The Director of Communication of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akomea says the party will win this year’s general elections -‘with or without’ credible voters’ register. According to him, Ghanaians are fed up with the unacceptable incompetence of the Mahama led NDC administration –hence their resolve to vote them out.
That notwithstanding, he said the NPP still wants a credible register for the conduct of this year’s elections –explaining that the continuous demand for a register that is reliable and credible does not reside on the party’s fortunes. “It is just a matter of principle”, he added.
“There is no doubt that the Voters Register is hopelessly bloated and, therefore, not fit for purpose for the 2016 elections,” Nana Akomea noted at a press conference he addressed in Accra yesterday to clarify the NPP’s position on the cleaning of the register ahead the November 7 polls. He, however, reiterated that the setback would not stop NPP’s victory in the polls.
This victory, according to the Nana Akomea, is imminent as a result of the depressed and troubled nature of the economy.
“A change that will make way for a competent, honest, hardworking and well-qualified team to take over the affairs of this country and steer it in the direction of prosperity for all, instead of the current state of affairs which dwells on prosperity for the friends and family of the people in power,” he said.
Last year, the NPP, led by its vice presidential candidate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, ran a ‘Facial Biometric Recognition’ on the current voters’ register leading to a massive discovery of 76,286 Togolese names on it. This, therefore, renders the register “incurably flawed”, with “lingering disparity”, stated Dr. Bawumia at a news conference christened -“The Case for a New Voters’ Register.”
The NPP has since advocated for a completely new register as a solution to the bloated register –but the EC believed otherwise, stating that compiling a fresh register was unnecessary. The EC, therefore, explained that the current procedures under Constitutional Instrument (CI) 72 and now 91 which provided the mechanism for exhibition for cleaning records in the register are sufficiently enough to ensure its (the register’s) credibility –a decision the NPP found unacceptable.
Nana Akomea said the EC’s stand was a complete disregard to recommendations of the five member panel it constituted to look into the NPP’s claims.
He said the EC’s committee or Panel of Experts categorically repudiated the exhibition process as a mechanism to sanitize the register and make it applicable in the upcoming elections. Nana Akomea told the news conference that EC’s Panel of Experts contended on page 17 and paragraph 17 of its report to the EC that:
“Judging by the sheer numbers, the Electoral Commission’s proposition to display the register, with political parties, the Electoral Commission and the citizenry to identify and point out invalid names, IS NOT A VIABLE APPROACH, particularly when the persons who identify these records are expected to expend their time, energy and resources not only to provide the evidence but also to testify before a court of competent jurisdiction. “
The Panel continued on page 18 to cast doubt over the effectiveness of the current system under CI 72 and 91 respectively to achieve the set goals of “eliminating invalid records from the register,” he pointed out. “So in the clear opinion of the EC’s own Panel,” the process of cleaning the unreasonably bloated register via exhibition is “simply not viable and inadequate,” he told the journalists.
Owing to the Panel’s recommendations, Nana Akomea called on the EC to refocus the exhibition process to a confirmation process where voters will go to validate their records. Nana Akomea said the recommended confirmation process was vastly superior to the exhibition process advocated by the EC and compares favourably to the process of compiling a new register.
Meanwhile, reports indicate that the EC had finally agreed to conduct the proposed validation of the voters’ register by its Panel of Experts. The EC in principle agreed to verify the register ahead of the elections in a document titled ‘Audit of Voters’ register’ per media reportage Monday. This position was a sharp retrace to its earlier entrenched stance–which it would not alter because it was perfect.
But the pressure group, Let My Vote Count Alliance (LMVC), said it was treating the media reports with cautious optimism, stating that it suspected the EC had switched positions just to shrug off criticisms.
“We will jump and clap over that. We want to see the Commission put their words into action, otherwise we see it as an avenue to deceive Ghanaians into thinking that the EC is changing its position, but in actual fact nothing will change,” said LMVC’s convener, David Asante, in an interview with Samuel Bokeem of Hello FM in Kumasi on Monday.