Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
The British High Commission in Accra has refuted claims in the media that its government has acknowledged that Ghana’s voter register is bloated by at least 10 percent.
A terse statement issued in Accra by the Commission on its website asserted, “We are disappointed that certain media outlets continue to report inaccurately the British Government’s views, and have wilfully misrepresented what we have said.”
The statement added that “Ghana’s voter register is a domestic issue for Ghana’s Electoral Commission to consider with political parties. There has been a full and public debate on the current register and the Electoral Commission recently published a report on this.”
The British Government is clear that the forthcoming elections in Ghana are a sovereign, domestic Ghanaian issue. “We will remain entirely neutral and happily work with any democratically elected government,” it indicated.
It was a United Kingdom-based newspaper, The Echo, which targets African and Caribbean communities, that first published that it had ‘intercepted’ correspondences between the Office of the British Prime Minister, through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK, and the tone of the letter was an expression of concern about an over-bloated Ghana’s electoral register.
“These letters have been written in response to a petition by some concerned Ghanaians in Britain who had expressed grave concerns about potential electoral violence in this year’s election,” The Echo posited.
According to a correspondence from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (British Foreign Ministry), a copy of which is available to DAILY GUIDE, the British Government was adequately informed about the trend in the country regarding the voter register.
“We are fully aware of the concerns regarding the electoral register - we note that the average population percentage in Ghana of those eligible to vote is approximately 52% which is 10% higher than continental average,” the letter from the British Foreign Ministry, addressed to the concerned Ghanaians who had petitioned Prime Minister David Cameron, had affirmed.
The correspondence, dated December 23, 2015 and signed by Vicki Morley, Desk Officer for Ghana, said the British High Commission in Accra was in regular contact with all political parties and civil society groups as well as the Electoral Commission.
“We stand ready to assist the Electoral Commission in ensuring that concerns can be addressed,” the letter assured.
However, the High Commission in Accra did not dispute the content of the Foreign Office letter, acknowledging the 10% bloated figure of Ghana’s electoral roll.
The British Government’s position tallies with the report of the five-member panel composed by the EC and headed by Justice VCRAC Crabbe (a retired Supreme Court judge) to look into the petition of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) over the said bloated register.