GeneralPolitics

Over 800,000 voters in Volta and Oti in danger of being disenfranchised

As CI 261, the Constitutional Instrument that the Electoral Commission wants passed to govern the conduct of the 2020 election travels its 21 day gestation period before Parliament, the haunting reality is that it would endanger more than 800,000 duly registered voters in the Volta and Oti regions.

This is because the Ghana Card, which the EC is going to rely on as breed document to determine the eligibility of voters for registration onto a controversial new voters’ register that the EC wants to compile has not been issued to more than half of the populations in these regions.

Out of an estimated voter population of 887,906, only 386,676 have been issued with the Ghana Card, meaning some 56.45% of all eligible voters have not received the card and will likely not be able to register onto the new voters register.

In Oti, which was only recently carved out of the Volta Region, 323,547 out of the voter population of 563,006 have not received their Ghana Cards. In percentage terms, this means 57.47% of the population there have not been issued cards.

In Volta Region, NIA estimated to register 968,273 15+ people. They ended up registering 568,259 people and issued 421,675 cards out. In Oti, the estimated 15+ by NIA was 613,965 but they only registered 362,036 and issued 261,133 cards.

The EC, which is in an alliance with the NIA to ensure that a new voters’ register is compiled is saying it will allow all those who do not receive the Ghana Card to go through a convoluted process of swearing an oath or being vouched for by other Ghana Card bearers to prove their Ghanaians so that they can be registered.

However, the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has pooh-poohed the EC assurance as a shenanigans. According to the NDC, the situation was carefully nurtured by the EC and the NIA, in partnership with the Akufo-Addo Government to rig the 2020 election for the NPP.

The NDC has long pointed out the hounding of former EC boss, Madam Charlotte Osei, out of office to make way for Jean Mensah who is perceived as President Akufo-Addo’s personal vixen of sorts, as the beginning point of the plan to rig 2020.

Apart from this, the NDC has also cited the fact that the NIA and the EC had started the Ghana Card registration process under denial that that document would be used as document to replace the voters’ ID Card as a required document for registration onto the new voters’ register, only to turn round and announce that indeed Ghana Card is going to be used to replace the voters’ ID card.

Also, the NDC has observed that in the NIA’s registration for the Ghana Card and the issuance of these cards, the Authority has managed to issue cards to larger percentages of the populations in the NPP’s strongholds – Ashanti and Eastern regions – compared to any other region.

Out of 3,222,371 voters in Ashanti, 1,620,43 have been issued with cards constituting 49.7% of the voter population. In Eastern, 572,534 eligible voters have been issued with cards out of a voter population of 1,804,195, constituting 68.28% of the voter population there.

According to the NIA’s own data, out of an estimated population of 17.3 million
being 18 years and above, only 6.5 million have been issued with the Ghana Card.
The implication is that, almost 11 million (constituting 62%) of eligible voters will
have to go through the sworn oath option to be able to register for a Voters’ ID, if
the EC’s illogical and wasteful decision to compile a needless new Voter’s
Register for the 2020 general elections materialize.

It is against this backdrop that the EC has sponsored a CI in Parliament to govern its decision to ditch the existing voters’ register, and recompile a new one.

The Minority in Parliament has filed a Motion asking Parliament to reject it, but with the NPP holding a Majority in Parliament, it appears this measure will not be fruitful.

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