A pro-government think tank, the Danquah Institute has criticized the lack of clarity in the Electoral Commission’s (EC) communications on the voter registration and other election-related controversies.
At a press conference held today, Monday, the Executive Director of the Institute, Richard Ahiagbah, said communication failure from the part of the EC contributed to the general unease on the matter.
“We find the EC’s public education and sensitization as a major reason why many Ghanaians are worried and skeptical about the compilation of a new voters’ register.”
“The EC’s public relations has also failed to give comfort to a coalition of civil society organizations and some political parties,” Mr. Ahiagbah stated.
One of the points of contention has been the EC’s move to make the Ghana Card and Passports the only valid forms of identification for registering onto the electoral roll ahead of the registration in June.
The commission has presented the Public Election (Amendment) regulation, 2020 (C.I. 126) to Parliament to amend C.I 91 in this regard.
This sparked concerns from observers and political stakeholders alike that a significant number of Ghanaians will be disenfranchised because the National Identification Authority is yet to complete its registration exercise amid the disruption brought on by the novel coronavirus.
This has even led the National Democratic Congress (NDC) accusing the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) of conniving with the EC and the National Identification Authority(NIA) to rig the 2020 elections.
On complaints about the identification requirements, Mr. Ahiagbah said: “This is a needless dispute that we have had to engage in because the EC did not perform or function in its public relations as they ought to.”
He thus urged the EC to open up for engagement and “objectively assess recommendations put forth by leading civil society organisations and members of the anti-corruption coalition.”
Boycotts from NDC
The NDC has been at odds with the EC and boycotted key meetings on the voter registration exercise.
The NDC was absent from the recent Inter-Party Advisory Committee meeting on the compilation of a new voters register where it was announced that the voter registration would begin in June.
In December 2019, the NDC also walked out of an IPAC meeting meant for discussions on the new register.
The NDC’s IT experts also walked out of a meeting between the EC and IT reps of the various political parties.