IDEG calls for trustworthy voters’ register

Accra, Sept. 09, GNA – The Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) on Tuesday called on the Electoral Commission (EC) to task a Committee of experienced and reputable experts, to scientifically and impartially assess the accuracy of the existing national biometric voters register.

According to IDEG, the country needs a trustworthy voters’ register. Nonetheless, judging from the current disagreements on the 2012 biometric voters’ register, especially between the two major political parties that dominates Ghana’s electorate landscape, the nation currently lacks such a credible register.

The call was made at a press conference organised by IDEG in collaboration with the Civic Forum Initiative (CFI) in Accra, on the theme; ‘Ghana needs a Trustworthy and Long-lasting Voters Register’.

It sought to find a lasting solution to the on-going controversies over the 2012 biometric voters register and prevent the vicious cycle of such allegations in each electioneering year, and therefore, the proposed Committee should also verify the claims by the New Patriotic Party and the counter-claims by the National Democratic Congress and report the overall health and suitability of the existing voters register for the 2016 elections.

Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, IDEG Executive Director, said it was only on the basis of an objective and transparent assessment of the said claims that the EC and the nation would be better informed to make the hard choices needed to secure a credible voter’s register.

In a press statement read by Major General Nii Carl Coleman (Rtd), Chairman of the Civic Forum Initiative (CFI), the two institutions advised the EC to independently set-up an impartial task force, made up of eminent experts and individuals with the experience and knowledge of issues in the compilation of credible voter’s register.

It said the taskforce should undertake a critical assessment of the 2012 bio-metric voters’ register and dispassionately propose solutions to identified or persistent problems which undermined the public trust and confidence in the integrity of the register.

It was their view that the Committee’s report would enhance the processes of consultations and deliberations, which the EC has already initiated, in order to make the best decisions for the nation, giving Ghana a more trustworthy and lasting register.

Maj. Gen. Coleman said records show that since 2012 there has been no Presidential and Parliamentary elections without one controversy or the other arising over the integrity of the national voters register.

He said contrary to the general expectation that going biometric would cure the problem of bloated voters register at source; it has become increasingly clear that the exercise, which was produced at the cost of GH¢ 297 million, less than four years ago, failed to address the problem.

He said, ‘as we are all aware, disputes over the voters’ register tend to travel through the entire electoral year with dire consequences,’ and therefore urgent action ought to be taken to fix the credibility problem.

He said the country must therefore adopt sound, practical and lasting solutions to the problems to produce a trustworthy and enduring register whose maintenance or reform was also cost and expenditure efficient.

GNA


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