General News of Monday, 4 January 2016
The Electoral Commission (EC) says the New Patriotic Party’s push for removal of over 76,000 names of alleged Togolese nationals from the electoral roll would be inappropriate.
The EC says it would be “an arbitrary and discriminatory application of the law”, if the NPP’s request is granted.
The EC says, “in examining the identity and status of the 76,000 Togolese alleged to be on Ghana’s Register, the EC found that they were all duly registered during the mass registration period in 2012.”
The opposition party has been courting the support of other political parties and civil societies for a new register ahead of elections later this year.
The party says the current electoral roll lacks credibility, citing a deliberate inclusion of aliens in the register.
The removal of the alleged 76,000 alleged foreign nationals was a key point in the NPP’s push for a new voters’ register.
The EC holds that the NPP did not provide any proof of the citizenship status of the alleged foreign nationals and did not show any proof that they were not entitled to be registered in Ghana.
The EC’s response was contained in 33-page document written to the NPP.
“From the document presented by the NPP, the commission was unable to confirm the authenticity of the Togolese Register used by the NPP in their analysis as the Electoral Commission of Togo declined to provide the EC with a copy of its register or confirm the authenticity of the soft copy of the register used by the NPP.
“Seeking to remove names of persons who appear on the registers of Togo, Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire in the EC’s view, would be an arbitrary and discriminatory application of the law. The EC asks, would the Commission therefore be required to obtain the registers of all countries of the world and remove the names of persons who appear on such registers as well as Ghana’s?” the EC quizzed.
The opposition party also raised a Supreme Court ruling on the use of National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) cards for registration and called for the removal of persons who have been registered with the card from the register.
However, the EC says the party is misinterpreting the Supreme Court ruling.
According to the EC, in the Abu Ramadan case, the Supreme Court ruled that the use of NHIA cards, in their current form, was insufficient as proof of citizenship and consequently.
The EC says it was directed to stop accepting that as proof of citizenship for voter registration exercises.
“Nowhere in the ruling did the Supreme court nullify all registrations by voters who presented NHIA cards as proof of Citizenship,” the EC says.
On NPP’s claims that there were edited pictures on the current electoral register, the EC holds that claim is unfounded.
According to EC, the Biometric Register has multiple layers of data protection and integrity assurance and does not permit the possibility of pictures on the register being edited.
“The consultant’s report on the Independent Review of the Biometric Voters Register also supports the position that this is not possible and that the system has adequate integrity and has not been compromised. We would be happy to share the consultant’s report with the NPP,” the elections ombudsman said.