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General News of Thursday, 29 October 2015

Source: Graphic.com.gh

‘NPP, NDC must avoid gimmicks’

An independent presidential candidate in the 2012 Elections, Mr Jacob Osei Yeboah has challenged the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to stop the “political drama” on the voters register and look for solutions to the numerous problems bedeviling the country.

“More often than not we are made to think that Lil Win and Agya Koo are great Ghanaian actors in the entertainment industry who affect our emotions, but, as a country, we also envisage from our blind sides the great actors called politicians, mostly in the NPP and the NDC, who are more than able to affect our emotions and productivity negatively,” he stated.

He, therefore, urged the two parties not to spill blood over the voters register, saying “already, someone has lost his eye in reality and will live with this deformity for the rest of his life.”

This morning, the Electoral Commission (EC) is commencing a two-day public hearing on the controversial voters register.

In line with this, the commission has assembled a five-member panel of eminent Ghanaians to hold the hearing. The five-member voters register panel is made up of Professor V.C.R.A.C. Crabbe, Most Reverend Professor Emmanuel Asante, Dr Grace Bediako, Dr Nii Narku Quaynor and Maulvi Bin Salih.

The setting up of the panel follows petitions the EC received and calls from some political parties, civil society groups and a number of Ghanaians for a new voters register, with others calling for an audit of the register instead, all with a view to ensuring a credible voters register for 2016 and beyond.

Sharing his perspective on the public hearing today and tomorrow, Mr Yeboah expressed worry over the political drama being staged by the NPP and the NDC on the biometric voter register (BVR).

In his view, “if the NPP and the NDC, with their opprobrious assertion of “we've the men,” accept the fact that they do not understand the real solution to the BVR, this will be the greatest joke of the 21st century.”

He, therefore, called on the two political parties to deal with the issues in order to ensure a transparent and accountable process for examining and determining the petitions on the voters register received by the EC.

According to Mr Yeboah, it will make economic sense and technically efficient for the Electoral Commission to open the BVR to allow all those who will be 18 by November 7, 2016 to register by end of March 2016.

He said the EC must also reopen the BVR for verification by individual voters, by placing their finger on the AFIS machine.

Mr Yeboah pointed out that following that all issues raised, including the names of the dead in the BVR, could then be eliminated and the BVR cleaned by the end of June 2016.

Additionally, Mr Yeboah urged the EC and stakeholders to agree on the compilation of a BVR by end of August 2016.

Then verification by registered voters could follow.

According to Mr Yeboah, the country stood the high risk of repeating similar validation and verification processes every four years due to the fact that any BVR that failed regular updates or maintenance was likely to lose its credibility.

This is due to the existence of the dead, movement of people to other regions and areas, and more people attaining the age of 18.

The long-term solution, Mr Yeboah said lay with the creation of the National Electronic Data Register/Infrastructure (NEDI) to serve as the reference base data.

NEDI, in the view of Mr Yeboah, will track individual from birth through to death, describing it as a great modern state data tool for socio-economic development.

The EC can benefit substantially by soliciting data from NEDI to create the subsequent BVR for future elections, he stressed.