Deputy Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress, Upper West Region, Alhaj Nurah Issah Danwanaa has described the Electoral Commissions’ demonstrations exercise conducted ahead of the compilation of the new voters’ register as a suicidal and a monumental failure which will not help citizens of Ghana in this trying times of COVID-19.
“Processes leading to the setup of the machine delayed, the entire exercise was very slow especially during the process of capturing the bio-information and biometric data of those registering on to the system because the machine freezes intermittently after registering few people. Also, there were intermittent breakdown, and rebooting of the machines which takes time. The form A was long, requires a lot of information to fill and the applicant had to wait for a long time for his data to be entered. The form 11A and form 1C have no serial numbers which cannot be tracked therefore can be compromised. The software does not recognize the four digits on the printed voter card unless the Ghana card ID of the guarantor. Duration at different process stages; basically at the start of the process, an applicant spent about 25-35 minutes at each stage of the process, therefore at the end, one could conclude that it will often take an average time period of 20-21 minutes” he observed.
Alhaj Nurah further observed that, the exercise was strongly faced by technical hitches adding more complications to the already slow process stressing that “the kit broke down twice in the course of the exercise on the first day, the number of cards issued on the first day of the registration was 53. The registrants mostly comprised the representatives of the various political parties in attendance. The queue was not busy as people only trickle in to register”.
He again stated that the officers at the regional office of the commission who conducted the demonstration exercise did not take into consideration the laid down protocols outlined against COVID-19 adding that “the exercise was laborious, cumbersome, suicidal and a monumental failure, one could imagine what will happen at the registration centre, when people queue from morning to evening without getting the opportunity to register. The spread of COVID- 19 will be inevitable and the number of people infected will be skyrocketing taking into cognizance of the multitude that will conglomerate at the centre to register” Alhaj Nurah stated.
Touching on the compilation of the new voter’s register
The Deputy Upper West Regional Secretary of the largest opposition National Democratic Congress Alhaj Nurah Issah Danwanaa stated with strong conviction that the ‘recalcitrant’ nature of the electoral commission to heed to calls from faith base organisations, civil society organisations as well as the national house of chiefs to do broader consultation on its decision to compile a new voter’s register is obvious that, the EC intends to disenfranchise many Ghanaians especially those within the NDC’s strong holds to the benefit of the ruling government in the 2020 general election.
“This is an opportunity they want to use to make sure that people are disenfranchised, make sure that people’s names are not on the register and to make sure that they manipulate the system to favour the ruling government” Mr. Nurah stated.
He indicated that the actions of the commission will create chaos at the registration centres “what we realised was that, why are they not willing to use the existing voters’ register instead of going through this cumbersome process, the process will not help us, the process will create chaos at the polling stations, that is what I am telling you, for now they are supposed to just abandon this process maybe just do a limited registration exercise where few people will go to the station to register” he added.
The Deputy Secretary further stated that, the same electoral commission under Jean Mensah touted the credibility of the existing register compelling them to use it for the creation of six new regions, also the conduction of the local level elections, quizzing what would have become of the existing register to lose its credibility after performing the mentioned functions within the shortest period.
“Our insistence of using the existing register is based on the EC itself assessment of the system, they said the system is perfect, that the system is credible, they used it for 2012 elections, they used it for 2016 elections and President Nana Addo won, they used it for District Assembly elections, used it to create six regions and said this register is credible, so we are relying base on their own assessment to say that we don’t need a new register”.
Mr. Nurah who could not fathom the motive behind the NPP’s persistent call for a new register after touting themselves of winning the 2016 general election with 1millon votes with the existing voter’s register said, the usage of the existing voter’s register will serve as a test for the NPP to prove that they actually won the elections on fertile grounds without any form of malicious activities.
“We are saying that we should go by the existing register that made Nana Addo to win by 1 million votes and we will test whether he actually won by 1 million votes” Alhaj Nurah added.
He stressed that, if not for the fulfillment of the NPP’s bid of holding on to power by all means, why will the electoral commission of Ghana refused to heed to the call of the National House Chiefs who invited the EC for deliberations, adding that, the EC went on with the demonstration of the compilation of the new voter’s register as of the time the CI laid before parliament is yet to be matured and a pending court suit.
Alhaj Nurah again revealed that, the NPP’s government under the watch of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has performed abysmally and the party which is quite aware of the hardship their government vested onto Ghanians knew the genuine conduct of the 2020 polls will evict them from power.
“They know very well that they have performed poorly, badly and this is the worst government in the history of Ghana and they know that Ghanaians are pissed and are annoyed and people are ready to vote them out, so their strategy now is to make sure that those people who are aggrieved and those NDC strong holds who want to support the masses to vote this government out, they want to ensure that they are disenfranchised and make sure that their names are not on the register and to make sure that they have their people on the register whereby they can vote for them and then they will call some of us whose names are not on the register to simple mean that we are not Ghanaians”Alhaj Nurah stressed.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Upper West Regional Secretary of the NDC, Alhaj Nurah Issah Danwanaa allays the fear of NDC party folks by accentuating that it is not only the NDC that is against the compilation of the new voter’s register, stressing that civil society organisations, religious bodies among others are all against the move adding that, the CSOs such as ASEPA and IMANI-AFRICA have petitioned the Ashantihene and other eminent personalities to intervene.