The flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Mahama, has said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo won the 2016 general elections based on the same voter register that the Electoral Commission (EC) wants to discard and has, therefore, questioned the reason for the election management body’s decision to compile a new register.
At a press conference on Tuesday, 31 December 2019 to make a case for a new Biometric Voter Management System as well as a new voter roll, the EC’s Deputy Chairman in-charge of Operations, Mr Samuel Tettey, debunked assertions that the register of voters, in the past, “were used for ten years before they were replaced”.
“This assertion is not true”, he asserted.
He explained that: “Since 1987/88, the EC has replaced the voters register three times: 1995, 2004 and 2012. The 1987/88 voters register was used for 7 years, that of 1992 was used for 9 years, the 2004 register was replaced after 8 years and the 2012 register has been used for 8 years. It has been the practice over the years to replace the voters register after every 8 years: that is after two General Elections and two District Level Elections”.
According to him, “The reason for the periodic replacement of the voters’ register is mainly due to reforms to improve the credibility and integrity of the register hence our intention to add facial recognition to completely eliminate manual verification all together, thereby ensuring credibility and integrity of the elections”.
“Another reason for the difficulty of removing the names of the deceased from it, thus, rendering the register highly bloated after being used for 8 years. In effect, using such a register for subsequent election(s) will greatly affect the credibility of the election(s)”, Mr Tettey noted.
However, during a visit to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Accra on Thursday, 6 February 2020 where he was received by the President of the Africa West Area of the church, Marcus B Nash; First Counselor Edward Dube and Second Counselor Hugo E. Martinez, Mr Mahama said: “Data is not something that you discard”, explaining: “When you have data, it is useful. You keep upgrading and adding up to it”.
Specifically, he said: “We used the same register in 2016, it worked perfectly, the President won based on the same register. Why do you want to change it? First, it was about the hardware, it was unserviceable and will cost us too much to replace the hardware. Then, it was about the data itself, there were too many dead people on the register, etc. You just can’t see where the argument sits”.
As part of the former President’s visit, he commended the church’s missionary works and widespread humanitarian services to several communities.
Mr Mahama visited the church to interact with the Africa West Area Presidency as part of ongoing consultative meetings that he and his party are holding with various stakeholders and groups ahead of election 2020.
Discussions were also held on the need for peace ahead of the 2020 general elections; curbing vigilantism, handling of the financial sector challenges and its resultant job losses among others.
The NDC flagbearer was accompanied by the party’s National Chairman, Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, a National Vice-Chairperson Sherry Ayittey, the MP for Ho West and Chairman of the Parliamentary Christian Fellowship Emmanuel Bedzrah and others.