Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC) has begun a process to provide various stakeholders with a platform to voice their concerns about implementing a new voter register. This is in response to calls from the leading opposition party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), for a total re-registration of Ghanaian voters. According to the NPP, the country’s current voter register is bloated and contains thousands of names from Togolese and other West African nationals.
The NPP’s call has since been backed by almost all the other political parties in Ghana, with the notable exception of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC). The NDC says a normal audit, instead of a complete re-registration, should be enough.
The Electoral Commission responded by promising a forum for all concerned parties to present their case to the commission to inform their decision before Ghanaians go to the polls next year.
Today, the forum began with the NPP presenting its case. Former party Chairman, Peter Mac Manu, took to the dais to present the party’s position at the Alisa Hotel in Accra.
He reiterated the points the party has been making over the past few months, citing statements made by former EC Chairman Kwadwo Afari Gyan and President John Mahama, in which they referred to the ‘outrageous numbers’ in the register.
Mr. Mac Manu argued that the current register is flawed, pointing to individuals whose photographs are either unrecognizable, clearly minors, or those individuals whose eligibility details are questionable.
He alleged, for example, that there are 4,620 people who have been photo shopped into the register. He said the NDC’s claim that the exercise will be too expensive is unfounded as it will only cost $7 per voter.
The Ghana Institute of Public Policy Options (GIPPO) also made a presentation addressing some of these concerns.
Other stakeholders, including other political parties, are slated to address the forum.