NDC Fights For Togolese Voters
Johnson Asiedu Nketia
General Secretary of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia, has mounted a spirited defence for the existing voters' register many Ghanaians believe is flawed.
The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) is leading a campaign to get the Electoral Commission (EC) to compile a new voter register for the 2016 general elections because the party says the existing register is bloated and filled with non-Ghanaian voters, especially Togolese.
At a press conference in Accra on Tuesday, vice presidential candidate of the NPP, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, said their initial investigations had uncovered the existence of some 76,286 Togolese in Ghana's voter register, together with other flaws which have contributed to the bloating of the register, thereby raising eyebrows.
However, the NDC thinks otherwise, claiming it is not only baseless but part of a grand scheme to prepare the grounds of excuse for an imminent defeat in 2016 'which stares them in the face.'
At a press conference in Accra yesterday, Mr Asiedu Nketia, popularly called General Mosquito, accused the NPP of playing tribal politics with the claim of a bloated register.
According to him, 'The claim by the NPP that persons from Togo and Cote d'Ivoire are on the Ghanaian electoral register is not only fraudulent, but also constitutes a gratuitous attempt on the part of the NPP to attack some tribes.'
'As far as we are concerned, this claim is a continuation of the NPP's long-standing affinity for tribal politics through which they associate people from certain ethnic and tribal extraction with wrongdoing and heap unsavoury commentary on them,' he said.
The NDC has therefore disputed the authenticity of the Togolese register which the NPP based its findings and arguments on.
Apart from that, he said, 'The document I saw which they are purporting to be extracts from the Togolese register, if you look at it closely, you will realise that whereas the Ghana register shows the picture and name of the individual plus other details, in the case of Togo, they just put the picture there and then put some long serial number there.'
According to General Mosquito, 'This is the latest form of voter registration that has just come from space' and that 'a close examination of the pictures presented as evidence of registration by Togolese and Ivorians shows a clear case of deceptive manipulation of photographs taken at different times.'
Asiedu Nketia said in many of the purported evidence provided by the NPP, the two pictures presented as those of one person bear no resemblance to each other, adding that 'More importantly, the pictures the NPP purports to be samples of a Togolese register do not bear the names of the supposed voters, neither do they bear the ages or genders of the supposed voters.'
However, the NPP has since provided the details of both the identities of the Togolese voters on the Ghanaian register as submitted to the EC on Tuesday.
Incidentally, while the EC has not commented on the concerns raised by the NPP, the NDC appears to be jittery of the call for a fresh register, raising suspicion that the ruling party might have deliberately padded the register with foreign voters in what some people have sarcastically called the 'ECOWAS voter register.'
Even if it is proven that there are Togolese nationals on Ghana's electoral roll, the NDC insists that in itself is not sufficient basis to request that a new register be compiled.
'We are convinced beyond any doubt that the NPP deliberately manufactured this lie to justify unfounded calls by them and their surrogates for a new voter register. We find it curious that days after the NPP, in a bizarre press statement, claimed that some persons were going round collecting voter ID cards of unsuspecting Ghanaians with promises of giving them loans and jobs, such dubious claims about the voter register should be made,' the NDC chief scribe noted.
General Mosquito also raised issues with Dr Bawumia's reliance on figures from the Ghana Statistical Service to support his claims. 'He [referring to Dr Bawumia] has always condemned the service in terms of figures they provide on the economy,' he said.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu