Policy think tank, IMANI Centre for Policy and Education, has said the decision by the Electoral Commission (EC) to go ahead to compile a new voters’ register will discredit the outcome of the 2020 general elections.According to the think tank, EC’s insistence on the use of the Ghana Card and passport as proof of eligibility for registration into the electoral roll sets Ghana’s democracy back at least ten years.
“IMANI’s position has been that the EC is motivated purely by the procurement of millions of dollars of needless, useless, expensive equipment for reasons best known to its commissioners. What has been impressive is how the EC has successfully manipulated the ruling party to assist in this scheme by offering them something they had always wanted: re-registration,” part of their statement read.
The statement released on Monday, June 1, 2020, is a prelude to an updated Q&A document on IMANI’s position on the EC’s decision to go ahead with the compilation of a new voters’ register.
According to the think tank, because the EC’s main goal has always been the procurement opportunity, they initially offered to transfer the biographical details on the existing equipment to new equipment provided new biometric data could be captured to replace the existing.
“They soon realised that this would lose them both the ruling party and the opposition. The opposition wants both the biometric and biographical information transferred to new equipment, if they must be bought at all.
“The ruling party wants neither to be transferred at all. None of the two main parties are too concerned about the millions of dollars that will be wasted on needless equipment, though the NDC has referred to the matter occasionally. The EC did the calculation and realised that though their primary interest is the brand-new equipment, they needed ‘political cover’ too. Hence the rather bizarre U-turns,” IMANI stated further.
The EC has set the latter part of June to start the compilation of a fresh electoral roll to be used for the December 2020 elections, despite opposition from other Civil Society Organisations and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), the other major political party in Ghana apart from the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The EC’s defence is that the register it intends to change is fraught with the names of non-Ghanaians.
The EC also says its biometric equipment that will be used for voting are obsolete and hence has initiated a process to procure new ones.
Many critics, however, say the timing of the decision to compile a new electoral roll was bad and too close the next election.