The 2016 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says the most effective way the Electoral Commission can regain the confidence of Ghanaians, lost in the aftermath of the disputed elections of 2012, will be through the compilation of a new voters’ register ahead of the 2016 elections.
According to Nana Akufo-Addo, Ghanaians are no longer interested in resorting to the courts to settle electoral disputes, but, rather, prefer that the EC concentrates on reforming the country’s electoral process, so that the integrity deficit being suffered by the EC is corrected.
The NPP flagbearer made this known in separate meetings in Washington DC, with the Centre for Global Development and the National Endowment for Democracy, all leading think tanks, on Wednesday, October 22.
Quoting from the CDD’s Afrobarometer report in 2014 which reported that public trust in EC has gone down from 80%, before the 2012 elections, to 42% in 2014, Nana Akufo-Addo explained this represents a significant indicator that public confidence in the EC is at an all-time low.
Additionally, the NPP flagbearer read from the damning report by the UNDP on Ghana’s Electoral Commission (“Conduct of an Institutional Assessment and the Development a Strategic Plan for the Electoral Commission of Ghana”), issued 2 months ago (16 August 2015) which stressed that: “the EC used to be the most trusted institution in the country; but not anymore.”
The UNDP report, according to Nana Akufo-Addo, concludes by categorically stating that “substantial amount has been invested on the biometric registration and verification; however, there is still no reliable voter register.”
Kofi Annan, the NPP flagbearer indicated, had also, in the aftermath of the 2012 election petition, urged the EC “not to be blinded to the flaws in Ghana’s electoral system,” and that “all concerned need to work energetically to ensure that these flaws are addressed through the necessary institutional reform.”
To this end, three of the five main political parties in Ghana, who accounted for nearly 50% of the presidential votes in 2012, have called for a new register and proposed measures to tackle the flaws encountered in compiling the 2012 register.
We’re awaiting the response of the Electoral Commission to the mounting pressure, which seeks to address these critical problems.
“We have presented comprehensive proposals on electoral reforms. A consensus has been built on many of them. But, the one issue that is threatening confidence in the 2016 race is the stubborn refusal of the ruling party to the compilation of a new, credible register,” he said.
Nana Akufo-Addo, however, urged the new EC boss, Mrs Charlotte Osei, “to know that she can call on such renowned organisations like The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), National Democratic Institute (NDI), the International Republican Institute (IRI), National Endowment for Democracy (NED), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), to support Ghana resolve this matter early for the budgetary considerations to be also looked at, hand in hand, timeously.”
He continued, “Other countries in the region, such as Tanzania, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, and Kenya, have all ditched their similarly young but defective registers for new, credible ones. Why can’t Ghana do the same?”
The NPP flagbearer was convinced that the simple explanation why the NDC government and President Mahama want the flawed register of 2012 maintained for 2016 is because “the government believes a suspect register is the only way to guarantee victory. After all, if the administration of President John Mahama was to compete based on its record alone, its re-election would be almost unconceivable.”
In concluding, Nana Akufo-Addo noted that it is time that Ghana’s friends among the world’s leading nations realized there are significant problems brewing in one of their favourite African countries, which can be avoided. All well-meaning Ghanaians are interested in maintaining the reputation of Ghana as a peaceful, stable, democratic nation.
“Serious changes must be made to the electoral infrastructure if we are to have a chance for a genuinely democratic election. And if those changes are to happen, they have to happen now. We must start today. The clock is running out. We need your concern, your support, and your vigilance. The Ghanaian people deserve a free, fair, and credible election next year,” he ended.
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