purpose of elections.

 

NIA ready with data

The Executive Secretary of the NIA, Prof Ken Attafuah, has stated that the Authority has all the biometric data the Electoral Commission (EC) will need for the creation of a new voters’ register.

 

According to Prof Attafuah, the NIA’s enrolment platform captures the biographic details – which includes the iris, fingerprints, facials – the Commission would require in compiling a new electoral roll.

 

“The only thing the EC needs, which the NIA does not take, is polling station number or name but that is as easy as ABC to get with technology; it is not a problem at all,” he added.

 

EC Advisory Committee

The Eminent Advisory Committee of the Electoral Commission has since called on the Commission to meet with members of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) and deliberate on issues concerning the creation of the new voters’ register. Chairman of the Committee, Justice Emile Short, in a statement, urged all political parties and other stakeholders to remain calm and work together in the national interest.

 

Decision taken

However, speaking to the media over the weekend, Dr. Quaicoe disclosed that the plan to procure equipment to compile a new voters’ register is a done deal. According to Dr, Quaicoo, the 2020 general election is too important an election for anybody to toil with. He indicated that should there be any misfortune during the general election in December this year, it is the EC that will be blamed hence the decision by the Commission to do what they think would be necessary for a smooth process in December 7. He indicated that the EC is unable to rely on the NIA because of the pace at which the NIA is working. He said the EC’s work is time bound and cannot rely on the NIA whose work is not time bound.

Parliament has approved a ¢390 million for the EC to compile a new voters’ register for the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections. This is because according to the EC, the current system is overstretched.

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