The Jean Mensa-led Electoral Commission has, in two years, added 2.2 million names to the current voter roll which her office has described as “poisoned”, national Chairman of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, has said.Adducing reasons why the EC decided to exclude the current voter ID card from the list of breeder documents for its forthcoming voter registration exercise ahead of the December 2020 polls, the election management body explained to the Supreme Court, in a 31-page document, that the existing ID cards are “fruits of a poisoned tree”.
The NDC and some other opposition parties and civil society groups, have kicked against the EC’s plan to start compiling a new voter roll by the end of June.
They have cited constraints bordering on funds, time, logistics and the COVID-19 pandemic to argue their case.
The NDC, which dragged the EC to the Supreme Court to challenge its constitutional mandate to compile a new register, however, dropped that relief on Thursday, 11 June 2020 and decided to focus on its second relief, which has to do with the exclusion of the use of the old voter ID card as a breeder document for the forthcoming registration exercise.
Speaking about the EC and its posture as far as the voter roll is concerned, Mr Ofosu-Ampofo told Kwabena Bobie Ansah on Accra100.5FM’s Citizen Show on Thursday, 11 June 2020 that: “When Jean Mensa took the helm of affairs at the EC, the current register, which she says is the ‘fruit of a poisoned tree’, she has added even more poison to the poisoned tree and its fruits because, ahead of the referendum to create six new regions, she registered one million people in a limited exercise and added their names to the current register which she describes as a poisoned document”.
“Furthermore, ahead of last year’s district assembly elections, she, again, conducted a limited registration exercise and added 1.2 million more people to the existing register”, Mr Ofosu-Ampofo said, adding: “So, she alone, within two years, added 2.2 million people to the register she describes as a poisoned tree”.
Also, Mr Ofosu-Ampofo accused the EC and the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), of betraying an agreement signed by all the political parties with the election management body, to do only continuous registration of eligible voters after the 2016 elections instead of discarding the 2012 voter roll for a totally new one.
“It was agreed by the EC and the various political parties, including the NDC and NPP, that we will be doing continuous registration and no more mass registration”, Mr Ofosu-Ampofo told Kwabena Bobie Ansah.
“All the political parties, in fact, I was part of that meeting, agreed that the EC should open its doors for eligible voters who have turned 18 years and above, to walk freely into their offices to register on every last Friday of every month of the year”, he recalled.
“It was agreed that the EC will open its doors from 7 am to 5 pm on those Fridays”, Mr Ofosu-Ampofo said, adding: “The political parties were to send their representatives to those EC offices to monitor the process”.
“After each monthly registration exercise, the EC would furnish the political parties with the provisional list to deal with any challenges that may have come up before the subsequent month’s exercise was done. So, this year, we were supposed to have had 12 continuous registration exercises because it was meant for every last Friday of every month”, the NDC Chair note.
According to him, “We all agreed at the time that since the 2016 election was just around the corner, we would start the continuous registration from January 2017”.
Mr Ofosu-Ampofo explained that: “The reason the NDC is opposed to this new registration exercise is that, we all, including the NPP, signed an agreement that we would be doing continuous registration only and won’t throw away the 2012 register because it is credible, it is biometric – and it is difficult manipulating a biometric document”.
“So, we agreed that never will we, as a country, do a totally new voter register again”, he insisted, adding: “The NPP was represented at that meeting by Mr Mac Manu and we all agreed to do continuous registration”.
“There are documents proving that we all signed onto the new system”, he noted. “The CDD, Mr Kwesi Jonah of IDEG, and the IEA were all at that meeting”.