President Nana Akufo-Addo has backed the Electoral Commission’s (EC) plan to compile a new voters’ register ahead of the 2020 general elections.
According to the President, the decision makes a lot of sense.
The President said it is prudent for the Electoral Commission to compile a new register every eight years as it has been doing in the past.
The issue of a new electoral roll has divided political parties in the country with the opposition National Democratic Congress staging a walkout during the President’s State of the Nation Address last week.
Speaking at a meeting with the Ghanaian community in Oslo, Norway, President Akufo-Addo said the electoral management body should be allowed to do its work.
“We are getting ourselves ready for December 7. The Electoral Commission is going to compile a new register. It appears there is now an eight-year cycle for the EC to compile a register. They did so in 2012 and 2004. So with these last three including this one are all in the eight-year cycle. I think it makes a lot of sense. The national census itself is done on a ten-year basis.”
“So it makes sense that we keep up the EC to admit new people, take out all those who have died, etc. Their intention is to begin in April. We want everybody in Ghana who can vote to register. It’s important that we all exercise our civic duty to go and vote in December and choose the government that we want,” he noted.
Ghana to save money by compiling register – EC
Data from the Electoral Commission (EC) shows that the country stands to save an amount of GHS173.07 million should a new voters’ register be compiled ahead of the 2020 general elections.
This means that procuring a fresh Biometric Voter Management System (BVMS) is less costly than upgrading the current register as many have called for, the EC claims.
IT consultant to the EC, Dr. Yaw Ofori-Adjei who made this known at a media encounter last Thursday said the commission will incur a cost of approximately GHS107.25 million to furnish the existing data centre but will only need about GHS39.51 million for both the construction and maintenance of a new data centre.
He added that keeping the old biometric system will cost US$74.36 million as compared to the US$56 million needed to acquire a new system which includes Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits and the Biometric Verification Devices (BVD).
Groups against decision
The plan to compile a new register ahead of the general elections in December has over time sparked up a lot of controversies, with many parties and groups disagreeing to the move.
The Inter-Party Resistance Against New Voter Register, a group made up 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) have on several occasions demonstrated to express their disappointment against the EC’s decision.
Eighteen Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have also rejected the Electoral Commission’s proposal to compile a new electoral roll ahead of the 2020 elections.
The CSOs are Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), IMANI Africa, SEND Ghana, Africa Centre for International Law and Accountability (ACILA), Financial Accountability and Transparency – Africa (FAT-Africa), Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Youth Bridge Foundation, West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), Citizens Movement against Corruption (CMaC) and Human Rights Advocacy Centre (HRAC).
These groups have cited the reason for their rejection as among other things, a waste of the taxpayers’ money. They rather want the EC to update the current software rather than procuring a new one.
Meanwhile, efforts to settle the differences including resorting to the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) and the Electoral Commission’s Eminent Advisory Committee have proved futile.