Our demo won’t hurt Eminent Committee’s plans for dialogue over voters’ register

The National Organiser of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Joshua Hamidu Akamba has stated that the planned demonstration by a group of opposition political parties, known as the Inter-Party Resistance Against New Voter Register, today 21st January, 2020 will not put the plans of the Council of Eminent Persons at risk.

On the 15th of January, 2020, the EC’s Eminent Advisory Committee called for calm and plans to meet the various stakeholders following the heated arguments characterising the Electoral Commission’s decision to compile a new voters’ register ahead of election 2020.

The group, who embarked on their first demonstration in Tamale, are set to hit the streets for a second demonstration exercise against the Electoral Commission to protest the EC’s plans to compile a new voters’ register.

Speaking on Eyewitness News, he said that they intend to proceed with the demonstration as planned.

 “I am sure that the committee of eminent persons have heard and seen the activities of Madam Jane Mensah, who actually doesn’t respect us and the opposition political parties and for that matter we have had our timetable ready and we will be moving on with it. We have had the first one in Tamale. We have moved to the Ashanti Region, the next one will be in the Greater Accra Region by the 28th. So, it is a program that we already had considering the fact that Madam Jean Mensah doesn’t respect the opposition and small political parties, so, we will go on and do our demonstration. It will not jeopardize anything,” he said.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) branch in the Ashanti Region says it expects 20,000 people to join the Inter-Party Resistance Against New Voter Register in its Kumasi protest.

NDC’s Ashanti Regional Secretary, Kwame Zu, said the protestors will pour their frustrations “on the streets of Kumasi in a peaceful way.”

“We expect to see not less than 20,000 pour onto the streets of Kumasi tomorrow and this in our bid to demonstrate and convey our displeasure at the consultative posture of the Electoral Commission,” he said.

Background

The Electoral Commission, in its move to compile a new voters’ register, requested for GH¢444,846,663 to enable it to execute this plan.

This decision came after an Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting in 2019. Among other demands, it stated that the existing register was not credible enough for the general elections in 2020 because the current register is bloated. The Commission also justified the decision to introduce a new biometric verification system claiming the current one is deficient.

Addressing the media in December 2019, EC Deputy Chairman in-charge of Operations, Mr Samuel Tettey, noted that the new biometric system will have a facial recognition technology to be deployed in cases where the devices are unable to verify fingerprints of voters.

“The Commission intends to reduce the increasingly high identification failure rate by using a new software to improve fingerprint capturing and image quality. The current biometric voter device and the biometric voter registration kits are challenged by their inability to do biometric fingerprints,” he said.

NDC on New Register

However, the decision to compile a new register has been met with criticisms by many stakeholders with the opposition National Democratic Congress at the forefront.

The Founder of the All People’s Congress (APC), Hassan Ayariga, also stated at press conference on Monday, January 6, 2020, that the exercise by the Electoral Commission is aimed at disenfranchising some electorates, hence their decision to undertake a series of actions to convey their disapproval of the decision by the EC.

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