The Election Reforms Committee of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) will hold its maiden meeting today to discuss the country?s electoral process.
The biggest opposition party is insisting that should the Electoral Commission, chaired by Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, fail to embark on the reforms ? even as directed by the Supreme Court ? the commission would be bringing chaos into the country in 2016.
The committee, chaired by Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, NPP vice presidential candidate for the 2016 general elections, is expected to build consensus and present a common position on the voters? register, limited registration, eligibility of voters as well as audit of election results.
Peter Mac Manu, a member of the committee and former national chairman of the party, will chair today?s meeting since Dr. Bawumia is out of the country.
The members will also sort out issues on receipt of the final voters? register, input of the political parties in the electoral process and other pertinent issues bothering on elections in general.
Supreme Court Guide
A member of the NPP Elections Reform Committee, Eugene Boakye Antwi, said the committee would be guided by the evidence adduced during the landmark presidential election petition in the aftermath of the 2012 general elections, which the court controversially declared for President John Mahama.
?We shall now tackle a number of the issues which arose from the presidential election petition from the Supreme Court so as to suggest certain reforms which if ignored, will tragically continue to haunt the Republic,? Mr. Antwi said.
?Ghana?s Voters? Register has been a subject matter of controversy to date. In the Supreme Court, matters of concern were raised. Yet the EC announced on 9 May, 2014 that it intended to carry out limited voter registration intended to register Ghanaians who have attained age 18 since the last registration in 2012 and also for those who were above 18 at that time, but could not register in 2012.
The committee member said that the case at the Supreme Court revealed clearly that ?all is not well with Ghana?s register,? adding, ?a case in point was the provision of different voters? register to the New Patriotic Party, for instance.?
In the course of the trial, the NPP had said that total number of registered voters that the EC furnished the petitioners? party (the NPP) with ?was 14,031,680 but it subsequently came to the notice of the petitioners that the EC had on Sunday, 9 December 2012, declared the total number of registered voters as 14,158,890.
?Furthermore, on the same date, the EC posted on its website the total number of registered voters as 14,031,793, showing a clear disparity of 127,097.? Mr. Antwi recalled, ?The Chairman of the EC, during the trial, could not provide any cogent reason for this discrepancy.?
He said the party?s research showed that the results declared indicated that the total number of registered voters for the parliamentary election was 13,628,817. ?This was the same figure given earlier to the political parties before the election,? he added.
?This figure was clearly understood to cover both parliamentary and presidential since we registered once and for both. However, the moment the final results were pronounced, the EC indicated and gazetted later that the figure for the total registered voters for the presidential election was 14,158,890.?
He said, ?This figure had never featured before! Some alleged that the difference of 530,073 had been manufactured last-minute to give ?votes? to Candidate Mahama.?
He pointed out, ?Notably, by the EC?s own declaration, the total votes for candidate Mahama was 5,574,761 and the total for Akufo-Addo was 5,248,898. The difference was 325,863.?
He said when the EC was confronted about the difference, the commission had explained that the difference in the numbers between presidential and the parliamentary votes was due to overseas registered voters who were registered for presidential voting but not parliamentary voting; but in court it was able to provide only 705 registered voters.?
?The results declared the NDC presidential candidate had a total of 5,574,761 votes while the total votes for all the NDC parliamentary candidates (by which they had majority in Parliament) was 5,127,641 votes. The difference was 447,121 votes. It was useful to wonder how this excess vote of 447,121 was not far apart from 530,073 that suddenly appeared on the register to cater for the votes of the winner.?
He said Nigeria, with a population of 162,470,737 has a voter population of 67,764,327 ? representing 41.7%; while Kenya, with a population of 41,609,728 has a voter population of 14,362,189 ? representing 34.50%.
?Tanzania, with 42.50% and Senegal with 41.50% of registered voters to their total populations, are all significantly lower than Ghana?s. South Africa boasts of a voter population of 25,390,159 out of a population of some 53 million people ? representing 47.9% of the total population.?
By William Yaw Owusu