The Majority leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu has described the National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) resistance to a new voters' register as an indication of fear of losing the 2020 general elections.
The EC has asked Parliament to approve GH¢444,846,663 for the compilation of a new voters’ register which it believes will be more credible and efficient than the existing one, adding that here is the need to replace outmoded biometric machines.
The NDC, however, maintains that the Electoral Commission's move to compile a new biometric voters' register is illogical.
Speaking at the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) annual delegates conference, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu was confident the new voters’ register will even make the elections more credible.
“When the Electoral Commission applies to be allocated money to do a wholesale registration of voters with upgraded and much more sophisticated biometric system, which apart from the fingerprints, will capture facial biometrics to help the country clean up the existing voters’ register which we all acknowledge is bloated, our colleagues walked out saying that the bloated register should not be messed with. What does it mean? It means that without the bloated register they cannot ever win any election. That is what they have to fear. It is the reason I reiterate the call for introspection and reflection especially how we conduct our parliamentary primaries.”
NDC calls for mass rejection of new voters' register
The NDC has disagreed with the Electoral Commission's (EC) decision to introduce a new voters' register ahead of the national polls in 2020.
Deputy General Secretary of the NDC, Peter Boamah Otokunor, said it is unnecessary for the government to spend such amount on compiling a new register while there are bigger problems to be solved, and hence, called for its rejection.
“The need to reject this attempt to introduce a new register is a collective public responsibility. It is a communal labour that all of us must join hands to make sure that we achieve. The reason is that it has core implications to the economics and the livelihoods of the people of this country. Nurses and teachers are on strike. There are so many economic demands that this government will need to invest money.”
“Obviously the reasons that they have presented for justification for this new voters' register is unacceptable and there is ample evidence to show that the current register is credible and all those new functions that they would want this register to perform can be upgraded and added on into the current system. So there is no need for a new voters' register,” he argued.
Meanwhile, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has welcomed the Electoral Commission's move for a new voters' register as long as it is the most efficient option available.
Yaw Buaben Asamoa, the Adentan MP and Communications Director of the party said the NPP will remain open to dialogue and the EC's point of view.
EC justifies new register
The EC's decision for a new register came after an Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting earlier this year with reasons that the existing register is not credible enough for the general elections in 2020.
Justifying this decision , Director of Elections at the Commission, Dr. Serebour Quaicoe insisted that the current register should be replaced to make it more capable of tackling the verification challenges that occur during elections.
He also explained that the said amount is not only for the procurement of equipment but to among other things cater for the full cost of registration.
“The amount we are talking about is the total cost of registration, recruitment and what have you. So it's not only for the equipment and software. So that amount shouldn't be perceived only for the equipment. So whether we upgrade or not, we will still incur the cost of registration. So that is the cost of registration,” he said.