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17.12.2019 General News

Reasons For New Biometric Voters Register untenable – Chamber For Local Governance

By News Desk
Reasons For New Biometric Voters Register untenable – Chamber For Local Governance
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The Chamber for Local Governance (ChaLoG) has described as "highly untenable” reasons given by the Electoral Commission (EC) to compile a new biometric voters register ahead of the 2020 general election.

It said if the current register was not fit for use in the general election, then it could also not be used in the district assembly election.

It pointed out that both the district assembly election and the general election were of equal importance and as such must be organised with one accepted register.

"The EC should know or ought to have known that Ghana’s Constitution places the same premium on all elections in this country, be it district-level elections or presidential and/or parliamentary elections,” it said in a statement issued in Accra.

It said it did not understand how a register that had been used for the past seven years to conduct the 2012 and 2016 elections, some district-level elections and a referendum could suddenly be outmoded and obsolete.

It said the demand for the compilation of a new biometric voters register by the EC was, therefore, not sincere.

Background
In March 2019, the EC announced that it would compile a new voters’ register after an Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting held on Wednesday, March 27, 2019.

They explained that the need for a new biometric register had been necessitated by several factors, including the need to replace the outmoded biometric machines.

Defective register
However, ChaLoG said it was "this same ‘defective and non-credible’ biometric voters register which is to be used for the conduct of today’s (December 17, 2019) district-level elections and would also have been used for the referendum to amend Article 55 (3) if the bill were not to have been withdrawn by the President on December 1, 2019”.

“What then constitutes the compelling reason(s) why the EC is now telling Ghanaians that this same biometric voters register which has been used in the past and is also to be used to conduct the upcoming district-level elections today has become defective and non-credible, which is necessitating a compilation of a new biometric voters register?" it queried.

"It is, therefore, unthinkable and unconstitutional for the EC to purport to use a ‘defective and non-credible’ biometric voters register to conduct today’s district-level elections and yet go ahead to compile a new ‘non-defective and credible’ biometric voters register to conduct the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections,” it said.

The statement said it, therefore, found the decision by the EC to deliberately use a ‘defective and non-credible’ biometric voters register to conduct the upcoming district-level elections to be "a very serious affront to local governance practice and a slap in the face of the 1992 Republican Constitution”.

---graphic.com.gh

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