8:13, 15.Aug 2018
The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) has called on the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana to use the data compiled by the National Identification Authority (NIA) in place of the bloated voter register.
The party said it strongly believes that the recent clamour regarding the compilation of a new voter register is ‘much ado about nothing’.
The EC has said it will compile a new electoral roll for the 2020 polls. The decision was taken after an Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting Wednesdays March 27, a decision that has been rejected by the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
A statement signed by the National Secretary of the PPP, Murtala Mohammed, said the party rejects the position taken by the NDC to maintain the old register.
“It is an unending cycle of debate perpetuated by the NPP and NDC for political gains at the detriment of the taxpayer. Compilation of a new voter register has never and will never solve the problem of a bloated register.
“The panacea to this raging issue of the bloated register is for the Electoral Commission to use the National Identification Authority’s data in place of the voter register.
“In the wake of the financial challenges in Ghana, we cannot spend additional money on the compilation of a new register when the state has already voted money into the NIA to produce for us, a credible database. The law that establishes the NIA points to the synchronisation of all statutory cards like the DVLA, Passport, SSNIT and the Electoral Commission ID. Any attempt to undertake similar exercise and for the similar purpose of identification amounts to willfully causing financial loss to the state.
“We cannot sit and watch state institutions operate in silos while draining our national resources with impunity. We have consistently compiled new voter registers since 1992, yet the problem persists. We cannot continue to proffer the same solution to a problem that gets worse after every attempt at solving it. We are least convinced that compilation of a new voter register outside the NIA will sanitise the current bloated voter register; it would rather exacerbate the situation.
“We are flabbergasted about the slow pace of the implementation of the NIA. We demand an account of what has been done so far and why the state has developed a turtle-like speed in resolving identification matters for both citizens and non-citizens.”
It added: “The question is: who is a Ghanaian and a non-Ghanaian? Who is of age and not of age to vote? Is it an issue of inadequate funding? Or it is the inability of the present leadership to get the work done? If it is inadequate funding, then the funds to be spent on the new registration should be given to the NIA; if it is leadership problem at the NIA, then changes ought to be made.
“The Progressive People’s Party, faith-based organisations, Civil Society Organisations like the CDD, CODEO, IDEG and the Supreme Court of Ghana have advocated the synchronisation of these state biometric identification cards to save cost, bring about uniformity in the affairs of the state and have a lasting solution to the perennial political chicanery that has characterised issues regarding the voter register.
“We call on the government of Ghana and parliament to listen to the cries and pleas of the citizenry in ensuring that the NIA receives all the necessary funding to make it functional. We further call on all well-meaning Ghanaians, and the media, particularly, to direct the government to ensure that there is a collaboration between the NIA and the EC in using data collated by the National Identification Authority to replace the voter register.
“We reject the NDC’s position on keeping the existing voter register because it is a recipe for disaster. All political parties which believe in free and fair elections should rather seek for a lasting solution to this issue by demanding the usage of the Ghana Card in election 2020 and beyond.
“We need to make progress. We have too many important issues to deal with. The issue of a new voter register is nothing but a political tool deployed by both parties to create tension and chaos in this country for political gains.”
The General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, in a statement, said: “At the meeting under reference, the EC presented for discussion its programmed activities for 2019. While the press release issued by the EC covers aspects of the ensuing discussions, we note that there are portions that do not represent the true reflection of what transpired at the IPAC meeting.
“We take particular notice of a portion of the EC release which states as follows: ‘The Commission will compile a new voter’s register ahead of the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections.’
“We wish to state emphatically and without any fear of contradiction that no decision was taken on this matter. In fact, the compilation of a new voters register was only mentioned in passing by the EC during the discussion on limited registration. There certainly was no extensive deliberations on this particular matter.
“The NDC holds the view that a matter as important as the compilation of a new voters register has to be discussed in a manner that will ensure that every aspect and the implication of its implementation are thoroughly discussed to the satisfaction of all stakeholders and in accordance with due process, time-tested rule, procedures and conventions before a decision is made. A matter as delicate as such has to be discussed thoroughly and all related consequences, ramifications considered before arriving at a decision.”