The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has challenged the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana to make its position clear on the recommendations by the five-member committee report which indicates a validation as a “middle way” of cleaning the voters’ register ahead of the upcoming general election.
The party argued that although the Electoral Commission has outrightly rejected calls for an entirely new register, it is playing footsie with a committee’s report which recommended validation as a cost-effective means of cleaning the voters’ register.
According to the Communications Director of the party, Nana Akomea, the NPP deems the recommendation of the panel of experts, commissioned by the EC, as a common ground at reaching a fairly decent voters’ register for the upcoming elections.
According to the NPP, the committee’s recommendation points to the need for a legislation that will turn the intended exhibition of the voters’ register by the EC into a confirmation process, which will require voters to appear to confirm their names, and those who fail to do so will be deemed dead or otherwise not eligible to vote in the 2016 elections.
“For the avoidance of any doubt whatsoever, the NPP states unequivocally that the party fully supports the considered option/recommendation by the EC'S own panel of experts for cleaning the 2016 Voters’ Register, whatever the description given the process”.
The party drew references from the committee’s report, which suggests validation as the best alternative under the circumstance to get the register cleaned.
According to the NPP, all indications in the committee’s report point to the fact that just exhibiting the voters’ register, an option which the EC strongly believes in as a sure way of cleaning the register, was not a viable option.
The party made reference to page 17 paragraph 17 of the report, which states:
“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 party further pointed to page 18 of the same report to buttress their claim.
In that reference, the panel had concluded that, "The system is not effective in achieving the set goals of eliminating invalid records from the register and must be reconsidered. It is said you cannot do the same thing and expect different results”.
These, according to the NPP, points to the fact that “in the clear opinion of the EC's own panel, the process of cleaning the register through the exhibition of the register is simply not viable and not adequate”.
The party is, however, concerned that the EC has since exhibited lack of commitment to implement recommendations of the committee to obtaining a cleaned voters’ register.
“What, therefore, should be the difficulty and controversy? Is there a difficulty on the part of the Electoral Commission in accepting and building consensus in implementing the faithful, considered recommendation of its own committee set up for that purpose? The EC will not accept the NPP’s proposal for a new register, despite the strong supporting evidence. Is the EC rejecting the clear proposal of its own committee too?” the party queried.
The NPP, however, says it will be a matter of grave concern and bewilderment if any obstacles are placed in the way of adopting and implementing a middle way recommended by the EC's own committee of experts in ensuring a free and fair election.
Source: The Finder
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