Mr Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, the Director of Elections of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), has said the posture of the Electoral Commission (EC) on the compilation of a new biometric voters register threatens the country’s peace and democratic development.
He said the EC, by its stance, had shown grave disrespect to the commission’s Eminent Advisory Committee, the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, and other well-meaning Ghanaians who had agreed to mediate in the disagreement over the compilation of a new biometric voters register.
Mr Afriyie Ankrah, whose party is a member of the Inter-party Resistance Against the New Voters Register, explained that the group’s decision to suspend its demonstrations and other planned activities was to show respect to the personalities involved in the mediation.
He gave an assurance that it would resume and escalate its planned activities to compel the EC to listen to reason if the mediation failed.
He said Ghana’s democracy was the envy of many in the world and Africa and the EC must be mindful not to plunge the country into chaos.
Listen to reason
Mr Afriyie Ankrah said the EC had so far failed to advance any cogent arguments to justify its decision to procure a new biometric voter management system (BVMS) and compile a new voters register.
He said for 18 respectable civil society organisations (CSOs) and other experts to shoot down the EC’s reasons for the new register showed that the commission had no basis.
“What is the EC’s motivation for insisting on pursuing the same path that others had kicked against?” he asked.
“It is a procurement scam. After all, the EC just procured more of the devices for the referendum on the creation of new regions, as well as the district level elections in December, last year,” he added.
Mr Afriyie Ankrah said it was not possible for the EC to compile the new register in six weeks, as it had outlined, especially when the National Identification Authority (NIA) had taken more than a year to register only 7.2 million, with about half of those registered yet to receive their cards.
Moreover, he said, the EC kept giving contradictory figures of the projected number of voters to be registered, saying: “In one breath, the EC projects 10 million, and in another, 17 million voters to be registered.”
“Where is its projection coming from?” he asked.
He reminded the EC that voter registration had a history of creating more tension in the country than even voting day, hence the need for the commission to tread cautiously.
In response to the question as to why the coalition would not encourage its members to register, he said the wastage involved in undertaking the exercise, as well as the timing, should not be countenanced by any reasonable Ghanaian.
Mr Afriyie Ankrah asked the EC to rethink its argument of independence, since the same Constitution reminded the independent institutions about the need for their actions to be reasonable.
“The EC must seek to build consensus and not take a posture that is not good for our democracy. Truth is one,” he said.
He said there was trouble in neighbouring countries all based on electoral issues and said the EC must be mindful of that and help Ghana preserve its image as an oasis of peace.