Award-winning investigative journalist Manasseh Azure Awuni has criticized the decision of the Electoral Commission of Ghana(EC) to compile a new voters’ register in the face of stiff opposition, stating that the EC’s insistence shows an apparent allergy to common sense and conventional wisdom or an unpreparedness to listen to divergent views no matter how compelling they may be.
Mr Awuni argued that the view by the governing New Patriotic Party(NPP) that the current voter register is bloated with names of foreigners, especially in opposition National Democratic Congress(NDC) strongholds, such the Ketu South Constituency, is not new, and that it has been an argument by the NPP for the compilation of a new register.
He made these comments on social media following a tweet by NPP stalwart Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko doubting how possible it was for Ketu South to be the constituency with the highest number of voters in the country and the ongoing plans by the EC to go ahead with the compilation of a new register in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic and practical challenges such as the constraint of time.
“The Ketu South voters’ register argument being advanced by Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko and other NPP members is not new. It’s the same rehashed claim that Togolese have flooded the register in the Volta Region, a stronghold of the NDC. It’s the reason the NPP agitated for a new register while in opposition. With that so-called “bloated” register, the NPP won massively. Strangely, it’s still not happy. The NPP is now in power. Charlotte Osei, who would have been a stumbling block to this new register agenda, has been removed. The NPP’s wish will be done at all costs.
Mrs. Jean Mensa, Dr. Bossman Asare, the other EC Commissioners and all right thinking members of our society know that it’s not healthy to compile a new voters’ register with a few months to an election, when the temperature of the nation shoots beyond the roofs. The violence that characterised previous registrations and limited registrations should caution us. It doesn’t have to take Major Boakye Gyan’s words.
The economic devastation caused by Covid-19, and fact that the virus is still spreading should have restrained the EC and made them listen to the likes of Akoto Ampaw, who suggested to the Commission to use the existing register. Almost all civil society groups in Ghana unanimously kicked against the compilation of a new register. But it appears the EC is allergic to common sense and conventional wisdom. Or, rather, it is so blinded by the desire to do someone’s bidding that it’s unprepared to listen to anyone who doesn’t sing from the same hymn book,” he argued on Facebook.
Mr Awuni bemoaned that a $100, 000,000 was going to be wasted on the needless exercise of compiling the register and that the proponents of supporters of the exercise will be remembered in the inglorious pages of history.
“I pray and hope they pull through this without compromising the security of our nation even though over a hundred million dollars is being flushed down the toilet at a time we went to beg from IMF to fight the pandemic.
But the architects of this should remember that they will find their names in the appropriate pages of our nation’s unwritten history — the inglorious pages,” he concluded.
Meanwhile the EC has set the end of June as the start date for the exercise.