EC forum on voters’ register not talk shop, very critical – Kofi Bentil tells critics

Vice President of think tank, Imani Centre for Policy and Education, says criticism of Thursday’s forum on the voters’ register is misinformed.

According to Kofi Bentil, the forum between political parties on NPP’s call for a new electoral roll – which was moderated by a five-member committee set up by the Electoral Commission (EC) – was a critical first step to arriving at a credible register.

“Before the forum, in our discussions at Imani, we said the EC must not be seen as taking a position in this matter – whether for or against a new register,” he said.

He said the EC’s decision to allow political parties in the country to officially voice out their positions on the voters’ register will quell suspicions against the elections referee.

He was speaking Thursday on PM Express, aired on the Joy News channel on Multi TV.

“ [Imani’s] own view is that the EC must listen to as many people as possible before [its commissioners] get together as an EC to take a decision,” he told show host Malik Abass Daabu.

Kofi Betil was reacting to critics who say Thursday’s forum on the voters’ register would prove futile.

For instance, political scientist, Dr Richard Amoako-Baah says EC’s response to allegations of a bloated electoral roll is wrong.

Dr. Richard Amoako-Baah said he was least impressed about the stakeholders’ forum indicating that the process was meant to tickle curious citizens.

“It is useful as far as it makes us happy, we see our government at work and people are talking. But this is not how you decide an important issue such as this, it is not just by talking,” the political scientist had said earlier Joy FM’s Newsnight.

However, Mr Bentil disagrees.
“It is absolutely not a talk shop. Processes and procedures themselves validate or invalidate an outcome. In a process like this the EC must be seen to be using their power arbitrarily. They must listen as widely as possible. So this process is for talking but talking is important,” Kofi Bentil explained.

Mr Bentil said what Ghana needs is neither a new voters’ register – as held by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) – nor an audited register, which is the position of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).

He said Imani’s position is that Ghana needs is a credible register, and hence a forum to collate views from key stakeholders like political parties on the matter would guide the EC to strike a favourable compromise.

EC must ignore parties and work in Ghana’s interest

Meanwhile, General Secretary of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Kofi Siaw, who also a panelist on the show said the position held by the NDC and the NPP on the electoral roll would not provide a lasting solution.

He said the EC must be firm and take a decision in the interest of Ghana.

“On their own motion, they [EC] should be able to say that ‘forget what NPP is saying, forget what NDC is saying forget what the PPP is saying’, if it is not in the national interest we are not going to pursue it,” Kofi Siaw said.

Story by Ghana | George Nyavor | [email protected]


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