The Bishops/Pastors Network is calling on the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mrs. Charlotte Osei, to be bold and listen to the majority of Ghanaians who are calling for a new voters’ register for the conduct of December 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections.
In a letter, dated 22nd September, 2015, which was addressed to the EC Chairperson, and copied to the National Peace Council, Christian Council, the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference, the Ghana Pentecostal Council, the National Association of Christian and Charismatic Churches, the political parties and the media, the group explained that as network of clergy men it is their duty to pray for the leadership of the nation, and also add their voices to matters of national concern.
One such matter, Bishop Edmund Aryee, the Presiding Bishop of the Bishops/Pastors Network who appended his signature to the letter, said that a new voters’ register is of the utmost importance if Ghana is to have a credible, transparent and unsuspicious election.
According to Bishop Aryee, the current voters’ register has been associated with too many doubts, controversies, disputes, negative perceptions, errors, and many unanswered questions have deepened suspicions about the credibility of the region. The suspicions about the credibility of the voters' register, he stated, largely arose out of the 2012 election petition.
Again, the man of God added that these suspicions could lead to doubts being cast on the 2016 election, regardless of which party emerges victorious, and thereby trigger electoral violence in the aftermath of the December 2016 elections.
On the claims being made by Johnson Asiedu Nketia of the National Democratic Congress and Bernard Mornah of the People’s National Convention, who are both calling for a cleansing of the voters’ register instead of the compilation of a new one, he stated that this is not enough to clear doubts being harboured by the majority of the Ghanaian electorate, who will continue to remain suspicious about the authenticity of the current voters’ roll.
“To completely remove and cleanse these doubts and suspicions from the mind of the electorate, prevent violence and achieve a credible, free and fair election, the option revealed to us is a new voters’ register," Bishop Aryee said.
Bishop Aryee buttressed the point that “a new voters’ will not in any way give an advantage to any political party or candidate,” telling Mrs Charlotte Osei to “be bold and change the current register which is associated with too many doubts and suspicions.”
He added that “no matter the financial, a new voters’ register is far less costly than electoral violence, and loss of lives and properties.”
Bishop Aryee also recounted the efforts made by President Mahama when, as Chairman of ECOWAS, he recommended that the concerns of the opposition parties in Togo be addressed before the conduct of the 2015 election, which resulted in a new register being compiled and the ready acceptance of the results by all parties and stakeholders in Togo.
“If such a recommendation, through a Ghanaian former ECOWAS Chairman, helped to prevent electoral violence in our neighbouring country, Togo, why can’t Ghana also apply same recommendation in our country for the sake of peace?”, he asked.
“Be bold and use a new voter register for 2016”, he urged Mrs. Charlotte Osei.
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