The National Democratic Congress (NDC) may be hanging on to a straw as it fights to prevent the Electoral Commission (EC) from compiling a new voters’ register.
After losing the argument that the new register will cost the country a whopping amount, the NDC is now raising issues concerning time, claiming the EC is going to prevent its candidates from filing to contest the December 2020 election because the voters’ register may not be ready.
The main opposition NDC, which has been galvanising some five smaller political parties to reject the new register, is now claiming that the EC’s November 8, 2020 date to furnish political parties with the final voters’ register is too close to the election and may not allow their candidates to file.
However, the EC says the final register has nothing to do with filing, explaining that the register will be ready between October 3 and November 8, 2020, a month to the election.
The EC Deputy Commissioner in charge of Operations, Samuel Tettey, told journalists that the timetable for the election was feasible explaining that registration starts from April 18 to May 30, 2020.
Mr. Tettey said the register would accommodate all eligible voters who are Ghanaians, pointing out that nobody would be left out.
He also dismissed NDC’s allegation of voter suppression; that the new register may register fewer voters in its strongholds.
Daily Guide checks indicate the final register for the last two elections were delivered to the political parties in November of the election year.
In the year 2012, when biometric register was first introduced under Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, as EC Commissioner, the final register was handed to the parties on November 19, 2012, while Charlotte Osei’s register got to the political parties on November 4, 2016.
The EC insists that the new biometric register is a done deal, ignoring arguments that it would be a wasteful exercise.
According to the commission, the current register compiled in 2012 is not fit for purpose, announcing the compilation of a new credible register.
It provided what appears to be convincing evidence that the new register would rather save the country a whopping GH¢173million, instead of refurbishing the existing one.
With the NDC abandoning the cost element and the time factor also falling flat, the NDC, through its Chairman Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, is flying a new kite, saying that it is ready to accept a new register if only the old data will not be discarded.
He said after a meeting with EC Eminent Advisory Committee last Thursday that the old biometric register should be discarded, raising questions about the rationale for the new register.
The verdict of EAC after meeting with political parties under the aegis of Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) is expected any time from now, but it appears it may go in favour of the majority side of the political parties who are craving for a new register.
Six opposition parties led by the NDC are against the compilation of a new biometric register, while the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) is leading over 15 parties, including the Convention People’s Party (CPP), to root for a new register.
New Register Winning
The EAC chaired by Justice Emil Short, in a statement issued after the meeting, alluded to the new register only if the integrity of the data is sacrosanct.
“Majority of IPAC members agreed on the need for a new Voter Management Solution. However, some of them urged the EC to put in place adequate safeguard measures to ensure data security and integrity,” it said.
After the meeting, some of the political parties and individuals who were against the new register shifted their positions, citing initial improper briefing.
Atick Mohammed, an embattled People’s National Convention (PNC) General Secretary, who was on the corner of the party’s chairman, Bernard Mornah, for no register, broke ranks to join the new register chorus.