The Electoral Commission insists it is being financially prudent with the decision to compile a new voters’ register.
Some opposition political parties organized under the umbrella; Inter-Party Resistance Against the New Voter Register, have vowed to resist all attempts to compile the new register.
They say the exercise will come at a great cost to the nation and does not guarantee credibility for the upcoming national elections.
However, the Head of Communications at the Electoral Commission, Sylvia Annor in a Citi News interview justified the Commission’s decision.
“The Electoral Commission has given certain figures to back the argument that we are raising. When we are talking about cost, in 2017, during the limited registration exercise, we spent GHC 487,980,714. Now the 2020 registration is expected to cost GHC 390, 265, 486 which is even cheaper than the limited registration conducted in 2016. And when you talk about the obsolete nature of the system, we spent 2 million ghana cedis to refurbish the old system and the vendor indicated in the report that going forward, we either need to acquire a new system and the upgrade was going to cost us more,” she said.
“Now the upgrade may cost us more. So if we make comparative analysis we can see that the Electoral Commission is being prudent with the management of the financial resources. The EC office has an open-door policy so if a group wants to meet the Electoral Commission, our doors are open,” Sylvia Annor added.
The decision to compile a new register has been met with criticisms by some political parties and stakeholders.
NDC on new register
The NDC from the inception of the Electoral Commission’s decision to introduce a new voter’s register has kicked against it fully.
The Deputy General Secretary of the NDC, Peter Boamah Otokunor said it was unnecessary for the government to spend such amount on compiling a new register while there are bigger problems to be solved, hence, called for its rejection.
President of IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe has also described the EC’s decision as reckless.
“Presumably, for a big announcement like this, all parties should be on board. It looks as if this is quite a reckless means of communicating a major decision that had not been thought through properly by all parties,” he said.
NPP on new register
Meanwhile, the governing New Patriotic Party has welcomed the Electoral Commission’s decision to compile a new voter’s register ahead of the national polls this year.
In recent developments, the NPP blamed the NDC’s resistance of the new voters’ register on their fear of losing the 2020 general elections.
EC still to introduce register
Amidst all these concerns from various political parties and groups, the EC still stands by its decision to compile a new register.
Addressing the media on the issue in December 2019, Deputy EC in charge of operations, Samuel Tettey, maintained that: “…the Commission will go ahead with the preparation of a new biometric voters’ register.”
Opposition political parties to demonstrate against EC over new voters’ register
A group of opposition political parties known as the Inter-Party Resistance Against New Voter Register have planned to stage three different demonstration exercises against the Electoral Commission to protest the compilation of a new voters’ register ahead of the 2020 general elections.
Addressing the press on Monday, January 6, 2020, the Founder of the All People’s Congress (APC), Hassan Ayariga, said the exercise by the EC is aimed at disenfranchising some electorates, hence their decision to undertake series of actions to convey their disapproval of the decision by the EC.
The group is made up of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), People’s National Convention (PNC), United Progressive Party (UPP), All People’s Congress (APC) and United Front Party (UFP).
January 11, 21 and 28 are the days the group has set to stage the demonstrations in Tamale, Kumasi and Accra respectively.
“We hold the view that any attempt to spend an additional cedi of Ghana’s tax payer’s money on a new register will amount to complete wastage and needless spending of limited state resources,” said Hassan Ayariga.
“The Coalition would embark on a demonstration on Saturday, January 11, in Tamale at the Jubilee Park dubbed ‘Tikusayi Korinfohili’ Demonstration. We shall follow this up with the Yenpini Demonstration in Kumasi on Tuesday, January 21, and climax it with the Wokpεnεε Demonstration in Accra on Tuesday, January 28,” he added.