The governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) has given reasons to back it calls for the maintenance of the current voters register for the 2016 election despite concerns raised by the New Patriotic Party. The NDC in its proposal to the Electoral Commission on the debate for a new voters register stated that the call by the NPP is borne out of bad faith, bad-loser syndrome and a deliberate strategy for political expediency.
The party in a 71-page document signed by General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia and National Chairman Kofi Portuphy urged interest groups to rather support the EC to carry out reforms that will further improve election management in the country. The executive summary of the report “…gives reasons to address the NPP’s mischief of comparing Ghana’s ratio with that of other African countries and questioning why ours is relatively higher.”
“The NDC believes that the gradual maturing democratic practice in Ghana, the growing interest of the Ghanaian voter in the exercise of the right to vote and many factors contributed to the slightly high ratio of Ghana. There are other notable negative practices in those countries with low ratios captured in this report.” The report also “identified some inaccuracies in the tables presented by the NPP in their report. For instance, a percentage change between potential registrants and actual registered voters as stated in the NPP’s report is over 100%, which must not be the case.”
Below are excerpts of the proposal
This report disputes the claims made by the NPP by reminding Ghanaians about how the NDC handled a similar claim in 2008 and was eventually vindicated making the case for a new register (BVR) for the 2012 elections, which was even spearheaded by the NPP through Danquah Institute. It reviews the Report written by the NPP entitled Proposals for Electoral Reform prepared in January 2015 in which the claims of total replacement of the BVR were made. After a thorough interrogation of the evidence on which the conclusion was drawn, several flaws and technical shortcomings are exposed in their report. Flaws is the NPP’s claims One of the noted flaws is the NPP’s use of actual number of registered voters compiled in 2012 and the registrable (eligible voter) population of 2010 Population and Housing Census to compute the ration of voters to total population which they put at 56.2%. This is statistically wrong and this report has cured the mischief therein with the actual figures and correct calculations, taking into consideration the annual population growth rate of 2.5% as determined by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS). Besides that, the report gives reasons to address the NPP’s mischief of comparing Ghana’s ratio with that of other African countries and questioning why ours is relatively higher. The NDC believes that the gradual maturing democratic practice in Ghana, the growing interest of the Ghanaian voter in the exercise of the right to vote and many factors contributed to the slightly high ratio of Ghana. There are other notable negative practices in those countries with low ratios captured in this report.
Inaccuracies in NPP’s tables
This Report has identified some inaccuracies in the tables presented by the NPP in their report. For instance, a percentage change between potential registrants and actual registered voters as stated in the NPP’s report is over 100%, which must not be the case. Tongu, for example has been scored 123% after their calculation. Assuming that the NPP data of the potential registrants are correct, the percentage change should be 23% and not 123% as NPP boldly displays. This report has recalculated the figures in the Table and presented a more accurate picture granted, without admitting, that the raw data is correct. The changes that were noted reflect the efficiency of the use of the Biometric technology to reduce the excess numbers that were in the previous register. In the district with abnormally high growth of voter population between 2008 and 2012 reasons of migration, sudden economic boom, upsurge in mining activities and under-capture of data in 2008 were assumed to have accounted for the increases. Issues like unusual increases in the registration between 2008 and 2012, registration with the NHIA card and registration of minors have also been addressed.
Register for Parliamentary/Presidential not different
The NPP keeps referring to Parliamentary and Presidential registers as if separate registers were used for both elections, in an apparent desperation to find faults by all means. This has been clarified. In providing reasons why the current BVR should be maintained, the report accounts some recommendations submitted to the EC by the Electoral Reforms Committee which the NDC believes should be implemented to improve upon the electoral system. Another serious document looked at is the Supreme Court ruling on the 2012 Presidential Election petition. In this ruling, some recommendations were made by some justices which can also contribute positively to make the entire electoral system and process credible. From the Elections Observers Mission reports, relevant statements on the conduct of the 2012 elections and the BVR is credible and must be maintained.
The report concludes with some recommendations, most of which are in agreement with ERC and Observer Mission recommendations. Since 1992, citizens have been given the opportunity to exercise their rights by going to the polls to elect leaders at the national and constituency levels. Ghana has experienced a smooth transition from one party to another in 2001, through elections. In order to maintain this democratic culture, we need to sustain and support institutions mandated by the constitution to facilitate the observation of this culture. We believe that the report has made sufficient case for the maintenance of the current register. The reforms required should rather cover other aspects of the electoral process.