Danquah Institute kicks against EC’s decision to register NHIS card holders
Accra, May 29, GNA – The Danquah Institute, a public policy and research think tank, has expressed concern about the Electoral Commission’s decision to register holders of the National Health Insurance Scheme Identity Cards.
This, the Institute said, is because the NHIS entitles every resident in the country to register, whereas the registering for voting is the sole right of only citizens of the country.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, on the decision by the EC to undertake a limited voter registration exercise, Mr Boakye Agyarko, fellow of the Danquah Institute, called on the EC to rescind its decision, since that would enable non-Ghanaians and other unqualified people to also register to vote.
‘The way and manner this issue is currently being handled, and being treated as a triviality by the Electoral Commission is worrying, and poses a serious threat to the stability of our democratic and electoral process,’ he said.
He, therefore, urged the EC to rather audit the voters’ register, as the recent Supreme Court case revealed that all is not well with the register.
‘Till date, we have no idea as to what the exact number of registered voters in Ghana is, and yet still, the EC wants to go ahead and conduct additional registration, without cleaning the voters’ register.’
He said the auditing of the voters’ register should be of prime interest to the stakeholders of our electoral process, as it provides amongst others, the opportunity to understand the processes for establishing or updating the voters’ register, as well as assessing the resulting the voters’ register.
He urged the EC, as a matter of urgency, to suspend the limited registration exercise until an audit and a clean-up of our current roll is done.
‘The EC must find money for this process if we are to continue believing that the body has the interest of Ghana’s democracy, and not any other parochial interest at heart,’ he added.
He said an audit should be seen as the first necessary step in ensuring that we have free, fair, transparent, and peaceful general elections in 2016, without it, the risk of having another disputed election.
He also expressed concern about the process adopted by the EC to raise the number of polling stations from 26,002 to 35,000, as it was not transparent enough.
‘While we recognize the authority of the EC to create additional polling stations as it pleases, the way in which it has been handled and the total lack of transparency is very troubling,’ he said.
Mr Agyarko said the creation of polling stations had started, but the EC has not found it fit to involve the political parties, but has rather left them guessing and groping in the dark for answers, adding that the EC after the Supreme Court petition needs to repair its credibility and the faith citizens of this country must have in such an important institution.
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