The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has reiterated its request for a new voters register for the 2016 elections.
According to the party, the electoral register in its current state was incurably flawed and could not be relied on for the all-important 2016 election.
This was contained in a request letter sent to the new EC Chairperson, Mrs Charlotte Osei, a copy of which the Daily Graphic has. The letter is under the heading “Request for a New Voters Register.”
The letter reminded the EC of the essence of time in the exercise and, therefore, urged the new head of the EC to take the opportunity to give the country a fresh start by handling the matter with the urgency it required.
‘’A fresh registration will go a long way to rebuild public confidence in the electoral process and this is essential for the successful conduct of a peaceful, free and fair election in 2016,’’ the letter, signed by the party’s General Secretary, Mr Kwabena Agyei Agyepong, and copied to the party’s flag bearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the national chairmen and the general secretaries of all the political parties, diplomatic missions and the National Peace Council stated.
It, therefore, reiterated its earlier request to the EC to consider conducting a fresh registration for a new voters register for the 2016 elections.
It gave an assurance that the EC could count on the party’s full co-operation and support and that it was particularly keen that under Mrs Osei’s leadership, the EC would be able to discharge this huge responsibility, stating that the party was looking forward to a meeting to discuss its concerns and the way forward for Ghana.
Other political parties which have expressed similar concerns are the Convention People’s Party (CPP), the People’s National Convention (PNC), the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) and the National Democratic Party (NDP).
In an interview with the Daily Graphic recently, the Chairperson and Leader of the CPP, Madam Samia Yaba Nkrumah, underscored the need for a new register, stressing, “In view of the controversies the current voters register has generated election year after election year, there is no doubt that we need to do something about it and, for that matter, we cannot go into the 2016 Election with the old voters register.”
The PPP has also advocated a continuous registration of voters when they attain age 18.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) is, however, of the view that efforts must rather be made to improve the biometric verification system currently in use.
The NPP had previously made representations to the EC to consider conducting a fresh registration of voters.
In a 30-page document; “PROPOSALS FOR ELECTORAL REFORM”, that the party submitted to the commission, it outlined the justification for the request, citing a number of reasons including the Supreme Court declaration in the case of Abu Ramadan and Another vs Electoral Commission and Attorney General (Writ No. J1/11/2014) that disallowed the use of NHIA cards as proof of qualification to register making it unconstitutional, void and of no effect.
“By this declaration, the Supreme Court effectively outlawed all NHIA card-based registrations. Since it will be extremely difficult to purge the existing register of all the registrations affected by the Supreme Court decision, it is our humble view that offering every potential voter a fresh opportunity to register will address this defect,” it stated.
According to the NPP, the EC had also refused to undertake proper auditing and comprehensive de-duplication of the 2012 biometric register with the required transparency which the NPP and other stakeholders demanded.
In that document, the NPP said it remained concerned with the disparity in the total number of registered voters provided by the EC at different times during the 2012 elections.
It also stated that the total number of registered voters for the parliamentary election in the 2012 elections stood at 13,628,817 whereas that of the presidential election, gazetted by the EC, was 14,158,890.
According to the document, a critical analysis of the 2010 population census and the 2012 biometric registration revealed several districts where the number of registered voters were in excess of the total population census figure for that district.
This is statistically impossible and clearly indicates a bloated register.
Time is of essence
The NPP’s request, therefore, reminded the EC that time was of essence and urged the EC to take this opportunity to give the country a fresh registration.
The letter intended to bring to the attention of the EC boss a major issue which the NPP believed must be resolved, and timeously so, for the 2016 general election but in the same vein congratulated Mrs Osei on her appointment as the new Chairperson of the EC.
“It is our fervent hope that your tenure will usher in a new era of collaboration and improved working relationship that will rebuild public confidence in elections administration in our motherland,” the letter said.