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Politics of Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Source: The New Statesman

Political parties demand audit of 2012 voters register

Some major political parties in the country, including the main opposition New Patriotic Party, are demanding a comprehensive audit of the 2012 voters register to guarantee its credibility, as the Electoral Commission prepares for the limited voters’ registration exercise which begins on June 20, this year.

The limited registration exercise will allow Ghanaians who turned 18 after the 2012 general elections and adults who could not register in previous registration exercises to register.

The respective IPAC representatives of the New Patriotic Party, the Progressive People’s Party and the Convention People’s Party, Peter Mac Manu, Kofi Siaw Asamoah, and James Kwabena Bomfeh Jnr have expressed worries about the failure of the EC to call an IPAC meeting for a discussion about the impending exercise.

They are demanding a comprehensive audit of the 2012 voters’ register in view of the fact that it was confirmed at the Supreme Court during the 2012 Election Petition Hearing that the credibility of the register had been affected by various anomalies.

In an interview with the New Statesman, Mr Mac Manu, a former National Chairman of the NPP, insisted that the audit of the register must involve “both the hardware and software components”, adding that the auditing must be done with representatives of all the parties present to monitor whatever goes on.

Mr Manu added that under normal circumstances, this should have been done before the re-open of the register for the limited registration to begin. “But if this cannot be done, then what needs to be done is that we have to clone the new registration and audit the existing register before adding the two. The fact of the matter is that the call for auditing is very imperative in view of the agreement by all that the 2012 register had multiple registrations and other anomalies,” he explained.

He further urged the EC to eschew the attitude of keeping major stakeholders, especially the political parties, in the dark about its activities. “Now ensuring transparent elections is the call being made all over across the globe. That is why all countries are going biometric. Having gone biometric, we need the inputs of all the stakeholders, especially the political parties, at all levels, including the district levels where non-adherence to regulations is rife, so that we can be guaranteed high levels of transparency in the conduct of our electoral affairs,” Mr Manu added.

Kofi Siaw Asamoah, National Secretary of the PPP, demanded an audit of “the entire process” involving the 2012 general elections. He stressed: “We demand that the entire process, including the voters register and the election results itself must be subjected to a comprehensive audit. The outcome of the 2012 Presidential Election Petition has shown that the result of the election is not sacrosanct. Just as independent auditors are appointed to audit managements of corporate institutions, we need to audit the work of the Presiding Officer. That must be done at all cost.”

Mr Siaw was, however, not bordered about whether the auditing has to be done before or after the limited registration exercise. “As to how fast the audit can be done, well, I can’t tell, but whatever the case will be, that all-important exercise has to be done,” he stated.

James Kwabena Bomfeh Jnr, CPP’s representative to IPAC, expressed regrets about the fact that the EC had not invited the political parties for any discussion in respect of the impending limited registration exercise.

“We as a party, and I think the other parties too did, had raised issues about the authenticity of the 2012 voters’ register, which was confirmed during the 2012 Election Petition Hearing. We therefore called for a post-election audit of the register but that has not been done and we are going to add up to the register. That is a serious worry that should concern anybody who wants to witness credible, free and fair elections in 2016,” Kabila, as he is affectionately called, stated.

Founder and former Executive Director of the Danquah Institute, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, recently urged Ghanaians to demand that an entirely new voters’ register be compiled by the EC for the 2016 elections.

That, according to him, should be seen as the first necessary step in ensuring free, fair, transparent, and peaceful general elections in 2016. Without it, he anticipates the risk of having another disputed election awaiting the nation.

Mr Otchere-Darko made the call in a four-page article which was widely published by various media platforms.

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