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Politics of Monday, 19 October 2015

Source: Daily Guide

EC to host parties on voter register October 29

Charlotte Osei Charlotte Osei

The Electoral Com­mission (EC) stakehold­ers' forum on the contro­versial voter register is scheduled for October 29 and 30 at the Alisa Hotel in Accra, a source at the Commission has hinted Daily Guide.

The 2-day forum will bring all interest groups, particularly political par­ties, to brainstorm on the way forward regarding the bloated register which some of the parties are call­ing for a new one to be compiled.

Opinions favour a fresh register for the sake of peace, as religious leaders and other concerned citi­zens advocate.

"This forum has become necessary follow­ing the recent public con­cerns over the credibility of the voter register and calls for its replacement by some political parties and per­sons," a statement signed by Charlotte Osei, EC chairperson, pointed out.

About 15 political par­ties and over 30 other groups submitted propos­als for the way forward in having a credible electoral roll with two former presi­dents giving thumps-up for a fresh register.

According to the EC, "It is the expectation of the Commission that the con­ference would create a common platform for all constructive views on the register to be heard with the aim of building consensus on the way forward towards the upcoming 2016 presidential and par­liamentary elections."

The main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) believes that the current electoral roll is riddled with numerous non- Ghanaians as well as minors, in addition to its manipulation, making it tainted for any credible elections, while the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) advocates its maintenance.

Some pressure groups, eminent statesmen and women and religious organizations think that for the 2016 general elections to be credible, going for a fresh register may be the better way out.

The chairman of the Christ Apostolic Church International, Apostle Dr. Stephen Ntow Amoani, has joined other religious lead­ers who are asking the Electoral Commission to compile a new voter regis­ter ahead of the 2016 elections to promote peace.

He asserted that the Bible admonishes Chris­tians to pursue peace say­ing, "If the current voter register would not give us peace then we need to change it. Why don't we change it since we are look­ing for peace?" he quizzed.

The Ghana Catholic Bishops' Conference also believes that the EC should take urgent steps to investi­gate the allegations that about 76,000 persons from neighbouring countries have their names in the biometric voter register.

"The allegations of over 76,000 names of persons from neighbouring coun­tries discovered in the cur­rent register must be inves­tigated and the proper process be conducted if the allegations are found to be true. If this and other alle­gations are found to be true, it will be necessary to have a new voter register to enable people to have confidence in the electoral process," the Bishops implored.

Dr. Joyce Aryee, former minister and stateswoman, also believes that the way forward is a fresh register.

The Executive Director of Salt and Light Ministries said on Multi TV's 'My own personal feeling' that "You don't want to work with a document that is so controversial.... I think the best thing to do is to stop all the controversy and get a new one."

She added that a "clean slate" will "shut everybody up so when you lose, you lose; when you win, you win."

The Ashanti Regional Chief Imam, Alhaji Abdul Mumin Haroon, has also observed that the replace­ment of the register is the way to go, in view of calls from several groups.

Alhaji Haroon said Muslims should not be left out in the call for a fresh register in the interest of the nation.

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