Kwabena Agyapong, NPP General Secretary
Kwabena Agyapong, NPP General Secretary

To the surprise of many, the party, which until recently has described the current register as irredeemably flawed, and that it contains 76000 Togolese, has now joined the ruling National Democratic Congress, the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers and other groups calling on the EC to consider auditing the register instead of compiling a new one.

Kwabena Agyapong
Kwabena Agyapong

This hint was first dropped over the weekend by NPP General Secretary, Kwabena Agyei Agyapong, who is calling on the election management body to as a matter of urgency cause an investigation into their claims of a bloated electoral register ahead of the 2016 elections.

In a recent statement, the NPP scribe tasked the EC ?to conduct a thorough transparent investigation into the specific evidence of flaws in the voters? register as contained in the party?s petition to the EC dated 18 August, 2015 and 22 September 2015.?

?The evidence presented to the EC includes multiple registrations, massive cross-border registrations, presence of scanned photographs in the register, unexplained bloating and discrepancies in the EC?s own numbers on the ?presidential? register, and the unusual, curious, strange and improbable increases in constituency numbers between electoral cycles.

?The NPP believes such an investigation will throw independent light on the veracity of the evidence detailed in the party?s petition. The findings of this investigation, placed before stakeholders, will serve as basis of fruitful discussion on the urgency for a new voters? register,? the statement added.

The NPP?s new position on the voter register has also been reiterated by its 2016 flag bearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in one of his speaking engagements in London.

Until his recent forceful charged on the EC to compile a new register, Nana Akufo has since last year been a strong advocate for the auditing of the Ghana voters register.

“Our message to Dr Afari Gyan and the Electoral Commission is simple: we need a register that truly represents those who are entitled to vote in Ghana. The current register is bogus. We are not interested in playing the blame game. We are only interested in doing what is right for our democracy. Let us all work together on this. Ghanaian elections should not be West African election.”

These were the words of Nana Akufo-Addo when he addressed the delegates of the NPP at the Radach Memorial Hall, in Tamale, ahead of the Special Electoral College and presidential primary of the Party in July last year.

As a first step before the District Assembly election, Akufo-Addo called on the Electoral Commission to heed to the calls of civil society and political parties (including PPP, PNC, CPP and NPP) to allow for an independent, forensic audit of the existing biometric voters register.

“I am told the entire process, from the opening of competitive international bids to the completion of the forensic biometric audit, could take up to a couple of months. This first step can be taken before the next District Assembly Election. To do this will send a strong signal to the country that the Electoral Commission is sincere and serious on the question of electoral reforms.

Let the audit of the current register serve as a key step to restoring public confidence in our electoral system. It is an important decision that we have to take to consolidate our democracy,” Nana Akufo-Addo stated.

Nana Akufo-Addo made these comments on the back of a ruling by the Supreme Court, which prohibited the EC from allowing the use of the National Health Insurance cards for the voters’ registration exercise.

The NPP?s gradual shift from their previous position on the matter of the Ghanaian voter register was manifested when its kingpin and former second deputy Speaker of Parliament, Prof Aeron Mike Ocquaye on Tuesday, called on the world?s largest international police organization, INTERPOL, to investigate Ghana’s voters register which his party strongly believes was bloated with foreigners.

Delivering a speech at a debate organized by the Institute of Economic Affairs on Ghana’s voters register, Prof Mike Ocquaye said “Forensic examinations prevail in the world. If we don?t have the expertise, foreigners can help us. This is a matter where Interpol should come in. In fact, we expect that by this time, these matters must have been handed over to the Police already.

Some people are alleging such serious criminal offences. In a matter that touches and concerns the very essence of the Republic, the people?s choice as to who should govern them; these are verifiable. As at today, nobody has come to make any Police investigations or asked any questions.”

The biggest opposition party?s latest stance on the voter register has long been the position of the NDC, Peoples National Convention; Centre for Democratic Governance, Institute of Democratic Governance, pollster Ben Ephson and other respected individuals and civil society groups.

Indeed, the EC itself has long hinted of a forensic auditing of the voter register like the election management body of Togo did in their recently held election instead of compiling a new one.

Chairperson of the EC, Charlotte Osei only recently announced that the EC has engaged the services of IT experts to help review the register. This was after the EC received about 30 proposals from political parties, faith based and civil society organizations and individuals.

In the midst of these developments, the NPP, having realized the EC is not likely to yield to their demands after it has emerged that President Mahama never called for new register for Togo coupled with how some civil society groups and Ghanaians have lampooned their supposed evidence of flawed register, has now joined the long queue of political parties and individuals demanding an audit of the register.

The NPP was to suffer yet another blow in its demand for a new voter register when a Senior Lecturer at the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, Dr. Ransford Gyampoh, at the IEA forum; described the opposition party?s call for fresh voter register as hollow, selective and baseless.

?How valid, reliable and truthful are these allegations coming from a party seeking to capture political power. In Ghana, the history of our fourth republic shows that anytime political parties are seeking to annex power, they indulge in all manner of things and so shouldn?t these allegations first be thoroughly investigated by the EC?? he queried.

Dr. Gyampoh also questioned why most of the supposed evidence of foreigners on the nations register presented by the NPP, has ?been limited to only areas close to NDC?s stronghold, particularly Togo.?

?Where are the other compelling border towns? evidence? It is important for us not to lose sight of the fact that, our constitution favors dual citizenship. I must say, it is however silent on the right of such people to register as voters but this silence of the constitution.

Source : Al-Hajj

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