Posted: Thursday 31st July 2014 at 23:06 pm

We can’t compromise on our push for electoral reforms – Nana Addo


New Patriotic Party 2012 presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has hinted they would not relent on their efforts to ensure that calls for electoral reforms in the country yield positive results.

While addressing party delegates at the Radach Memorial Hall in Tamale in the Northern region, Nana Addo said: ‘My message to you here and to all Ghanaians is that we cannot compromise on our push to get electoral reforms. We must do it and do it well to protect our democracy.’

The first line of action, he said, would be to sort out the country’s voters’ register.

The call for an electoral reform was as a result of a recommendation made by the Supreme Court during the Election Petition by the opposition NPP.

He is currently in the region canvassing for votes ahead of the NPP’s Special Electoral College and presidential primary race. The Super Delegates’ Congress has been scheduled for August 31, 2014. It is aimed at cutting down the number of aspirants to five.

He continued: ‘As a first step before the District Assembly election, we want to ask the Electoral Commission to heed to the calls of civil society and political parties, including CPP, PNC, PPP and NPP, to allow for an independent, forensic audit of the existing biometric voters register.’

‘Our message to Dr Afari Gyan and the Electoral Commission is simple: we need a register that truly represents those who are entitled to vote in Ghana. The current register is bogus. We are not interested in playing the blame game. We are only interested in doing what is right for our democracy. Let us all work together on this. Ghanaian elections should not be West African election,’ Nana Addo added.

Nana Addo is contending a former Trade Minister, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, Member of Parliament for Mampong, Francis Addai Nimo as well as Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku, a former MP for Offinso.

Others are a former Information Minister, Stephen Asamoah Boateng, Joe Ghartey, MP for Essikado-Ketan and Asuogyaman MP, Osei Ameyaw also appeared to be vetted.

The full transcript of what he said below today

Yesterday, the Supreme Court upheld unanimously an application brought by the Youth Organiser of the People’s National Convention, Abu Ramadan, challenging the use by Electoral Commission to use the National Health Insurance card for the voters’ registration exercise.

I want to congratulate Abu Ramadan, Evans Nimako, and Kwasi Danso Acheampong,   the plaintiffs, for their patriotism.

The Supreme Court, under the leadership of the Chief Justice, also deserves our commendation for the decision of the Court.

To vote in Ghana, you must be 18 years or above, a Ghanaian citizen and of sound mind. The Supreme Court decision means that for future voter registrations, the only forms of IDs to prove your eligibility that are acceptable are a Ghanaian passport, a National ID card, a Ghanaian Drivers License and your old voter ID issued before 2012. If you don’t have any of these forms of ID, two people who are registered to vote can, by filling a form, attest that you are qualified to vote.

In the course of last year’s election petition, we provided evidence in Court to show that the voters’ register used in 2012 was not credible. The Court agreed that there must be electoral reforms, and we see this decision of yesterday as a reinforcement of that thinking of the court.

The process for electoral reforms has started with this decision by the Supreme Court. That decision means sorting out the voters’ register, the base document for elections, is the first major step.

My message to you here and to all Ghanaians is that we cannot compromise on our push to get electoral reforms. We must do it and do it well to protect our democracy.

Also yesterday, the Electoral Commission in responding to the Court’s decision, set a new date for the limited registration exercise – from Monday, August 4 to August 13.

We understand that has to be done, as the Constitution requires, before the next public election, which is the District Assembly election. So we have no problem with the exercise itself. Our problem, however, is that it will amount to adding more names to a register that is already discredited. So, we want the Electoral Commission to listen to the growing calls for a credible register and do what is required after to achieve that.

According to our country’s National Census, half of the population of Ghana (including non-Ghanaians) is below the age of 21 (in fact, the median age in Ghana is 20.8). And, yet, the records show that 56.8% of that total national population found their names on the 2012 voters’ register.

This can only be bogus. In the whole of Africa, a continent with a young population, Ghana has the highest voters’ register as a percentage of the total population. Our checks show that nowhere in Africa has a voter population of more than 50% of the total population. For example, South Africa – 47.9%; Cote d’Ivoire – 27.45%, Kenya – 34.5%, Nigeria – 41.7%, and Senegal – 41.5%. But, here in Ghana, ours is 56.8%! This is even bigger than any register we, ourselves, have used in all previous elections in Ghana before 2012.  ASK YOURSELF WHY?

Our message to Dr Afari Gyan and the Electoral Commission is simple: we need a register that truly represents those who are entitled to vote in Ghana. The current register is bogus. We are not interested in playing the blame game. We are only interested in doing what is right for our democracy. Let us all work together on this. Ghanaian elections should not be West African election.

As a first step before the District Assembly election, we want to ask the Electoral Commission to heed to the calls of civil society and political parties, including CPP, PNC, PPP and NPP, to allow for an independent, forensic audit of the existing biometric voters register.

I am told the entire process, from the opening of competitive international bids to the completion of the forensic biometric audit, could take up to a couple of months. This first step can be taken before the next District Assembly Election. To do this will send a strong signal to the country that the Electoral Commission is sincere and serious on the question of electoral reforms.

Let the audit of the current register serve as a key step to restoring public confidence in our electoral system. It is an important decision that we have to take to consolidate our democracy.

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