The leadership of People’s National Convention (PNC) have failed to reach consensus over whether or not to back the Electoral Commission’s proposed compilation of new voters’ register.
Whereas the National Chairman and some members are opposed to the idea, the second Vice Chairman of PNC, Mr Henry Haruna Asante and the party’s flagbearer in the 2016 elections, Edward Mahama, who is the leader of the party, among others, support the idea.
According to the leadership of the party, the stance taken by the Chairman is not representative of the party’s official position as the PNC fully backs the compilation of the new register.
Bernard Monah, representing PNC, joined some political parties led by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) at a forum dubbed “Does Ghana really need a new voters register” to kick against the new voters register.
Presenting his case as one of four main speakers at the forum, Mr Monah noted that the new voters register was completely unnecessary citing reasons such as time constraint, misplaced use of resources, among others.
He also watered down the Electoral Commission’s claims of bloated register indicating that the register will be bloated at every time since “people die every moment.”
In a similar move, however, the Second Vice Chairman of PNC, Henry Haruna Asante “acting on the orders of the party’s leader” joined the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and 11 other parties to declare support for the new register.
In an interview with Accra-based Citi FM, Haruna Asante was emphatic that the position he had taken was that of the party’s as he was officially delegated by their leader, Dr Edward Nasigri Mahama.
He stressed that the stance of Mr Monah was his own position adding that making decision on behalf of the party without conferring with leadership was “an affront”.
“There was this issue of my National Chairman speaking on behalf of the National party which to some of us and to the leader was an affront because the party had never taken any decision,” he said.
But Mr Monah in the same interview expressed shock at the “new” decision taken by the party describing it as “strange” as it contradicts with an earlier position.
He maintained that the party’s position in 2016 against the new register still holds as all things are still equal.
“The PNC’s formal position was that a new register was unnecessary. The argument we advanced then are arguements still veritable.
“…But I am saying it on authority that the position that we presented to the commission that was established by the Electoral Commission then chaired by the late Justice VRAC Crabbe; recall, our position was that a new voters register is not tenable until after a population census. No population census has been done and so the PNC’s position cannot change,” he argued.
He intimated that his position was based on the party’s initial stance saying “I’m surprise that the Ambassador at Large” will direct my Second Vice Chairman to go and give a counter opinion.”
“If there was going to be a change of position as I have said, I am the closest at least to the leader. Why will the leader refuse to call me and go call the second vice chairman,” he lamented.
“The PNC’s position is not changed from the 2016 represented at the justice VRAC Crabbe Commission that a new voters register is not needed until a population census is conducted. Fortunately for us a population census is to be conducted and our 2016 position remains,” he added.
But the Second Vice Chairman adamantly standing by his position averred that although Mr Monah has the legitimate right to join any group he does not have the capacity to make such decisions on behalf of the party.
“So we are pleading with the national chairman not carry the party as a bonafied property and speak on behalf of the party, that is the danger that we are having.
“The leader said we are in support of it so that ends the matter,” he reiterated.