It is useless and beats logical reasoning for the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana to spend a huge amount of money in compiling a new voter roll barely 11 months to the 2020 polls, Managing Editor of the Daily Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jr., has stated.
According to the veteran journalist, he finds it puzzling for officials of the EC to endorse the voter’s register and a few months after make a U-turn to advocate for a new one.
The election management body, EC is proposing the acquisition of the new voters register less than a year to the presidential and parliamentary polls scheduled for December 2020.
At a forum organised by the Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) for Good Governance in Accra on Thursday, Mr Pratt argued: “From the point of view of common sense, we should shelve this useless adventure of compiling a new voter register. They say the EC is an independent body, what does that mean? nothing is more nonsensical than that claim.”
The current register was compiled in 2012 and was used for the last two general and parliamentary polls in Ghana. The same register was also used for the referendum to create new regions as well as the local government polls to elect heads of the various assemblies and unit committee members in 2019.
To justify the proposal, the EC said a new register was critical for the 2020 polls as they need a new Biometric Voter Management System to replace what they say has become obsolete.
In the view of the EC, the current register is bloated and the solution is the acquisition of a fresh one. They also argued that cleaning the register would cost more compared to the procurement of a new system. Moreover, they want total access to data and critical information hence selection of a new vendor that will give absolute control to the EC.
But Mr Pratt maintains that getting a new voter roll is not prudent. He explained that the same day he “heard that the Electoral Commission was planning to foist a new voters’ register on us, was the same day I read statements by two of the Commissioners. Two Commissioners had argued that the voters’ register is very credible and I ask myself, ‘if the voters’ register is very credible, why change something which is credible?”
For him, the reasons provided by the EC is untenable and does not justify the huge budget earmarked for the exercise.
“Up to today, nobody has provided the answer as to why we should change a very credible voters’ register,” he lamented, adding: “We are being called upon to spend close to one billion cedis changing something which is credible”.
In his opinion, “this certainly does not fall into the category of common sense. It falls into the category of no sense”.