Members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), who swore heaven and earth that the Electoral Commission (EC) could not compile a new voters’ register before the December general election, have now turned ‘lovers’ of the EC.
Their about-turn on the compilation of a new voters’ register has moved another notch as the party’s leadership now, paradoxically, campaigns for the EC.
For a party which invested so many resources and tricks not to have the registration towards the compilation of new voters’ roll take place to now be active advocates of the EC’s “Go and register” campaign has surprised their opponents.
Top NDC members are out in the field encouraging people to come out in their numbers and support the campaign.
The subtle truce between the NDC and the EC did not have a mediator brokering it, having been rather triggered by the circumstances on the ground.
With the Supreme Court upholding C.I. 126 and the NDC abandoning its earlier stance that a voters’ register is compiled only once and also that the old voters’ ID cards should be used, the party had no choice but to embrace the reality on the ground.
The party’s antagonism towards the exercise, which is now ongoing with its full participation, saw it abandon the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting to discuss the modalities of the registration project.
Signs of the NDC reneging not to allow the registration to take place was noticed when the party leadership demanded from the EC documents pertaining to the exercise.
The flagbearer of the party, during an engagement with some persons in the Volta Region, encouraged all to go and register when the time was due.
It was volte-face at a time when his assigns, including PNC Chairman Bernard Mornah and others, were up north campaigning against the same registration exercise.
Threats of death, particularly on the persons of the EC chairperson and her deputies, were introduced to dampen the spirits of would-be registrants.
Some even went to the extent of asking to be castrated if the EC was able to compile a new voters’ register.
The EC appears to be relieved that its previous adversary has now joined its campaign team, spreading the gospel about a new voters’ register.
The seeming “if you cannot beat them join them” response appears to have resonated with the NDC elements as their appointees and MPs are all over the place campaigning for people to register.
Already, the party’s communications officer, Sammy Gyamfi, has announced that former President Mahama is set to visit the Volta Region this week to monitor the voters’ registration exercise in the region.
He said that Mr. Mahama visited constituencies in the region including Ketu South, with Aflao as its capital, during his short stay in the region.
He said Mr. Mahama and the entire NDC were determined to ensure a smooth registration exercise although the same Sammy Gyamfi vowed that the compilation of the register would not happen.
Immediately the registration started on Tuesday, most of the NDC bigwigs were the first to visit their centres to participate in the exercise, with some even claiming to have slept at the centres.
NDC Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu, Samuel Akudzeto Ablakwa, who was one of the NDC bigwigs that led the false ethnocentric charge against the government over the deployment of soldiers to the border towns in the Volta region, has been touring registration centres in his constituency.
He posted, “Impressive turnout in North Tongu from as early as 5:00 am. Admirable determination. Let us collectively defend our democracy,” on social media while happily monitoring events.
Francis Xavier Sosu, one of the lawyers defending the wee/tramadol ‘apostle’ who threatened to kill EC boss Jean Mensa over the compilation of a new voters’ register for which he is being tried, was also one of the first NDC apparatchiks to register.
He later came to social media with his photograph, holding his new card and said, “Your vote is your power. Register and vote.”
John Dumelo, the NDC candidate for Ayawaso West Wuogon, was also one of the “early birds” at the registration centre; so was NDC Chairman for Northern Region, Alhaji Ibrahim Mobila, who has registered in Tamale.
Richard Ernest Kirk-Mensah, who is a leading member of the NDC in the Western Region, also registered.
In the Volta Region, which is their stronghold, where they made spurious allegation that the NPP government had sent soldiers to intimidate the people there, the party had directed the executives at the grass root called Ward Coordinators to monitor the exercise strictly under the supervision of their constituency executives.
All their MPs and parliamentary candidates in the region have been going around monitoring the exercise as well, and so far the process has been smooth for them.
In the Ahafo, Bono and Bono East regions, the NDC members have mobilized all their parliamentary candidates and are going round the registration centres to encourage people to come out and participate in the exercise they did not want to happen.
DAILY GUIDE learnt that the NDC national leaders had sent representatives across the country to monitor the exercise and report to the headquarters.
On Tuesday on radio, NDC General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia said emphatically that the party was fully prepared for the exercise.
Information from the Volta Regional Office of the EC indicates that about 19,513 persons successfully registered on the first day of the registration exercise in the region.
The turnout goes to confirm the enthusiasm and interest in the new voters’ register and also discredits NDC claims that there were calculated attempts to disenfranchise persons in the region, particularly those along the border communities.
The Regional Director of the EC in the Volta Region, Selormey Dogbey Adukpo, speaking to journalists, said the first day of the 38-day nationwide exercise in the region was generally peaceful, with no reported incident of equipment malfunction.
He said the turnout was encouraging and there had not been reports of insufficient registration materials.
He said the Covid-19 safety protocols at the registration centres were largely adhered to.
A total of 409 registration clusters have been deployed across the 18 constituencies of the Volta Region for the exercise.
By A.R. Gomda & Fred Duodu