General News of Monday, 21 December 2015
A member of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) says the Electoral Commission’s lax attitude to the debates regarding the integrity of the current voters’ register is worrying.
Gabby Otchere-Darko says the Commission’s Chair, Charlotte Osei, does not seem to be taking the demands for a new electoral roll seriously.
“I don’t think the EC Chair has been frank, truthful, honest and competent with her responses on the new register” said Gabby Otchere-Darko on Joy FM’s Top Story Monday.
These comments by the former Danquah Institute Executive Director come on the back of a slash in the proposed budget for the EC for its operation before and during next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections.
The Finance Ministry has approved for the EC a budget of 826.8 million Ghana cedis for the conduct of the 2016 elections, a figure that is 400 million Ghana cedis less than what the EC was requesting for.
The cut is due to a limit the Finance Ministry has put on how much it would spend on the elections.
Parliament is yet to pass this approved amount.
However, conspicuously missing from the EC’s itinerary is a provision for a possible new voters’ register.
The EC says it would wait for the report of a committee it set up to advise on whether or not to compile a new register.
This budget is also silent on whether or not the EC will open the voters’ register to register eligible voters for the 2016 elections.
The NPP has been pushing for a new register on grounds that the current one is bloated and contains names of minors and non-Ghanaians.
The opposition party managed to get the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) on its side.
The EC subsequently set up a five-member panel to look into concerns over the credibility of the voters register. The Commission will have the final say on the need for a new register or otherwise.
Gabby Otchere-Darko says the absence of details on how the EC intends to use part of the budget to clean the register is deliberate.
He said it is not surprising that the EC has not made any efforts to compile a credible register.
“Some of us have known all along that the Electoral Commission has been playing with Ghanaians in terms of whether or not to have a new register,” Gabby said.