The Electoral Commission (EC) has stated that it will be increasing the number of polling stations across the country from 26,000 to 35,000.
This is to reduce the voter population at some polling stations, as well as reduce the pressure on the Biometric Verification Device (BVD), to enable it function efficiently without any hitch.
Even though the EC has indicated reasons for its intended action, some of the political parties in the country have some suspicions.
Speaking in an interview on Peace FM’s Midday news, representatives of some of the political parties expressed their opinion.
National Democratic Party (NDP)
The Deputy Communications Director for the National Democratic Party (NDP), Ernest Owusu Bempah said based on how the 2012 Presidential and Parliamentary elections were conducted, the EC needs to prove that they are ready to move in a right direction.
According to him, the only way he can agree to such an expansion is when the EC ‘brings out a clear cut roadmap. Then we will be assured that the negative things which occurred during the 2012 elections will not occur again.
“When the EC created new constituencies it created various issues during the 2012 elections…up till now the credibility of the Electoral Commission is in doubt…we have intelligence report that a certain political party has already started verifying their members using the biometric verification machine; after they will put it on a CD rom and give it to the EC to add it to their data system. For now it is just an allegation, but the EC should come out clean so that we will see the modalities behind the expansion of the electoral process. How are we to believe that going forward in 2016, this expansion will bring about a credible election? I totally disagree; my party also disagrees with the expansion unless they bring a clear cut roadmap,” he indicated.
People’s National Convention (PNC)
A Policy Analyst of the PNC, Atik Mohammed said the expansion when implemented will rather burden the economy which is already in a bad shape.
He said once the EC forwards a budget for the expansion to the Presidency, “it will be an extra cost to the Ghanaian and the economy”
“Sometimes I don’t understand their (EC) activities. Indeed after the Supreme Court ruling, we all accepted that there is a need for reforms but nobody complained that the polling stations were few. Let’s not create further problems in the name of reforms; increasing the number of polling stations is so ridiculous; I just don’t understand it,” he said tersely.
Progressive People’s Party (PPP)
Mr. Charles Owusu, a member of the Communications team of the PPP asked the EC to call for an Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting for the issue to be discussed and framework to be established
“With such issues we need to have a consensus…this is not supposed to be discussed in the media. They need to invite all the political parties to deliberate on the issue.”
National Democratic Congress (NDC) )
A Deputy National Propaganda Secretary of the ruling NDC, Solomon Nkansah also asked for an IPAC meeting because according to him, the EC cannot do anything without the knowledge or agreement of the various political parties.
“If the EC thinks there is the need for this, a meeting will definitely be called…they cannot implement anything without the consensus of the various political parties. But generally I think it is in the right direction. It will make the work a lot easier.”
New Patriotic Party (NPP)
Samuel Yaw Adomako Baafi Frimpong, a member of the NPP said based on “what happened in 2012, the EC can use this opportunity to redeem their image; they have this moment to make things right. For now we are critically monitoring them to see what they will do.”