The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) says instead of the Electoral Commission (EC) compiling a new voters register for the December 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary poll it should rather use the data on the national Identification Card (ID) to do so.
That, the PPP said, would save the country a lot of money and time that would be used to compile a new voters roll.
The PPP’s call followed the announcement by the election management body to compile a new register for this year’s poll.
According to the EC, a compilation of a new voters register and acquisition of Biometric Verification Devices (BVDs) will enhance the credibility, integrity and transparency of the December 7 general Election.
But, commenting on the move by the Jean Mensa-headed EC on a current affairs programme, ‘Kanawu’ on Amansan Television (ATV) and GNTV hosted by Atta Kwaku Boadi at the weekend, Policy Analyst of the PPP, Kofi Asamoah-Siaw, said the EC’s reasons were untenable.
According to him, the National Identification Authority (NIA) was the solution to the on-going new voters register brouhaha.
He said since the NIA was almost through with the registration of every Ghanaian of 18 years, it made sense for the EC to contact the NIA for the data of every eligible Ghanaian voter.
He claimed that the NIA was left with 3 regions to complete the registration exercise of the whole country, and, therefore, there was no point for the EC to start a new one when there was already data for it to work with.
“Let President Akufo-Addo use same energy and passion he used when he spoke about the prosecution of people involved in the banking crisis to tell the NIA to assist in this direction, and see if it will not be done,” he said.
Although the PPP policy analyst would not contend that the EC was not answerable to any individual or an organisation as far as its work was concerned, he said, its decision to compile a new register was “economically unwise.”
“The fact that the constitution empowers the EC to do so doesn’t mean that it should not also consider the larger interest of Ghanaians,” he indicated.
Also sharing his views on the issue on the same programme, a member of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) Communication Team, Nana Bediako Dansa Appiah, said the EC should be allowed to do its work.
He pointed out that the current voters register was not credible, and for that matter, a new one was the way to go if indeed, “we want a free and fair election in 2020.”
He rubbished the allegation that the NPP was in bed with the EC and that was the reason for their support for a new register.
According to him, the fact that the former EC Boss, Charlotte Osei, alleged that her former colleague, Amadu Sulley, transferred a certain number of votes from the data centre during the 2016 election to a particular region was enough reason for a new voters register.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of the NIA, Prof Ken Attafuah, says his outfit was well poised to deliver data to the EC to compile a new register.
According to Prof Attafuah, the NIA could as of Saturday, January 18, 2020 push to the EC the data search of all eligible Ghanaians currently registered under the National Identification System.
“The NIA is poised to deliver data to the Electoral Commission for the new voters register with its invigorated capacity and the mass registering exercise scheduled to end by March 2020, and when that is over, we will use the equipment and personnel to set up permanent NIA offices in regions, municipalities and districts across the country,” he explained.
“The enrollment that we’re doing captures all the biometrics that the Electoral Commission requires, such as the iris, fingerprints and also captures the facials. The NIA is connecting all the details that the EC needs with the exception of the polling station numbers,” he disclosed.
“As at Friday, January 17, 2020, the Authority had registered a total of 7,310,193 eligible Ghanaians and issued cards to some 4,262,471 Ghanaians. The exercise so far had resulted in 6,282,192 cards printed and we do have a backlog of some 565,030 cards expected to be issued with 416,000 awaiting distribution due to some various discrepancy challenges,” Prof Ken Attafuah made this known in a phone interview on Joy FM.
Story: Kwaku AKYEANA, ATV/GNTV