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The predictable, but still shocking, announcement by the Vice-Presidential Candidate of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, that some humongous 76,286 names of Togolese citizens have been found in Ghana’s Voters’ Register, makes my argument for auditing the current Voters’ Register in the lead-up to Election 2016 all the more imperative (See “Bawumia Uncovers 76,000 Togolese In Ghana’s Voter Roll” Adomonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 8/18/15).

VotersNow what is important to think about as well as do about this patent act of criminality of the highest order, is not to simply and facilely open a new Voters’ Register, but to find a foolproof means of preventing the sort of laxity or criminal complicity that enabled the names of these Togolese citizens and their data to appear on the Voters’ Register of both countries. We are told that this act of electoral fraud was uncovered in the Ketu-South constituency of the Volta Region, one of the virtually hermetic strongholds of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).

In the recent past, for example, the NDC’s Volta Regional Chairman has publicly harangued President John Dramani Mahama for not allocating to the putative NDC Electoral World Bank, the region’s fair share of our national development resources, in spite of the fact that the Volta Region had been consistently diligent in delivering victory to the Rawlings-minted National Democratic Congress from one election season to another. Now, what must be done is for a commission of independent investigators to be established by Parliament to enquire into such epic act of criminality.

We can also be certain that if such a whopping number and percentage of Togolese nationals could find their way onto Ghana’s Voters’ Register in the Ketu-South constituency alone, what could the real number of ineligible voters be when the Voters’ Registers of all the constituencies in the Volta Region are audited? Needless to say, even as Dr. Bawumia aptly suggested, the same auditing process ought to be conducted between our national Voters’ Register and those of Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast. Then also, a full-scale enquiry must be opened into the number and percentage of underage Ghanaians tacked onto the Voters’ Register by Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, the former Chairman of the Electoral Commission, who admitted to the same before the Atuguba-presided Supreme Court panel that presided over the Akufo-Addo-led 2012 Presidential-Election Petition.

Prior to the latest scandalous revelation, it had always been widely known that countless numbers of Togolese nationals had routinely crossed into Ghana to illegally participate in our general elections. What makes Dr. Bawumia’s revelation incontrovertible is the process by which the 76,286 Togolese nationals were tacked onto Ghana’s Voters’ Register. Still, matters may be a little more complicated than the mere fact of these apparently bona fide Togolese nationals having had their vital statistics scanned into the computerized data system of Ghana’s Electoral Commission (GEC). Dr. Bawumia may be perfectly accurate in his assertion of the 76,000-plus people being of Togolese descent, nationality and citizenship.

But there is a catch here, too: what if a remarkable percentage of these people also turn out to possess dual-citizenship of both countries? Of course, it would still not negate the fact that these people were not enrolled “live” or in person onto Ghana’s Voters’ Register. I also stick to my argument on the need for the Volta Regional NDC Chairman’s allegation of his region’s “unique role” in putting President Mahama in office to be thoroughly investigated. One thing also has to send a rude-awakening signal to the 2016 Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, regarding the imperative need for him not to be facilely taken in by the magnitude of the crowds that gather to hear him speak at campaign rallies in the Volta Region.

In other words, Akufo-Addo would be much better off spending the budgetary allocation earmarked for his electioneering campaign in the Volta Region in the conduct of the sort of meticulous auditing that brought the latest presumable NDC Voter’s Register scam to light. Furthermore, unless those who caused the Ketu-South electoral scam-artistry are promptly identified, indicted and vigorously prosecuted or brought to justice, I don’t see how the mere establishment of a new Voters’ Register could do the trick, as it were.

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
E-mail: [email protected]

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