Inter-Party Resistance Against New Voter Register (IPRAN), has petitioned
former president Jerry John Rawlings to seek his intervention to stop the
Electoral Commission (EC) from compiling a new register ahead of the 2020
A delegation of the coalition, led by Peoples’ National Convention (PNC) National Chairman, Bernard Mornah, who met the former president at his office in Accra on Tuesday, said the EC’s “refusal to listen to wise counsel particularly, from persons who have participated in the electoral process for a very long time has led to very painful and wrong decisions”.
The coalition said whilst the EC may have a mandate to compile a new register, “the mandate must be within reasonable limits. The mandate of leadership is vested in the people and the Ghanaian people are saying that apply some economic reasoning.
We are telling
the EC that if it is not broken, do not fix it”.
The PNC Chairman said during the last local government elections there was a 0.6 failure rate with the use of the existing biometric equipment and questioned why with such a high-efficiency rate, the Commission would wish to replace equipment and also do away with 17 million names in the voter database.
Mr Mornah said civil society organisations had gone into the market and done an assessment of the features the EC intends to introduce and realised that the Commission’s budget of $833 million is 60 per cent above budget.
The IPRAN stating that it was a waste of resources for the Commission to organise a limited voter registration exercise in 2019 only to turn around a few months later with plans to discard that registration.
The coalition said compiling new voters register in an election year will come at a huge cost to political parties in terms of time and resources.
The National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo also expressed concern about the seeming neglect of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) by the current Commission.
Ghana’s democracy had been managed on consensus-building since 1992.
“Unfortunately, under the new Commission leadership, engagement with IPAC is not part of their agenda,” Mr Ampofo said.
Responding, Mr Rawlings called for patience on both sides and urged the coalition and the EC not to take entrenched positions.
He urged the
coalition to ensure that eminent personalities and institutions such as the
former presidents, the Commission’s Eminent Advisory Committee and the Council
of State are all informed.
“There is so much mistrust that if we do not find a way of dealing with some of these issues, they will remain and sour the atmosphere during the election period. It will keep us very close to an ignition point which will be very unnecessary.
“This coming election is going to be a truly serious thing and nobody must take the process for granted or think they can get away with making the wrong moves.
The steps being taken must be transparent so no one has any doubts about the integrity of the process. Whoever wants to win will necessarily have to win by free and fair means,” former President Rawlings, stated.