Mahama Denis Togo Register

PRESIDENT JOHN Dramani Mahama, in what political analysts believe to be a sharp U-turn, has denied claims that he called for the compilation of a new voter register for neighbouring Togo during his tenure as chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

According to the president, he never advised the government of Togo to get a new voter register during that country’s election; but he only called the opposition parties, which were requesting for a new register, and the ruling party for a meeting and admonished them to get an auditing firm to go through their register so that they could abide by the recommendations that would be made by the firm.

 ’Some people are saying that when I was ECOWAS chairman I called for a new register for Togo. It’s a lie. I never said that, and will repeat it: I never called for a new voter register in Togo. I never did,’ President Mahama insisted when he addressed some National Democratic Congress (NDC) members at a mini rally to canvas votes towards the upcoming presidential primary of the party in Koforidua, the Eastern Regional capital, on Saturday.

 ’I said the Electoral Commission, the ruling party and the opposition should agree on an auditor to audit the register. So they called on La Francophonie to look into the register,’ he argued.

President Mahama, the then chairman of ECOWAS, was reported on 25th March, 2015 to have helped resolve a threatening political dispute in Togo by endorsing a decision to postpone the election originally scheduled for April 15 to May 25, 2015.

His intervention was in response to agitations by Togo’s opposition parties over the credibility of the voter register, which they alleged was bloated.

The postponement of Togo’s elections, according to the chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government (President Mahama), was to allow Togo’s Commission Electorale Nationale Independente (CENI) complete work on finalising the electoral roll and its validation processes.

Nana Addo’s Observation
Meanwhile, the 2016 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has observed that the leadership of the National Democratic Congress had lost the argument against the need for a new voter register for the 2016 elections.

He argued that with no superior arguments to make, the NDC is now desperately whipping up tribal sentiments against the NPP.

Speaking to constituency executives and parliamentary candidates from the eight constituencies in northern Volta as well as NPP supporters in Dambai on day 2 of his tour of the Volta Region last month, Nana Akufo-Addo expressed utter dismay about the NDC’s attempts to ensure that the current voter register – which in the opinion of most stakeholders is incurably flawed and unfit for elections – is maintained for the 2016 polls.

According to him, the NDC’s changing stances after the exposé by Dr Bawumia, his running mate, on the existence of over 76,000 foreigners on Ghana’s register proves beyond any reasonable doubt that Ghana needs a new register for next year’s polls.

‘Originally they (NDC) told us the register from Togo that we presented was fake. That argument has now been abandoned. We then heard about the argument of identical twins. That too has been abandoned. Now we are told the 76,000 matches we found are NDC people living in Togo and Benin,’ he said.

Nana Akufo-Addo stated that the current argument being advanced by the NDC is that the NPP is demanding a new register because ‘we want to discriminate against the Volta Region.’

The NPP’s concern, according to the flagbearer, ‘is about foreigners’ on Ghana’s register.

‘Are the people of the Volta Region foreigners in Ghana?’ he asked, to which the response from the packed auditorium at the Dambai College of Education was a big ‘No!’

The NDC’s argument about tribe, according to Akufo-Addo, is because ‘there is no argument against what we have said.’

He cited the case of Nigeria where, before the election that saw General Muhammadu Buhari emerge victorious, a new, credible voter register was compiled. Cote d’Ivoire and Tanzania, which will be going to the polls later this year, according to Nana Addo, had all completed the compilation of new voter registers.

FROM Daniel Bampoe, Koforidua

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