Vice President of Policy Think Tank, IMANI Africa, Selorm Branttie, has joined calls for the Electoral Commission (EC) to put on hold its plans to compile a new voters’ register.
Despite the stiff opposition by some quarters, an amount of GH¢390 million has been approved for the compilation of a new voters’ register and procurement of new biometric verification system which the EC believes will be more credible and efficient than the existing one.
But speaking on The Big Issue on Saturday, Mr Branttie said, a new voters register should only be considered after the completion of the ongoing National Identification (ID) registration exercise and the upcoming population census since it will afford the country the opportunity to synchronise the data from all the exercises and have an “accurate” register.
“I think this particular decision to do this hasn’t been well thought through, [and] hasn’t been planned and there is no long term vision around this particular exercise now. I see it more as just one procurement gig that is just supposed to happen. I am saying that because we have used this particular register for some time now including two in the middle of last year so what are the inconsistencies that are so glaring that we need to dump the whole thing and go for a new one?”
“I have heard the argument that we want to do the facial recognition system and that the equipment are obsolete and all that but the EC had at least two years and so they could have started such exercises and even concluded it last year. They didn’t do that and preferred to use the systems until now and so if that is the case why don’t we use it like that and then wait until next year when the census would have been done and the National Identification System has been done so that we can even synchronise all these systems. With this information we can even extrapolate what an accurate register will be,” he argued.
Mr Branttie added that if the EC were to go ahead with the compilation of the new voters’ register they may be faced with the task of compiling another register in 2024 if the data of the population census and that of the National ID registration was to differ from that of the new voters’ register.
“I can tell you now that if we decide to go ahead with this voters registration now there are going to be three points of data that people are always going to use to argue about why we need another voters register in 2024 because the census full data will be out, the national ID data will also be out and this particular data will also be out and then you will have people arguing about differences here and there so I believe that if there are national exercises that have been planned years ahead for the counting of us, humans, in Ghana we do not need this exercise at this time”.
He also argued that the political atmosphere of the country is not ready for the issues that come with the compilation of a new register
“Even looking at the political temperature I think it is an exercise in futility for us to undergo this exercise while the census and national identification activities are going on because then we are still doing the same mistakes that we have done before”.
Inter-Party Resistance Against New Voter Register stage “Tikusayi” demo in Tamale
Eight political parties opposing the new voters’ register in Ghana organised a demonstration exercise in Tamale in the Northern Region on Saturday to express their disappointment against the move by Electoral Commission (EC) to compile a new electoral roll ahead of the 2020 general elections.
The demonstrators were made up of supporters of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Convention People’s Party (CPP), People’s National Convention (PNC), Eagle Party, All People’s Party (APC), Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Clad in red, the hundreds of demonstrators marched through principal streets of the capital singing, chanting and wielding placards with inscriptions such as ‘Nana Bring Back Ndoum not register’, ‘Jean Mensah your days are numbered’, ‘Mr President why GHS443 million’ to indicate their opposition to the EC’s decision.