The Electoral Commission (EC) has stated its decision to compile a new voters’ register for Ghana’s presidential and parliamentary elections in December is final, despite strong resistance against the last-minute move.
According to the EC, the scheduled engagement with the 21-member Eminent Advisory Committee and the political parties next week is not to seek consensus on whether or not to go on with the new registration.
“You can’t get consensus anywhere; it can never happen and it will never happen. If we want to get consensus before we act, then we will never act,” Director of Electoral Services at the EC, Dr Serebour Quaicoe, said on TV3 news analysis programme, The Key Point, Saturday.
The January 30 meeting, he explained, has been arranged for the EC to inform the stakeholders of its programmes concerning the new voters’ register, and solicit views on how best it can be implemented.
“We have our programme; we will explain to them and then we move on with the programme,” he stated, adding “there is no doubt about us doing the registration”.
Two mammoth rallies in Tamale and Kumasi against move to have a new voters’ register caused the EC to form a 21-member Eminent Advisory Committee, chaired by Justice Emile Short, to engage the alliance of political parties and stakeholders against the decision for a consensus to be reached.
The dissenting political parties, who formed the Inter-Party Resistance Against a New Voters’ Register (IPRNA) consequently suspended further protests based on what it said was “good faith” shown by the EC to listen to them.
News that the EC has planned to go ahead with the registration from April 18 forced the group to announce on Friday that it will resume further protest in the coming days.
But the EC issued a statement moments later on Friday, to announce its Eminent Advisory Committee will meet with members of the Commission and representatives of political parties to “engage” them on the plan to compile a voters’ register.
When contacted Saturday to for further details on next week’s meeting, Dr Quaicoe stated emphatically that the chapter on the push for a suspension of the registration is closed.
He said the EC is not under any obligation to have consensus on issues before acting, saying “with respect to compiling new voters register, we are convinced beyond reasonable doubt there is the need for it”.
The scheduled engagement, he said, “is not…for them to tell us ‘do it or not to do it, no’. If there are suggestions that can come in to polish our approach to it,” the commission will consider it.