NDC making ‘baseless allegations’ on names missing from voters register – Evans Nimako

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong
Evans Nimako - NPP's Director of Election
Evans Nimako - NPP's Director of Election

The Director of Election and Research at the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Evans Nimako says the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has been making “baseless allegations” about the voters register which is currently being exhibited by the Electoral Commission (EC).

To him, the NDC from day one made it clear they were against the compilation of a new voters register and so they [NDC] are not expected to change from that position.

Reacting to allegations by the NDC that there were many reports of voter register challenges in the ongoing voter register exhibition which has culminated in its flagbearer, Mr John Dramani Mahama to cut short his tour of the Bono Region to pay attention to the reports, Mr Nimako said, “I think the major issue is that he [Mahama] has run out of resources and he is lacking message to convince the good people in that region.”

Mr Nimako who was reacting in a radio interview on Accra based Citi FM monitored by Graphic Online on Tuesday evening [September 22, 2020] said, “the NDC can go ahead with their continuous allegations, for me, they are baseless, they have no merit and we shouldn’t give it that attention."

He said the NDC prior to the compilation of a new voters register had a position against the exercise, “they never supported it, so we are aware that their position will not change.”

Response to allegations of omissions

He explained that the EC was exhibiting the register in line with the law so that if there were errors such as omissions and mistakes they can be corrected.

He said for the NPP, it was going according to the dictates of the law and has tasked its membership to go out in their numbers and check their names in the exhibited register and “the law allows that corrections can be made to details of a voter and where your name is not found, you can cause it to be inserted unto the electoral roll and so for us this process is ongoing and we are monitoring it as such.”

“We know that for this process, registered voters are supposed to visit registration centres and crosscheck their details. Where there are problems, they can cause the changes to be corrected and whatsoever, and we know that the law must apply.”

Read also: We're not comfortable with processes leading to Election 2020 - John Mahama

Responding to allegations by the opposition NDC that it has many reports indicating that “huge figures of names are missing from the register,” Mr Nimako said the NPP has not received any such information of huge omissions: “So far our [NPP] agents have not reported to us any such incident.”

“As we speak, from Agotime Ziope, which has a total of 69 polling stations, with 29,078 registered voters, we have a total of 44 names on the multiple list and a total of 116 on the exception list. We’ve asked our agents in all the centres to furnish us with details of the contents in all the register and so we are monitoring the whole process,” he said.

“We’ve heard the NDC making the usual allegation, and that they are entitled to, but for us as New Patriotic Party, it is the C.I. 91, C.I. 127 and the 1992 Constitution that is what we are applying to monitor this process.”

“I only heard the Ashaiman Parliamentary candidate [for NDC - Ernest Norgbey] and Member of Parliament complain that his name was missing from the register and what is expected is that, you’d have filled an inclusion form and the correction will be effected but I also read the response of the Electoral Commission that, that was never the case and so I think that at this stage, it is the corrections and inclusions and exclusions that has to be made.”

He said some people were challenged during the registration exercise, “people made triple and double registrations and that has been reported and these things were put on the exception list, and if it is agreed, we will go back to the registration centre or now the exhibition centre, and cause what has to be done as the law stipulate and so I have heard Mr Mahama saying he is cutting short his campaign tour to come back to Accra.

“The NDC can go ahead with their continuous allegations, for me they are baseless, they have no merit and we should give it that attention,” Mr Nimako insisted.

Mahama's argument

Announcing why he was cutting short his campaign tour in the Bono Region on Tuesday [September 22, 2020], former President John Dramani Mahama said the opposition National Democratic Congress was not comfortable with the processes leading to Election 2020.

"As things are going, we are not comfortable with the process leading to the election and we call on international community to take an interest in what is happening in Ghana."

"We want electoral observers to come long in advance, international election observers must be deployed long in advance to supervise the electoral process going into the election," he said.

Mr Mahama said he was cutting short his campaign tour of the area and to return to Accra to pay attention to reports of voter register challenges in the ongoing voter register exhibition.

The former President who is seeking re-election explained that the move was to enable him and the leaders of the NDC to travel back to Accra "because of the increasing reports of challenges with the voter register and the exhibition process."

Mr Mahama said the Electoral Commission’s ongoing voter register exhibition has been fraught with “so much disorder, anarchy and chaos”, adding that the election management body has exhibited “legendary incompetence” with the entire electoral process ahead of the December 7, 2020 elections.

He said since the EC started the voter register exhibition, “many have gone to check and in many places, there are anomalies, several anomalies that our party [NDC] has detected”.

“In any exhibition of a register, there’ll be a few anomalies that are normally easy to correct but we also know that anytime we’ve done a registration of voters, we have done it in good time so that if there are anomalies, we can correct them”, he said.

“When this government and the Electoral Commission decided that they were going to do a new register, we warned them that the time left was so short that if you compiled a register and there were fatal flaws in the register, you will not have enough time to do the correction before the election”, the former President observed.

“And let me say a voter register is the most important document in any election. If the voter register is not credible or is full of errors, it makes it difficult to have a free, fair and transparent election”, Mr Mahama noted.

According to him, “as it is, recently, we saw a video of voter registration cards being issued and the video went viral. It turned out that these were EC officers issuing voter cards. Today, the EC issued a statement and admitted that, yes, these cards were being issued at the EC’s offices because of some duplications they had found out. The political parties are the main stakeholders in any election. And, so, while the exhibition of the register is going on, we have our agents at all the polling stations supervising the registration.

“Now, if there was an issue in compiling the register, where the codes of the codes of the various equipment were found to be duplicates, and it was necessary to issue voter cards, why were the political parties not informed.

“And the point even is, if you issue these new voter cards at your district office, how will the people whose cards are affected, know so that they can come and give back the old cards and give out the new cards?” he wondered.

In Mr Mahama’s opinion, “there is so much wrong going on”.

“The incompetence of this Electoral Commission is legendary. We have held elections in this country, we have held voter registrations in this country, but we have never seen a situation where there is so much chaos and disorder in an electoral process”.

He warned: “It has the potential to create crises in our country and that is why at a point, when I spoke, I said that the Electoral Commission should be prepared to take the blame if this country descends into chaos and they dismissed me”.

“Today, we don’t know if we are going to have a credible register because we are not confident in the process that is going on. There is too much anarchy and disorder. We are not sure that we can have a credible register with which to have a free, fair and transparent election”.

“And, therefore, because of the seriousness of the reports I’m receiving from my elections directorate, I’ve decided to curtail my campaign in the Bono Region and go back to Accra to ascertain and verify the reports and to make the views of our party known to Ghana and the rest of the world”, he announced.

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