Thirteen political parties say the Electoral Commission’s (EC) decision to compile a new voters’ register ahead of the 2020 general elections is necessary.
The parties believe the EC has made a solid case for a new register in terms of cost, time and credibility.
The parties are made up of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG), National Democratic Party (NDP), People’s National Convention (PNC), Convention People’s Party (CPP) the United Progressive Party (UPP), Ghana Freedom Party (GFP), United Love Party (ULP), New Vision Party (NVP), Yes People’s Party (YPP), Democratic People’s Party (DPP), Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) and the Reformed Patriotic Democrats Party (RDP).
Addressing the media at a press conference, leader of the Coalition of Political Parties for ‘YES’ to a new register, the LPG’s Kofi Akaploo, called on all other political parties in the country to rally behind the EC to organise a free and fair election.
“The EC has made a solid case for a new register in terms of cost, time and credibility. We support the compilation of new register and we expect all political parties to support the EC in the quest to deliver a better-organsied election than before.”
The LPG founder also criticised the National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) opposition to the compilation of a new voters register.
The NDC is part of a group of opposition political parties known as the Inter-Party Resistance Against New Voter Register that has planned to stage three different demonstration exercises against the EC.
The group is made up of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the United Progressive Party (UPP), the All People’s Congress (APC) and the United Front Party (UFP).
Mr. Akaploo insisted that these parties “are hell-bent on opposing improvement to our electoral system.”
“We are saddened by the continued bashing of the EC by the NDC. We know it is deliberate… we wish to call on all well-meaning Ghanaians to call the so-called main opposition party to order,” he added.
He further said the NDC was proving to be “a danger to the confidence generated in the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC).
“You will notice that consistently any time we all sit at IPAC and take a decision, the NDC will come out to contradict what we had all agreed on. Any time the NDC has to work with other political parties in the national interest, they turn around and stab the nation in the back.”
The NDC has maintained that the EC’s move to compile a new biometric voters’ register is illogical.
The General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah said the new register “defies logic and must be fiercely resisted as we in the NDC intend to do.”
“The current voters’ register was used recently to successfully elect about 6,600 district assembly members and about 33,000 unit committee members. Yet the Electoral Commission is telling us that the same register cannot be used to elect one person and 275 Members of Parliament,” Asiedu Nketia said.
The EC has asked Parliament to approve GH¢444,846,663 for the compilation of a new voters register which it believes will be more credible and efficient than the existing one.
The commission also says there is the need to replace outmoded biometric machines.
The Director of Elections at the EC, Dr. Serebour Quaicoe justified the plans saying there was a need to tackle verification challenges that occur on Election Day.
“We have made it very clear that the current biometric system is not good enough for future activities. We are having a lot of challenges with it. In addition to that, a lot of people have found it difficult to have their fingerprints picked up by the machine so we intend to introduce the facial recognition [option] in addition so that if your fingerprint fails, your image will be used for verification.”
Dr. Serebour Quaicoe, also clarified that the said amount is not only for the procurement of equipment but to among other things cater to the full cost of undertaking a fresh registration exercise.