A former Executive Director of the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Vitus Azeem, says he sees no hope in the series of demonstrations some opposition political parties led by the National Democratic Congress (NDC), are staging against the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana for the compilation of a new Voter’s Register.
To him, the demonstration exercises will not yield any results, advising the opposition political parties, to instead, invest the remaining resources meant for organizing the demonstrations, to train their party supporters to register and also monitor the registration processes till the exercise is over.
“I think where we are now, the EC has taken an entrenched position and they have the support of the ruling party. So, they are not likely to abandon their stance. So, I will advise the opposition parties to use the resources that they are using for the demonstration now to mobilize their supporters to go out there and register and also to monitor the registration process. If we do that that will be good”, he noted.
Mr. Azeem made this observation when contributing to a live panel discussion on the compilation of a new voter’s register by the EC on TV 3’s ‘The Key Points’, Saturday.
His comments follows the stance of the electoral management body over the compilation of a new voter’s register for the conduct of the 2020 general elections, a position which is likely to remain so despite the loud opposing voices of some opposition political parties and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).
The EC has scheduled April 18, 2020, to begin the exercise of compiling a new voter’s register for the conduct of the 2020 general elections. The exercise is expected to end in May, 2020.
The Jean Mensah-led EC has cited some factors ranging from huge cost in maintaining the existing data to vulnerability of the current system to buttress their argument for the compilation of a new voter’s register.
Some opposition political parties including the largest, NDC, have kicked against the move for the compilation of a new voter’s register saying among other things that the financial cost in compiling a new voter’s register will put much burden on the country’s financial resources.
They also argued that there was nothing wrong with the existing voter’s roll since it’s credible and was recently used for the conduct of the District Level Elections.
They also claim that the National Identification Authority (NIA) in terms of law, is superior to the EC, wondering why the electoral management body could not wait for the NIA to finish its ongoing nationwide registration exercise so they could tap into their system for the conduct of the 2020 general elections.
This argument is supported by the 18 CSOs but a deputy Minister of Local Governance and Rural Development, Hon. Osei Bonsu Amoah, has dispelled it, saying it lacks merit.
Hon. Amoah, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Akuapem South, said “in the days of Dr. Afari Gyan as Chairman of the EC, he made it very clear that no institution can deny the EC from compiling its register for the conduct of elections. Nobody has been able to challenge it in court”.
He further noted that the Constitution is superior to the Legislative Instrument (L.I) that regulates the activities of the NIA which the opposition political parties and the 18 CSOs are relying on to advance their argument.