Politics Fri, 2 Jan 2004

EC to review Voters' Register within three months

Accra, Jan. 2 GNA- The Electoral Commission (EC) would initiate a two-week voter registration exercise during the first quarter of the year to replace the current Voters' Register.
Mr Kwadwo Safo-Kantanka, EC Deputy Chairman, Operations, who announced this at the 55th Annual New Year School underway at Legon in Accra, said the multi-billion cedis exercise would produce a new Voters' Register by September to replace the old one that has been discredited because of a number of flaws.
He said the EC found it difficult to understand the circumstances and manner by which previous Voters' Registers got bloated mainly through impersonation giving rise to claims of electoral fraud. Mr Safo-Kantanka was contributing to a symposium on: "Election 2004: Expectation," at the School, being organised by the Institute of Adult Education of the University of Ghana, Legon, on the theme: "A Decade of Constitutional Rule in Ghana, Critical Issues Facing The Nation."
He cited an instance when a Junior Secondary School pupil managed to get his name into the register by impersonating his 65 years old grandfather, who had died.
Mr Safo-Kantanka said a total of 113 billion cedis would be needed for the registration that would involve security features to minimise or eradicate impersonation.
Two photographs of every potential voter would be taken during the exercise. One would be inserted in a laminated voter identity card to be given to the voter while the other one would be sent to the central data bureau of the EC.
He said 99 billion cedis had been budgeted for Elections 2004, adding, "the electoral process is very expensive and we do not expect the situation where a dead man would resurrect the voting day." Mr Ben Ephson, Editor of the Daily Dispatch, said the incisive language callers to the phone-in-programmes on FM station posed the greatest threat to the 2004 Elections.
He expressed concern about the serial callers whose use of language was undermining the peace and stability of the country. "Ghanaians should not take the peace we are enjoying as nation for granted", he warned.
Mr Kwaku Sintim-Misa, a Media Consultant and Humorist mused the political instability the country had experienced since 1957. He interspersed his 20 minute lecture with numerous jokes about the reaction of an average Ghanaian to the effect of the economic policies of Governments on his or her political decision during voting, attracting protracted cheers from the participants.
"To the average Ghanaian the effect of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) should be felt in his pocket.
"The pattern of the December Election would be determined by how people feel the GDP in their pockets".
A participant of the School, Mr Theophilus Hagan suggested that the Election Day should be made a holiday to allow voters time to travel to their polling stations with convenience.
Mr Kwaku Baprui Asante, a Retired Educationist and Diplomat, who chaired the function, said people, who engaged in electoral malpractices must be made to face the rigours of the law, adding that Ghanaians must be educated to discern honest politicians.


Source: GNA