General News of Wed, 14 Oct 2015185
Let’s have new electoral register to kill doubt in 2016 – JJ
If a new electoral roll will engender confidence in the electoral process as far as the 2016 elections are concerned, then “let’s do it,” former President Jerry Rawlings has said.
“Everything possible must be done to ensure a very credible electoral process. If this means that we listen to what some of the elders are saying, the Churches etc., to examine what’s going on, to give the registry, the electoral process into the elections a very credible climate, a very credible instrument, platform, I think let’s do it,” Mr Rawlings said when pressure group Let My Vote Count Alliance (LMVCA) paid him a courtesy call Wednesday, October 14, 2015.
“The only way we can really contain and prevent things from getting out of hand is to ensure that the electoral process and that register are as credible as possible,” Mr Rawlings said.
According to him, “there is a lot of stress in the air, there is a lot of nervousness,” and having a credible register is one of the important ways of toning down the stress, adding that the 2016 elections will be a “test on all of us.”
The founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) said the incumbent government need not be afraid of a new register if it was confident of the electoral process.
“As a sitting government, I think if we feel pretty confident about that register we should have no fears in doing what needs to be done to win the confidence…to take away doubts,” he said.
Mr Rawlings’ comments on the electoral roll come a day after the Catholic Bishops’ Conference said Ghana must have a new electoral roll for the 2016 elections if bloating, double, as well as alien registration allegations are proven to be true.
In a statement signed by the Conference’s President, Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu, the Catholic clergy said the need for a credible register for the December elections is very critical, thus the need for all claims of anomalies to be investigated and redressed.
The group said, “allegations of over 76,000 names of persons from neighbouring countries discovered in the current register must be investigated, and the proper process be conducted if the allegations are found to be true.”
“If this and other allegations are found to be true, it will be necessary to have a new voters register to enable people to have confidence in the electoral process,” the Clergy recommended.
The main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) and groups sympathetic to its cause, claim apart from minors on the register, some Togolese also crossed the border into Ghana to register when the exercise was opened ahead of the last elections. They also claim there are several multiple registrants on the roll, thus sullying its integrity and trustworthiness.
Anti-government group, Let My Vote Count Alliance (LMVCA), has been the protagonist in pushing for a new register.
Speaking on the matter on Monday, October 12, flagbearer of the NPP, Nana Akufo-Addo said inasmuch as the new Chair of the Electoral Commission must be given some time to settle in her new role, Charlotte Osei must also act quickly to address the concerns of the various groups and parties.
The NDC, on the other hand, has always argued that there was no need for a new register.