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NPP Demands Form A (1) Register From EC   
 
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21-Jan-2015  
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The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) is calling on the international community, particularly, the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom, to show keen interest in the country’s electoral reforms, in order to safeguard the integrity of election processes in the country.

The party is warning that Ghana’s democratic credentials, which has become of the standard upon which many other African countries are measured, could be in serious jeopardy as the country prepares for next year’s general elections, if the electoral body does not operate in an open and transparent environment.

The Ashanti Regional Chairman of the opposition party, Mr. Bernard Antwi Boasiako, at a press conference in Kumasi on Sunday, said Ghana’s democratic achievements could be seriously eroded if various stakeholders, including foreign allies, did not put pressure on the Electoral Commission to adopt a more participatory approach to its duties.

According to Mr. Antwi Boasiako, popularly known as Chairman Wontumi, it has uncovered through extensive research, various discrepancies and inconsistencies in the voters’ register in 38 out of the 47 constituencies in the region. He said the exercise conducted by its outfit discovered, amongst others things, incidents of multiple registrations, wrong data inputs, and inconsistencies in numbers.

According to him, all efforts to get the EC to address some of the challenges encountered during its research and the recently held limited registration exercise, have proved futile, as the Commission has either refused to cooperate, or failed to give adequate information. Chairman Wontumi said there was the need for the EC to come out clearly with the standard of registration and processes of the elections, including allowing for the audit of all documents needed to ensure clean, fair and transparent elections.

He said the EC should, as a matter of urgency, make available to all the political parties, the Form A (1) data for the parties to study and ascertain the authenticity of the documents, in order to forestall any tension and restore trust in the process.

Chairman Wontumi noted that at the moment, the only way to help verify the authenticity or otherwise of the register is for the Commission to produce the Form A (1) data, and also publish all the derails on their website for the public to be able to access them.

Stressing that transparency and fairness would be crucial ahead of the 2016 general elections, Chairman Wontumi said the NPP would not sit down and allow the EC to engage in any act that can bring the electoral process into disrepute.

“We want the EC to make copies of the Form A (1) available to us all; in the case of Ashanti Region, we have lots of difficulties reconciling figures and other particulars in 38 constituencies,” he stressed, adding that the party had several times called upon the Commission to address their concerns, but to no avail.

The Ashanti Regional NPP chairman further called on the Commission to take a second look at the Biometric Verification System, stressing that the situation whereby the system is not able to detect double registration and voting is unacceptable, and must be corrected.

“Take, for instance, the banking system. When you save at any bank, your personal details and other particulars are collected, and the system is able to detect you anytime your details are entered, no matter where you are in the country, but this our so-called biometric machine cannot do so,” he emphasised.

1980 Registration Date

The opposition party, through its exercise, also discovered that some voters’ registration cards have as far back as 1980 as the date of registration. Some of the cards, which were shown to journalists who attended the press conference, indicated clearly 1980 as year in which the cards were issued, and this, according to the NPP Regional Chairman, was highly unpardonable and lends credence to the irregularities contained in the EC’s data.

“How can we have ID cards with 1980 as date of registration, when it was issued in 2014, it is unacceptable; the EC must be compelled to answer these questions. Whether it was a mistake, or deliberate, we do not know, they must come out and explain things to Ghanaians,” he charged.
 
 
Source: The Chronicle
 
 

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