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19.04.2020 Opinion

Electoral Commission's Desperation To Compile A New Voter's Register; Rather A Recipe For An Incredible Voter's' Register

By Bilal Muazu
Electoral Commission's Desperation To Compile A New Voter's Register; Rather A Recipe For An Incredible Voter's' Register
LISTEN APR 19, 2020

The EC's desperation of compiling new voters register towards the 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections will rather temper the credibility of the Voter's register.

This has attracted a call from section of Ghanaians, Political Parties and Civil Society Organizations to digest and declare their positions on the issue. Various forums have been held to critically scrutinize whether or not we need a new voter's register.

Frankly and sincerely, many Political Parties (over 13), majority of Ghanaians and CSOs (like IMANI, CDD, CEGA, CODEO, etc) are of the view that it is needless to compile a new voter's register for the upcoming elections describing the current register as robust and credible for 2020 Elections. These Civil Society Organizations consider the justification of the EC and its chairs for the compilation of the new voter's register as baseless.

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The EC has declined all efforts made by major stakeholders (recently by CODEO, CDD & IMANI) to halt the compilation of the new voter's register despite the calls. It has proceeded to issue an itinerary for their engagements and preparation towards their planned activity.

As part of the numerous concerns raised include the timelines proposed within the planned schedule of the EC. On the18th of April, 2020 was the proposed date the EC gave to start the new compilation. As we can all clearly testify, the activity has been postponed indefinitely which means there will be further adjustments made to all the timelines proposed.

The decision of the Electoral Commission to use only Passport and NIA Card as the primary source for the compilation of a new voters register is a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise Ghanaians from getting registered and completely discredit the electoral credibility of our country. This was made known in the CI which was presented to parliament for approval.

The EC's claim to use the Ghana Card as it,'s major primary source for the compilation of the new voter's register will rather worsen the case.

The National Identification Authority (NIA) has registered only *8,733,440* eligible Ghanaians for the Ghana Card as at Tuesday, February 11, 2020, with *7,436,522* cards printed and *5,332,620* issued to applicants (Over *2 million* people who registered haven't had their cards yet).

These numbers include children who may be less than 18 years of age who were registered as well.

In the 2016 Elections, the population of persons on the voter's register was *15,712,499*. In contrast, over 8 million Ghanaians whose names were on the 2016 voters register will be disenfranchised during the registration.

Considering the Regional breakdown for NIA registration, all Regions where registration was completed had a lower turnout of registered numbers except the Ashanti region which recorded numbers over the 2016 voter population for the region.

For issues about timelines, it is obvious the EC cannot make up their own proposed timelines as the whole process is being compromised by indefinite postponement to begin the compilation of the new register.

With barely 7 months to elections, any attempt to rush through the process to get a new register for the upcoming elections will seem to compromise the credibility of the new register making it susceptible to generate electoral violence and chaos which may hinder the peace and stability of our beloved country.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and per the President's directives on social gathering and lockdown to combat the deadly pandemic, it will be inappropriate to endanger the lives of Ghanaians at the expense of a new voter's register.

I hereby call on the EC to put a hold on all activities geared towards the compilation of a new register and rather focus on building capacity on the existing register to which its credibility is not in doubt.

The current register has been used for several elections since 2012 and provided us with credible results which the EC ascribed it to a 99.96% success in the just ended District and Local level elections.

Signed

Bilal Muazu

(NDC Regional Youth Organizer - Bono East Region)

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