Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Charlotte Osei, has finally admitted she lied about her own claim that there are 200,000 ghost names in the voter register in the Ashanti Region.
The EC boss had earlier claimed on Accra-based Joy FM that some 200,000 multiple voters have been identified in the voter register in the region, well over the total number of multiple voters the elections organizing body claimed to have earlier identified in the register nationwide.
At a press conference in Accra last week, the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) questioned the EC boss' claim.
The 2016 Campaign Manager of the party, Peter Mac Manu, who addressed the press conference, raised doubts about Madam Charlotte Osei's credibility.
He wondered how the “EC in its response to the NPP claimed on page 23 that 150,000 names had been identified as multiples nationwide. How is it possible therefore for the EC to identify as much as 200,000 names in the Ashanti Region alone?”
However, when she was confronted with the issue on Accra-based Starr FM last week, the EC boss could not but admit her mistake.
She admitted having mixed up the figures concerning multiple registrations in the Ashanti Region.
“I made a mistake with the figures and I think it's really important that we clarify it and we put it on record…with regard to the suspected multiple registrations which are on the exception's list,” she said.
For the Northern Region for instance, the EC boss indicated, “We have…about 83,000 people registered and we have suspected multiples of 8,169, Upper West region; 24,000 registered with suspected multiples of 2,279 still in the process of adjudicating.”
In the case of the Volta Region, she talked of over 52,000 registrations with suspected multiples of 4,000; Western Region, 91,000 registrations, suspected multiples of 7,000 plus, whiles in the Central Region, 92,000 registrations, with suspected multiples of 5,968. Greater Accra Region, 162,000 registrations, suspected multiples of 11,555; Upper East Region, 35,849 registrations and suspected multiples, 2977.
“Eastern; 93,000 registrations, 5,490 suspected duplicates; Ashanti Region, 200,559 registrations not multiples and 14,651 suspected multiples – it's still the highest but it's not 200,000. And then Brong-Ahafo is 89,000 registrations with 6,964 suspected multiples,” Mrs Osei disclosed.
That notwithstanding she said, “But again, to be clear the multiple registrations are not in the actual register.”
She revealed, “They are on an exception's list and as we adjudicate and take a final decision then they are either deleted totally or the ones that pass the test of credible, legitimate registrations are now added to the register.”
But Mr Peter Mac Manu doubts the E's commitment to ensure free and fair elections come November, when the country goes to the polls.
Responding to the issue about the EC boss' sudden u-turn, he said one of the hallmarks of an efficient and effective electoral management body is the point of accuracy and therefore demanded “the Commission to be accurate with figures they churn out.”
He queried in an interview with DAILY GUIDE, “Did the figures on Ashanti multiple registration emanate from the Commission as a whole or the chairperson alone? Was it a decision of the EC chair alone ?The EC chairperson is merely primus inter pares and cannot carry on as if the authority of the Commission is vested in her position as chair of the Commission.”
That notwithstanding, Mr Mac Manu said, “Accuracy, transparency, openness, inclusiveness are what we expect from the Commission to regain the lost public confidence.”
By Charles Takyi-Boadu