Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Charlotte Osei has said the Commission will not be pushed into taking any decision on the creation or not of a new voters’ register by any political party.
The election regulatory body recently announced it will not be reviewing the voters’ register meant for the 2016 election.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) had pushed for the creation of a new voter’s register after the party alleged that there were over 76,000 foreign names on it.
Although the NPP was vehement with its demands, coupled with series of demonstrations by pressure groups including the Let My Vote Count Alliance, the EC has been resolute in saying there will not be a new register.
The governing National Democratic Congress has also rejected the NPP calls for a new register, preferring rather for the EC to audit the existing register.
A committee of experts set up by the EC to deliberate on their concerns also rejected the calls.
The NPP has described the panel’s decision as disappointing, accusing the EC of leading Ghanaians into a ditch.
However, speaking at a press briefing in Accra Thursday, Mrs Osei said she will not allow the independence of her outfit to be toyed with.
“An electoral management body should never be stampeded into taking a decision by a political party. That is why the constitution gives you independence. People may try to stampede but you have to stand your ground and do what is right.
She added that although the EC is willing to listen and examine views from various quarters, take it on board when it has to but the right and legal thing must always be done and “in accordance with the law.”
Source: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com
A legal practitioner Nana Asante Bediatuo says time and money are no excuse for the Electoral Commission not to compile a new voters’ register.
Nana Bediatuo who is in court challenging the decision by the Electoral Commission to use the current register in the 2016 election says the EC can use three weeks if it is minded.
Citing the Nigerian and Kenyan examples, he said those countries managed to compile new registers in 21 days because they know how sensitive the issue of voters’ register is to their countries.
He said even in Ghana, all the registration exercises done in the past took three weeks. He added that instead of concentrating on time and money the country should be looking at having a clean, accurate register.
“We cannot appeal to time and say we should do it anyhow,” he stated.
The Electoral Commission has shot down a proposal by the New Patriotic Party and other pressure groups for the compilation of a new register.
The proponents for a new register claim it is bloated with names of minors, non Ghanaians, dead people etc.
But the Commission said the arguments for a new register were not convincing. The Commission also questioned the basis on which it has been taken to court.
The former Youth Organiser of the People National Convention Abu Ramadan proceeded to court to challenge the decision by the EC to use the current register.
Among the claims by Ramadan was that the EC, at some point, used the NHIA cards as proof of identification before registering the people but the Supreme Court later ruled the use of the cards were illegal and should be declared null and void.
But the EC says nowhere in the ruling did the court nullify all registration of voters who presented NHIA cards as proof of citizenship.
Nana Asante Bediatuo who is lawyer for Abu Ramadan said the EC position is a “symptom of their misunderstanding of the whole case.”
He argued the EC stopped using the NHIA cards because the court said it was unconstitutional and therefore “the regulation (Regulation 1 3b CI 72) which allowed citizens who wanted to register to use the NHIA card, was declared unconstitutional because it did not establish the citizenship of the person registering, then of course everything that is based in that regulation, including the registration is also null and void.
“It is a simple legal analysis,” he said.
He also dismissed claims that the nullification of Regulation 1 3 b of CI72 cannot take retrospective effect.