PhD student with the Department of Civil Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Mr Rashid Kwesi Etuaful has described the forum organised by the electoral commission of Ghana (EC) on the voters’ register as needless. Mr Rashid believes that the EC has all the necessary documents to make an informed decision. Mr Rashid who is also a former president of GRASAG KNUST buttressed his assertion on the call made by the EC for all stakeholders to submit their proposals to the commission. He therefore, could not fathom why the EC would constitute a committee to receive the very proposals that have already been submitted to the EC. Mr Rashid’s comments were made during a panel discussion on GRASAG HOUR programme on Focus FM.
He further argued that, the EC is independent with integrity to protect, and wonder why such an independent government institution would allow a third party to interfere in its constitutional mandate. He however believes that, the proposals submitted to the EC by the various stakeholders could have been given to the five member committee to study and subsequently present its findings to the EC for onwards consideration. Mr Rashid Kwesi Etuaful nevertheless, commended the composition of the committee members since they all seem to have an in-depth knowledge in the subject matter of discussion. He described one member of the committee, His Lordship Professor V.C.R.A.C. Crabbe, a former justice of the supreme court of Ghana and a former Electoral Commissioner of Ghana, as one of the finest brains when it comes to elections in Ghana.
When he was asked by the host of the programme, Richard Apau to state his position on the call for either a new voter register or a cleaned voter register, Mr Rashid has this to say. “as a researcher, I admire the presentation and the scholarly work conducted by Dr Bawumiah. I am however not convinced by the call for new voters register. The NPP should provide further statistical and documentary proof” He also challenged the NDC to demonstrate how the register can be cleaned to expunge foreigners, minors and double registration.
Another panel on the Show, Mr Christian Atta Sarpong sharply disagreed with the stance and position taken by Mr. Rashid. Mr Sarpong believes that, whether rain or shine, the voters’ register for the 2016 election will not be the same as the one used in the 2012 general election. Mr. Christian Atta Sarpong, who is an MPhil student pursuing Natural Resource and Environmental Governance noted that, whether cleaned or new register, the register for the next election will be considerably different whichever way. Mr Sarpong who is also the Electoral Commissioner of GRASAG KNUST urges the EC to listen to all concerns and address them appropriately and timely before the 2016 election. He was of the opinion that, election conducted on a register that has been described as “incurably flawed” may not auger well for the country.
He again, could not understand why the Chairman of the Peace Council was included in the composition of the committee. He questioned why the peace council is always heard on matters concerning elections at the neglect of other critical sectors of the economy such as road accidents, unemployment, education and others. He urged the National Peace Council to stop putting all its energy on elections and concentrate on equally important areas of the economy. He however agreed on the suggestion put forward by Mr Rashid on the necessity of the Forum.
On his part, Mr Stallone Nyarko, an MSc Economics student believes that a new voters’ register is the way to go. He further argued that, the cost of compiling a new voters’ registration should not constitute a basis for cleaning. Mr Stallone Nyarko believes that the position taken by the NPP would go a long way to help the nation.
It will be recalled that, the electoral commission of Ghana constituted a five member committee to receive, study, compile and present their findings to the EC for implementation. The forum which ended 30th October, 2015 at the Alisa Hotel, Accra is expected to address the concerns that have been raised by stakeholders in the electoral process.
The panel members are his Lordship professor V.C.R.A.C. Crabbe, former justice of the Supreme court of Ghana and former Electoral Commissioner of Ghana; Most Reverend Professor Emmanuel Asante, former Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Ghana and Chairman of National Peace Council; Dr Grace Bediako, former head of the Statistical service and former member of National Development Planning Commission; Dr. Nii Narku Quaynor, renowned Computer Scientist, Chairman of the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) Board of Directors and President of the Internet society Ghana and Maulvi Bin Salih, Ameer of the Ahmadiyya Mission of Ghana.
Story: RICHARD APAU (PRO GRASAG email@example.com)
Date: 2nd November, 2015.