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Opinions of Sunday, 18 October 2015

Columnist: Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai

Let’s listen to Ndebugri’s views on the voters register

Hon. John Ndebugri is an accomplished lawyer and political activists who is not partisan on national affairs . Of late he is in court to press home some legal arguments against the modus operandi of Anas in the cases against some Judges. He is pressing home the demand for Anas to take off the face covering during court proceedings.

He has also been airing his views strongly on some militant activities of Let My Vote Count (LMVC) who have been calling for the replacement of the current biometric voters register because to them it is bloated . John Ndebugri does not say that LMVC has no right to express their views on the voters register.

What he seems to object to, is their attempt to force their views on the nation as though they are right and others who hold contrary views are wrong. Every Ghanaian irrespective of your political and other leanings must wait to pay attention to the views of John Ndeburi on this issue. Don’t condemn him just because you don’t agree with him. As far as I am concerned Hon Ndebugri is right when he challenged members of the Let My Vote Count Alliance a pressure group to proceed to the court if they feel the current voters’ register is flawed.

According to Ndebugri, the Constitution specifies procedures in handling such issues explaining that such persons and their supporters who are mounting pressure on the Electoral Commission should stop.

For goodness sake The Let My Vote Count Alliance, after picketing to demand a new voters register, have also visited former President John Rawlings and John Kufuor to seek their view on the matter . Unfortunately the views expressed by the former leaders who were supposed to be neutral on this issue are wrong. After supporting the LMVC does it mean that our former leaders are they rejecting outright the views of other political actors and civil society organizations on the matter?

The pro-opposition group LMVC claimed that evidence presented by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) suggests that the current voter register is bloated with names of foreigners and minors hence a new one must be compiled before the 2016 general elections. That is a one sided argument which is yet to be verified beyond all reasonable doubt.

But, speaking on Citi FM’s news analysis program, The Big Issue, John Ndebugri argued that such demands are meant to stampede the work of the EC which is an independent body..

He added that the former presidents do not have the mandate to call for a new register.

“After the voter’s register was compiled, it was published in the gazette. So it is prima facie, valid until evidence is led to prove that it is not. That evidence is not led in the house of former President Rawlings, or Kufuor or in the meeting room of some group calling itself Let My Vote Count and so on. It is determined in court.”

Ndebugri maintained that “those challenging the authenticity of the register should go to court with credible evidence to show that the register is flawed and when there is a judicial pronouncement on it then we can proceed.”

“If they are not minded to do that, they should allow the Electoral Commission to do its work,” he stressed. All those who mean Ghana well must listen to the advice given by Hon Ndebugri because the current biometric register is all we have. In spite of all the flaws allegedly found in it, the NPP claimed to have won the election held in December 2012 , a matter that was determined by the supreme court in favor of the incumbent president. For this matter LMVC and those who are opposed to using the current voters register in the 2016 election must send their recommendations on it to the Electoral Commission and wait for the outcome of a consultative meeting on it at the Alisa Hotel on October 30.

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