General Secretary of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, has stated that it is wrong for anybody to call for a total replacement of the voters register, only two years after its compilation.
According to him, such a call must be supported by proven evidence that there was a better improved technology that could deal with the shortcomings of the biometric register.
“I find untenable almost all the arguments I have heard so far for the total replacement of the register.
“The arguments are based on wrong information and assumptions. The basis of all the arguments is a comparison of the voters register with the population census, which comparison is very problematic, to say the least,” he said.
Mr Nketia said this while stating the party’s position in reaction to a call by some governance experts on the Electoral Commission (EC) to scrutinise the voters register to ensure transparency in the electoral process leading to the 2016 general election.
He said although he agreed with the experts on the need for a register to ensure the acceptance of every election, arguments following the call seemed to be confusing the need to scrutinise the register with that of a total replacement.
“These are two different things. There is an established process of continuously scrutinising the register with the view to eliminating names that ought not to be in it.
“The process involves the participation of all political parties and civil society organisations. But this is different from the call for the total replacement of the register,” Mr Nketia stated.
He explained that in the past, the process of replacing the register happened once every 10 years and after a population census, adding that the biometric system of registration was adopted as a prelude for a continuous registration process.
“It is, therefore, wrong for anybody to call for a total replacement of the register only two years after its compilation when it cannot be proven that there is a better improved technology that can deal with the shortcomings of the biometric register.
“What is the basis, therefore, of comparing the voters register which was captured in 2012 with a population figure which was arrived at two clear years earlier. This comparison assumes that Ghanaians stopped growing within these two years,” Mr Nketia said.
He said the population census figures were produced manually without any witnesses, while several complaints were made about Ghanaians who had not been counted at all.
According to him, there were several districts that recorded negative growth over the 10 years, pointing out that “clearly the quality of data was no way comparable to a voters register which was captured biometrically and which did not permit multiple registration”.
The NDC scribe also observed that there was absolutely no logical basis for holding the population census figure as accurate and judging the voters register as bloated.
Register not perfect
“This is not to say that the register is perfect. But we went for the biometric technology fully conscious of its limitations because there was no better one.
“We all knew that the equipment cannot differentiate the fingerprint of a minor from that of an adult. The possibility of registering minors was made clear to us and indeed during the registration process we heard complaints from almost all the political parties about minors undergoing registration,” Mr Nketia said.
He stated that the process of trying to identify those minors and preventing them from voting had been ongoing since 2012, pointing out that “a new capture of the register will make sense if there is a new and improved technology that will help us determine the ages of applicants for registration”.