Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Monday, August 31, 2015
New Patriotic Party branch in the United Kingdom (NPP-UK) has been compiling statistical data of what it claims is the proof that Ghana's current voter register is bloated.
It has therefore, urged all stakeholders to mount incessant pressure on the Electoral Commission (EC) to reform the electoral system, stressing the need for a new register as a major step in the process before the 2016 general elections.
“There is incontrovertible evidence to suggest that the register as it stands is bloated for a variety of reasons,” Michael Ansah, chairman of NPP-UK, said at a news conference to mark the second anniversary of what the political grouping called ‘Injustice Day’ when the Supreme Court delivered judgement in the landmark presidential election petition in 2012.
“Only a week ago in Accra, the NPP presented its case for a new voter register to the Electoral Commission of Ghana, and also to the people of Ghana. We made it clear in that presentation that the voter register as it stands is ‘incurably flawed’ and cannot be relied on for the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections,” he said.
According to the NPP-UK, there was a huge disparity between the total number of registered voters, which stood at 13,628,817, following the last registration exercise, and the total gazetted by the EC, which was 14,158,890 saying, “This difference of 530,073 - claimed to be made up of overseas voters - has not been fully accounted for, apart from only 705.”
Mr. Ansah said that then EC chairman, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, and President John Mahama had both raised ‘substantial doubts’ about the validity of the register during the 2008 election and questioned its credibility “on the basis of sheer size and numbers of registered voters relative to our national population.”
He continued, “The then EC chairman raised doubt when he said that 13 million voters on the register in 2008 was statistically unacceptable by ‘world standards.”
He recalled that President Mahama, then running mate to Prof John Atta Mills, had also said that “with the current national population of 22 million, having almost 13 million people on the voter register is unheard of.”
Relying on ‘available data’ Mr. Ansah said it was clear that there is “unusual increases in the voters register in several constituencies between 2008 and 2012,” adding “in general, an increase in the voters register between two elections of a magnitude above 10-15% is deemed high, given population growth and migration trends. However, an increase of the voters register by 25% between two elections is abnormally high and there are also several instances of this across constituencies in Ghana.”
“One cannot credibly explain for example how increases in the voters’ register of magnitudes exceeding 40% can take place. Again, these increases are indefensible. This statistical anomaly must be checked to remove any doubt as to the validity of the register as it stands.”
Mr. Ansah said new EC Chairperson Mrs. Charlotte Osei “has a new mandate, and must use this to bury the ghosts of the past, and begin a new chapter,” saying “the reasons presented and the case made, means that there remains a window of opportunity for the new EC Chairman to act now, and to replace the register NOW!”
He said if the register is replaced, it will restore the validity and ensure trust in the electoral system saying “we want to see our democracy mature. We want to see our systems improve.”
“The EC has in times past, adhered to calls for reform, calls for a new register, and calls to maintain the integrity of our elections process. It must again listen to the voice of the people.”