The National Democratic Congress (NDC) on Monday objected to the decision by the Electoral Commission (EC) to compile a new voters’ register for the 2020 election.
According to the Party, the decision defied logic and must be fiercely resisted.
Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, the General Secretary of the NDC, who was speaking at the media briefing to highlight issues on the Party’s stance in Accra, said the cost of the new registration exercise, involved the procurement of a new biometric registration system estimated at over GHC 444 million.
He said the economy, which was not strong enough could not afford another expenditure coming on the heels of the printing of new currency notes of higher denomination at the reported cost of several billions of Cedis.
“We are going to do this at a time when teachers, nurses, contractors, drivers and students are crying” for unmet and unresolved concerns.”
Mr Asiedu Nketia said after using the current voters’ register to successfully elect about 6,600 District Assembly members and about 33,000 Unit Committee members it was clear that there was nothing wrong with it.
“Yet the EC is telling us that that same register cannot be used to elect one President and 275 Members of Parliament and therefore a new voters’ register must be compiled,” he said and questioned what was likely to go wrong with the register between now and the election day of December 7, 2020.
He said the two key objectives for the adoption of improved technology in the compilation of an electoral register were to improve the confidence of stakeholders in the credibility of the register and to prevent electoral fraud by way of impersonation, multiple voting, ineligible voting, and inaccurate or fake results declaration, among others.
Mr Asiedu Nketia said however, the Party was of the view those objectives were inter-twined and were either achieved or lost together.
“While conceding that it is possible to procure a technology that can reduce electoral fraud to the barest minimum, that technology would be useless if the processes leading to its acquisition lead to the erosion of confidence of stakeholders in the technology and its end product, the voters’ register”.
“There-in lies the wisdom of carrying all stakeholders along the path of openness, transparency, verifiability and accountability, which is the only way to achieve the much needed confidence in any new system.”
He said to enhance transparency and inspire confidence in the system, the EC should constitute a technical committee with representatives of the political parties as members, with the EC’s technical Committee to examine the status of the current systems.
Mr Asiedu Nketia accused the EC of attempting to ambush the agenda to procure a new biometric registration system for the voters ahead of the 2020 elections during an emergency meetings that had nothing to do with that, as “many Ghanaians including the NDC hold the view that there is something sinister behind the ploy by the EC to compile a new voters’ register”.
He therefore called on the media, civil society organisations, and the diplomatic community to make their voices heard on the decision of the EC to compile a new register for the 2020 elections.