Change Voters’ Register – Pastors Tell EC Boss

he Bishops/Pastors Network has called on the chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Charlotte Osei, to be bold and listen to the majority of Ghanaians who are calling for a new voter register for the conduct of the December 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections.

In a letter dated 22 September, 2015, addressed to the EC chairperson and copied to the National Peace Council, the Christian Council of Ghana, the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference, the Ghana Pentecostal Council, the National Association of Christian and Charismatic Churches, the political parties and the media, the group explained that as a network of clergymen, it is their duty to pray for the leadership of the nation and also add their voices to matters of national concern.

Bishop Edmund Aryee, the Presiding Bishop of the Bishops/Pastors Network who appended his signature to the letter, said a new voter register is of utmost importance if Ghana is to have credible, transparent and unsuspicious elections.

According to Bishop Aryee, the current register has been associated with too many doubts, controversies, disputes, negative perceptions and errors, adding that many unanswered questions have deepened suspicions about the credibility of the electoral roll. The suspicions, he stated, largely arose during the 2012 presidential election petition.

Again, the man of God added that these suspicions could lead to doubts being cast on the 2016 election, regardless of which party emerges victorious, and thereby trigger electoral violence in the aftermath of the elections.

Referring to Johnson Asiedu Nketia, General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Bernard Monarh of the People’s National Convention, who are both calling for the cleaning of the register instead of the compilation of a new one, Pastor Aryee stated that ‘this is not enough to clear doubts being harboured by the majority of the Ghanaian electorate, who will continue to remain suspicious about the authenticity of the current electoral roll,’ he noted.

Bishop Aryee buttressed the point that ‘a new voter register will not in any way give an advantage to any political party or candidate,’ telling Mrs Charlotte Osei to ‘be bold and change the current register which is associated with too many doubts and suspicions.’

Bishop Aryee also recounted the efforts made by President Mahama when, as Chairman of ECOWAS, he recommended that the concerns of the opposition parties in Togo be addressed before the conduct of the 2015 election, which resulted in a new register being compiled and the ready acceptance of the results by all parties and stakeholders in Togo.

‘If such a recommendation, through a Ghanaian former ECOWAS Chairman, helped to prevent electoral violence in our neighbouring country, Togo, why can’t Ghana also apply same recommendation in our country for the sake of peace?’ he asked.

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