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NPP Exposes EC Over Validation   
 
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20-Apr-2016  
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The New Patriotic Party (NPP) yesterday went to town with some interesting details about the work of the five-member panel of eminent persons tasked by the Electoral Commission (EC) to look into the bloated voters’ register issue.

These details expose the double standards of the Commission chaired by Charlotte Osei.

The committee, which was chaired by Justice VCRAC Crabbe, was set up by the EC to look into concerns over the credibility of the existing voter register and make recommendations as to how best it could be cleaned.

This followed the NPP and other pressure groups’ call for a new register, after it was discovered that the existing electoral roll which would be used for the upcoming elections was bloated.

The NPP had advocated for a completely new register as a solution to the bloated register, whilst the EC insisted that the compilation of a new register was not necessary.

Even though the committee, whose members included Reverend Professor Emmanuel Asante, Dr Grace Bediako, Dr Nii Narku Quaynor and Maulvi Bin Salih, has submitted its report and findings to the EC, it (EC) does not seem interested in implementing the recommendations, thereby raising eyebrows over its intransigence over calls for a validation exercise to prune the register.

To the EC, the current challenge procedures under CI 72 and now CI 91 which provide the mechanism of exhibition for cleaning records in the register “are sufficient.”

At a press conference in Accra yesterday, Director of Communications of the NPP, Nana Akomea, and the party’s Director of Elections, Martin Agyei-Mensah Korsah, questioned the decision.

Reason

That, according to Nana Akomea, was because “The EC’s  own Committee/Panel of Experts set up to evaluate proposals for cleaning the register and make faithful recommendations on the subject has categorically rejected the exhibition process as  not adequate  and not viable for the purpose of cleaning up the bloated register.”

He quoted page 17 paragraph 17 of their report which states, “Judging by the sheer numbers, the Electoral Commission’s proposition to display the register, with political parties, the Electoral Commission and the citizenry to identify and point out invalid names, is not a viable approach,  particularly when the persons who identify these records are expected to expend their time, energy and resources not only to provide the evidence, but also to testify before a court of competent jurisdiction. ”

The panel continues on Page 18, “The system is not effective in achieving the set goals of eliminating invalid records from the register and must be reconsidered. It is said you cannot do the same thing and expect different results.”

Evidence

For Nana Akomea, therefore, “In the clear opinion of the EC’s own panel, the process of cleaning the register through the exhibition of the register is simply not viable and not adequate.”

He proceeded to quote pages 20 and 21 which say, “It seems that doing nothing more than the usual updating and waiting for the citizenry to pursue those who are illegally registered will engender the most bloated register, by the mere fact that very few of the names are likely to be brought up. Generally, it might be difficult to justify leaving more than half a million invalid records in the register that we seek to characterise as credible.”

In other words,  he said, “The EC’s own panel of experts rejects the process of exhibition as not viable in cleaning a bloated register, as the process amounts to a mere updating of records that will still leave over 500,000 invalid names in the register.”

Nana Akomea, therefore, had cause to quote pages 20-21 of the panel’s report which among other things recommended that “The Electoral Commission could consider extending the exhibition to have the voters confirm their names on the list, an indication that they would want to maintain their voter status. The benefits include signalling that the Electoral Commission is doing something about the known flaws in the register; the most cost effective approach is being used.”

It continues, “In the same way that a new registration would have required the citizens to physically appear for registration, the cleaning would require that they appear to confirm. The major difference is, they spend less time because no forms are filled. Rather than make others responsible for maintaining voters’ names on the list, the individuals should themselves do that. This also avoids the issue of people looking for documents to support any claim to get a record removed.”

Concern

Interestingly, the Charlotte Osei-led Electoral Commission is now hiding under the cloak of being an independent body to sidestep the very recommendations of a body it tasked to investigate the electoral roll and that of other interest groups to embark on a validation exercise.

Instead, the EC insists on going ahead with a scheduled exhibition exercise which may only end up removing a few ghost names from the register, if its request for institutions to submit lists of dead persons on their staff list suffices.

But come what may, Nana Akomea is sure of an NPP victory in the November 7 polls – with or without the cleaning of the electoral register – except the fact that they want to win with a clean roll.
 
 
Source: Daily Guide
 
 

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