In spite of initial threats by some of its leading members that the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) would boycott today’s forum on the voters’ register, the party has officially confirmed its participation.
The party said it would be represented, even though it complained about the manner in which the programme has been organised.
“It is messy, as we speak now, the party has not been served with any programme and we do not know whether there would be ballotting at the venue to know which party speaks first or last.”
The National Organiser of the NPP, John Boadu, told The Ghanaian Times in an interview yesterday.
He said the party had tried severally to contact the Electoral Commission (EC) to have an insight into the programme, but their efforts proved futile.
The EC, on Friday appointed a five-member panel to commence hearing into petitions it received from political parties, individuals and civic society organisations on the state of the voters register.
This followed a complaint by the NPP that the current register was bloated with the names of minors and over 76,000 foreigners, and therefore not credible for next year’s general elections.
Other political parties, such as the Progressive Peoples’ Party (PPP) and the Convention Peoples’ Party (CPP) have joined the NPP’s chorus, with a pro-opposition pressure group, ‘Let Your Vote Count Alliance,” vociferously organising several demonstrations to back their demand.
However, the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Ghana Freedom Party, Peoples’ National Convention and the Independent Peoples’ Party have been of the conviction that there was no need for compiling a new electoral roll, and that the current one should be cleansed.
The NDC and its allies contended that the challenges facing the current roll would still emerge when a new one is compiled without using a national database technology.
Having received their petitions, the EC constituted the panel, comprising a retired Supreme Court Judge and former Chairman of the EC, Professor V.C.R.A.C Crabbe as chairman.
Others are Professor Emmanuel Kweku Asante, Chairman of the National Peace Council, Dr Grace Bediako, a former Government Statistician, Dr Nii Narku Quaynor, a renowned computer scientist and Chairman of the National Information Technology Agency and Maulvi Bin Salih, Ameer of the Ahmadiyya Mission of Ghana.
The NPP National Organiser said the party was kept in the dark about the composition of the panel and received no correspondence about their appointment.
“We only heard the news about the panel members through the media.”
Some members of the party further complained that some panel members were unfit for the job because they had earlier made pronouncement that suggested they were against a new register.
The NPP members also alleged that, a member of the panel has political leanings towards the ruling NDC.
But the ruling party has called the buff of the NPP, saying the opposition party has no credible evidence to give against the current voters’ register, hence its decision to boycott the forum.
The NDC National Organiser, Kofi Adams said “the opposition party is just running way from disgrace that might arise from his shambolic claim of a bloated register”.
The two-day forum would be broadcast live on radio, television and the internet, the Public Affairs Director of the EC has confirmed.
By Ian Motey