The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is readying itself to fully partake in the voters’ registration exercise scheduled to commence at the end of this month in spite of its antagonistic posture towards the exercise.
A correspondence from the party’s Director of Elections, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, could not have laid out this fact more.
Dated June 1, 2020 and titled, ‘Invitation To EC’s Pilot Exercise’, and originating from the National Elections Directorate of the party for the attention of regional directors of elections of the party, all regional chairmen as well as regional secretaries, the correspondence directs the officers to participate in the trial registration.
The foregone is an obvious paradox of a political party which presents a public picture of total opposition to the compilation of a new voters’ roll and even boycotting an Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) to discuss the pending exercise, yet ready to partake in the registration.
The Director of Elections states in the correspondence that, “The Electoral Commission’s Regional Offices countrywide has invited our regional party offices to participate in the piloting of the new Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) System on the June 2 and 3, 2020 at their respective regional offices.”
The Director of Elections, who was caught on tape calling for attacks on the EC similar to what the party’s chairman recommended, follows up with directives to the officers who would represent the NDC at the regional piloting exercise.
“Five persons, including two regional executives, two persons of the regional directorate and an IT personnel, are to attend,” he directed, adding these officers he directs should observe two things – the time it takes for a voter to go through the registration process and the process of guaranteeing and the time it takes.
Demanding of the party officials to act accordingly underscores the seriousness the party hierarchy attaches to the exercise they have berated since day one.
An earlier correspondence evidence of a two-way communication between the NDC and the EC demanded the provision of a number of documents from the elections’ managers, all of them pertaining to the registration of voters in the country.
Many observers, but for these developments, would have betted that the NDC would boycott the exercise and the elections in December, not so however, as the opposition party is cooperating with the EC on the quiet but putting up a bellicose posture on the public space.
It stands out clearly though that the tasks assigned the regional officers are intended to identify holes in the management of the new biometric voters’ management system with a view to using same in their public space advocacy against the EC.
The tasks bestowed upon the NDC officials also show that the party would want to determine the speed with which registrants go through the procedures, especially against the backdrop of the novelties involved and especially the guaranteeing process.
Under the proposed C.I. 126, which is nearing maturity in Parliament, a registered person can guarantee for 10 persons who do not have any of the acceptable documents for the purpose, being a valid passport or a Ghana card.
Under the previous CI, guarantors could only guarantee for just five persons, making the NDC’s claims of disenfranchisement frivolous of some sort.
Under the new arrangement, the factors which contaminated the current voters’ register such as the use of the National Health Insurance Card, birth certificate and even drivers’ licence in some instances, had been outlawed to pave the way for the registration of only qualified persons.
Even the Covid-19 pandemic was used to thwart the compilation of a new voters’ register by the NDC.
At one point, the NDC General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, claimed the President ordering a partial lockdown in some parts of the country was to enable the NPP government and the EC to put an election rigging machinery in place.
With the lifting of some restrictions on social gathering, NDC Communications Director, Sammy Gyamfi, is claiming that the President took the decision so that it can facilitate the NPP’s election rigging plans.
Top gurus in the NDC have threatened mayhem should the roll of voters be replaced, with some of them having made dates with the police over their treasonable threats.
The inevitability of a new voters’ register has, however, it would appear dawned on the opposition party even as it cooperates behind the curtain with the EC.
Following his participation in the pilot registration exercise, George Loh, the NDC Vice-Chairperson in the Volta Region, obviously upon the directive of his party leadership to do so, was interviewed on radio, the responses to which questions were revealing.
Q: Why did you abandon your party (NDC) in the cold?
George Loh: Interesting, interesting, interesting. I don’t think my party has said anywhere they won’t take part in the compilation of a new voters’ register.
Another revealing response was: please, please, please…check with other regions and see if other NDC executives did not show up.
By A.R. Gomda