Justice V.C.R.A.C. Crabbe
Justice V.C.R.A.C. Crabbe

The forum to solicit opinions from stakeholders on the voters’ register began at the Alisa Hotel in Accra with the key question still unanswered. The forum owes its genesis to a number of allegations made by the New Patriotic Party, which has cried foul over the state of the register of voters kept by the Electoral Commission.

Justice V.C.R.A.C. Crabbe
Justice V.C.R.A.C. Crabbe

The largest opposition party in Ghana says the voters’ register is unreliable, because research conducted by the party indicates that there are a number of entries, who may not necessarily be Ghanaians. The party also claimed in an official complaint to the Electoral Commission that there were minors in the register, and that the over 14 million entries in a population of about 25 million could not be realistic. The register, therefore, is bloated, they asserted.

Based on this revelation, the party has rejected the 2012 document as unreliable for the 2016 vote, and called for a compilation of a new credible register. The Chronicle would like to believe that all it needed to put Ghanaian minds at rest was for the Electoral Commission to respond to the NPP queries. As it was, the various political parties, invited to make presentations yesterday, merely re-echoed their long-held positions.

The NPP’s presentation, delivered by Mr. Peter Mac Manu, one-time Chairman of the party, insisted on the need for the compilation of a new voters’ register. As was generally anticipated, the official position of the ruling National Democratic Congress, outlined by its chief scribe, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, vehemently opposed the idea of the compilation of a new register.

It was also to be expected that the position of the Progressive Popular Party tilted towards the NPP line, while the People’s National Convention’s Bernard Mornah, not surprisingly, okayed the NDC position.

The Chronicle is not impressed by the gathering at Alisa and its deliberations.  We are of the view that such a forum would be relevant, only after the Electoral Commission had officially pronounced on the NPP allegation. We have already made this feeling known in an earlier editorial. We deem it important to revisit the topic, because, in our opinion, this nation seems to be addressing the inconsequential, instead of addressing the substance of the case.

What the forum succeeded in doing, we dare state, is to bring some public officials who have not been seen for a long time back on the national radar. There was Mr. V.C.R.A.C. Crabbe, one time Electoral Commissioner of this country and who still has his wits about him well into his nineties.

The sight of Mrs. Grace Bediako, former head of the Ghana Statistical Service, was refreshing. Since she was chased out of the Ghana Statistical Service in very strange circumstances, she has never been seen in public.

It was refreshing yesterday, seeing her on the screen and hearing her golden voice once again. Grey-haired T.N. Ward-Brew, founder and leader of the Democratic People’s Party, appeared to have taken leave of local politics for some time now. His presence at the forum yesterday was re-assuring.

The same though, cannot be said of the discussion which took place at the plush Alisa Hotel. In the opinion of this paper, yesterday’s forum put the cart before the horse. What is the point in discussing a voters’ register of which state no one knows.

The Electoral Commission has to come clean. The issue at stake is serious. If it is indeed true that records in its strong room were tampered with in order to get scanned pictures onto the biometric data or registered voters, the Commission has a lot to answer for.

Anybody who believes that the 2012 voters’ register truly represents the voting population of this country must be living in cloud cuckoo land, we dare state.  14 million adults above the age of 18 cannot be the right representation of voters in a population of 24 million.

There is definitely a major problem with the register. Let us get to the bottom of it and stop beating about the bush. It would rather worsen, instead of resolving the problem.
Like the infamous Senchi Accord, the Alisa Hotel Forum is much ado about nothing!

Source: The Chronicle

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