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- Created on Saturday, 22 August 2015 00:00
EC Meets Parties Over Register
22 August 2015
The Electoral Commission (EC) has acknowledged receiving the petition submitted by the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) for a new electoral register.
At her maiden press conference in Accra yesterday, Chairperson of the Commission, Charlotte Osei, said her outfit was yet to study the full content of the petition and investigate the complaints therein – the basis for which the NPP is pushing for an entirely new register.
This remark was made after a meeting with members of the Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) over a number of issues.
Present were representatives of the various political parties, including the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), who were represented by the National Chairman, Kofi Portuphy and General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) was represented by its General Secretary, Kwabena Agyepong; Director of Elections, Martin Adjei Mensah Korsah and Osei Bonsu Amoah, Member of Parliament for Aburi.
The EC has therefore given all political parties in the country up to September 22, 2015 to submit their proposals and inputs on the issue, which has since provoked a national debate as to whether or not Ghana needs a new register.
It follows claims by the NPP that it had uncovered not less than 76,286 Togolese in Ghana’s existing voters’ register, thereby raising questions about its credibility for use in the conduct of the crucial 2016 general elections.
“We have acknowledged receipt of the request from the New Patriotic Party but we have also called on all the other parties to give us a position on how they think the issue should be managed,” Mrs Osei said, adding that “we have given all the parties until the 22nd of September 2015 to give very detailed propositions on what their position is on the register.”
She followed up with a call on civil society organizations, people with expertise and all stake holders to submit presentations on the subject.
After that, the EC said it was considering the option of holding a stakeholders’ workshop to enable it take a decision on the matter.
If the workshop is unable to draw a conclusion on the matter, the Commissioner noted, “the EC will take a position based on the presentations that were made at the workshop” – a decision she said all the political parties had welcomed.
General Secretary of the NPP, Mr Kwabena Agyepong, welcomed the EC’s decision to allow various political parties and stakeholders to make an input into the debate, which he believed would help arrive at a concrete decision.
“We are building a consensus; I don’t want the media to carry the view that the NPP is trying to dictate to the rest of the country and we will also not dictate to the Electoral Commission,” he emphasized.
That notwithstanding, he said, “We are making a strong case and that’s what it is and we hope that as a result of discussions and dialogue, we can come to a certain accommodation that will be beneficial to the future of the electoral process.”
Mr Agyepong added, “People want to have an electoral process that they can have confidence in; that’s all we are trying to build.”
Chairman of the NDC, Kofi Portuphy said, “There is no reason why we should create panic over a voters’ register… we may at the end of the day agree to have a new register but we look at the circumstances.
“We will look at what we have now; are we going by the laws that govern registration, exhibition, that govern voting?”
Once the EC takes a decision on the matter, he said, “the NDC is willing and ready to abide by it to deepen democracy in the country.”
Meanwhile, the NPP has furnished the various political parties with soft copies of the evidence that is impelling the demand for a new register.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu
Source: Daily Guide/Ghana