Right Alliance-Africa has observed the event that has led to the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and other political parties opposing the proposal by the Electoral Commission (EC) to compile a new biometric voters register in less than year to 2020 general election.
This followed when the EC announced at an Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting held on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 that it was planning to compile a new voters register for the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections.
We at Right Alliance believe that although the EC is an independent body and in exercise of the power conferred on it by article 45 of the 1992 Constitution to compile a register of voters and revise it at such period as may be determined by law, nevertheless, the EC is subject to rule of law. In that, the Registration of Voters Regulation, 2016, (C.I. 91) provides under regulation 9(2) that the EC shall in consultation with registered political parties determine the modalities for the registration of voters.
The law somewhat enjoins that the EC cannot on its own motion or initiative compile a new voters register without discussions with political parties on the way forward.
Moreover, the consequential issue to be dealt with is whether or not the existing biometric voters register is credible. From the statement of the EC, the reason to compile a new biometric voters register is not the lack of the credible existing register but rather the register is ‘overstretched’.
Given the fact that this current register was the one used to conduct the 2016 general elections and the recent District Assembly elections, we at Right Alliance believe that it is very unreasonable to compile a new biometric voters register with less than a year left to the general elections on the sole grounds that the existing biometric voters register is overstretched when it is credible.
Further, we are of the view that the EC should rather channel resources on upgrading the verification system to improve the efficiency in voting rather than the extravagant expenses to be used in procuring a new biometric voters register.
Ghana is an oasis of peace and stability in Sub-Sahara Africa because of our strong democratic institutions like the EC. We believe that there is the need for further dialogue among stakeholders in the upcoming general elections in 2020 to ensure that there is free, fair and transparent elections.
Director of Communications