Politics of Wednesday, 11 March 2015
Source: Daily Guide
The Minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) in parliament has called for the compilation of a new voter register as a way of restoring integrity in the electoral process prior to the 2016 general elections.
The minority, at a press conference on Monday, said there was credible evidence that the current voter register used for the 2012 general elections is very much bloated.
“There have been some unusual increases in the voter registration between 2008 and 2012 in certain districts where in the space of four years, registered voters have increased between 44% and 72%; and this should certainly tell any impartial observer that there is something wrong with our voter register,” the minority remarked during a press confab in Accra.
Making their concerns known in the ‘True State of the Nation’, the Minority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said that the Attorney-General had admitted that many Ghanaians used their National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) identity cards to register; but the Supreme Court had ruled that the use of NHIS card as a proof of citizenship to register as a voter, pursuant to Public Election (registration of voters) Regulations 2012 (CI 72), is unconstitutional, void and of no effect.
“That is the true state of the Voter Register and the way forward is for a new register to be compiled as soon as possible, to be used for the 2016 general elections,” the minority demanded.
The group was not happy that President Mahama in his recent State of the Nation address in the House, only commended the chairman of the Electoral Commission and failed to talk about the bloated register which could be a source of tension to undermine the 2016 general elections.
The minority therefore asked the government to make funds available for the compilation of a new voter register, stressing that if the president indeed thinks about the security of the nation, then he must give it a priority.
“The amendments to the various constitutional provisions and regulations to reflect the letter and spirit of the Supreme Court ruling, and also to be in sync with the composition, tenure of, and the conduct of elections by the Electoral Commission (EC) as obtains in the entrenched democracies, must be diligently carried out,” the minority entreated.
It said the chairman of the EC, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, had been a mixture of success and failure.
According to the minority leader, the conduct of the 2010 district level elections was appalling and the current district level elections had also become fiasco.
“In the lead-up to the 2012 general elections, it is on record that Dr Afari-Gyan was the one who campaigned against the biometric registration and verification for greater transparency in our elections which was clamoured for,” the minority leader recalled. He stressed that it was the same Dr Afari-Gyan who vehemently stood against virtually any attempt to reform the electoral process since 1995, including the introduction of photo ID cards, allowing party agents to be closer to the EC officers to be able to monitor events at the polling centres, issuing political parties with the voter register, allowing political parties to witness the printing of ballot papers and now the compilation of a more credible voter register – when the occasion has warranted it.