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Opinions of Thursday, 22 October 2015

Columnist: The Catalyst

NDC exposes NPP/IEA tricks

There should be something fishy about the opposition New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) demand for a new voters register to instigate them to use all sorts of tricks to get that desire met.

From the indisciplined Let My Vote Count demonstration to Gabby Otchere-Darko’s insistence that Ghana would burn should the Electoral Commission refuse to put together a new voters’ register, one thing is becoming clearer by the day- an agenda to win the 2016 elections at all cost by hook or crook.

The NPP is not only resorting to tricks but is also getting other persons and institutions to join them knowingly or otherwise.

Though the tricks appear to be failing by the day the NPP is desperately resorting to fresh ones to achieve their agenda.

The latest institution to fall prey to these manoeuvrings is the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), the institution that organized the Presidential Debate in previous elections in the country.

Apparently oblivious of their own involvement in a decision to give the constitutionally-mandated body the authority to handle complaints on the voters’ register, the IEA is calling for a debate on the same issue they and other political parties had decided on under the Ghana Political Parties Programme (GPPP).

This is not only exposing the IEA to public criticisms but also bringing their reputation as an independent body into question as people wonder if they are not in bed with the opposition New Patriotic Party, whose bidding they are clearly seen to be doing.

The ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) has categorically declared its resolve not to be part of the debate which, in its opinion, is usurping the work of the EC.
In a statement signed by its General Secretary, Johnson AsieduNketia, the NDC maintains the issue of the voters’ register is being handled by the Electoral Commission (EC) hence their resolve to stay out of the IEA debate and any engagement with the NPP.

It is challenging the IEA’s double-standard in agreeing on one hand to allow the EC handle the matter and on the other hand calling for a debate that has the potential of undermining the entire process being adopted by the EC to sanitize the register.

The IEA has joined the modus operandi of the NPP who, after making complaints to the EC, would turn around to join demonstrators to attack the same EC to whom they have given the responsibility of verifying the truth in the matter.

The NDC wants the IEA to avail itself of the opening the EC has made for suggestions from individuals, political parties and other civil society organizations on making the voters’ register more credible.

Interestingly, the EC has set aside the last week of October for the various parties to make submissions on their call for or against a new voters’ register and this is expected to give parties the chance to make their case.

The IEA’s approach, in support of the NPP, is similar to a litigant who sends a case to court for determination but the legally authorized body but still goes round fighting with the other party on the same issue.

The NPP is yet to tell Ghanaians if it will make use of the opportunity the EC is providing and it is not clear what benefits would be derived from the debate when all that the party wants to debate could be channelled to the elections regulating body.

What Ghanaians want to know is whether, after making the open noise the NPP would still come back to the same EC to make their case or would presume the debate serves as their only legitimate complaint channel.