Health

No Intimidation Please, We Need New Voters' Register [editorial] (allAfrica.com)

A news report in some of what Mr. Martin Amidu, this nation’s sole Citizen Vigilante, referred to as “NDC rented press” yesterday, suggest that the police would soon arrest a group of people who volunteered information to an Accra daily newspaper on the bloated national voters register, to face what the papers described as “the full rigours of the law.”

The group had dropped a bombshell to the effect that a number of Togolese have their names firmly tugged in Ghana’s voters register and that, as foot soldiers of the ruling party at the time, they were used by some unnamed National Democratic Congress officials to facilitate the entry into and from Ghana by those Togolese to register and vote in this nation’s Presidential and Legislative elections.

The group added that the National Health Insurance Authority cards, that entitled the foreigners to free medical care in Ghana, were used as bait to get the Togolese to register and vote in this country.

The revelation followed a press conference in Accra, at which Dr. Mahamadu Bawumiah, running mate to Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, New Patriotic Party flagbearer for the 2016 Presidential elections, who announced that the party had discovered that over 76,000 names suspec

ted to be Togolese had been found in the voters’ registers of both Ghana and Togo. “Based on their self-confession, including the fact that they engaged in multiple voting, police in the national headquarters in Accra, have been cued to start investigation,” according to a report in one of the pro-NDC publications.

The problem with this intended police swoop is not the fact it is supposed to unravel. The tendency for using these informants as scape goats to cover up the gargantuan crime of party bosses influencing the national vote through criminal recruitment of foreigners, is too real in a country where small fishes have over the years, tended to be sacrificed, while the big fishes go through the net with impunity.

The issue at stake is simple. The largest opposition political party in Ghana has raised serious issues of lack of credibility with the voter’s register. The NPP has gone ahead to produce evidence of foreigners invading a territory solely reserved for Ghanaians.

The Chronicle would like to believe that the allegation is of such a serious nature as to warrant a thorough investigation. What the NPP is saying is that the largest opposition party in Ghana had evidence to the effect that the election of the President of the Republic of Ghana and 275 Members of Parliament in 2012, could have been influenced by foreigners.

We do not believe we need any ghost to pontificate on the seriousness of this allegation to our body politic. The credibility of our electoral system is at stake. The Chronicle is of the view that it is during the investigation that the testimony of the ‘Disappointed NDC Youth’ who have confessed to their role in bringing in the Togolese, would be needed.

The threat by the police to arrest the “Disappointed NDC Youth could only be likened to events in our history, when errand boys sent to kill and maim human beings were quickly executed, while those who master-minded the crime continue to occupy some of the highest offices in the land.

Like most Ghanaians, The Chronicle is recommending a thorough investigation into the claim by the largest opposition party. It would help put everybody’s mind at rest. It is a fact that the Supreme Court sat for more than six months on the election petition and finally pronounced on who won the people’s vote.

The allegation that foreigners might have helped to determine the final vote, puts everybody on notice to change the way we conduct our elections, especially the compilation of the voters register.

There were too many question marks about the conduct of the 2012 elections. The question of the bloated register has always come to haunt the conduct of the vote. It looks highly improbable that as many as 14 million adults could have their names in a voters’ register of a country whose population was barely 24 million at the time.

It is a truth universally accepted that in this part of the world, there are more children than adults. That should inform all Ghanaians that there could be something wrong with more than half of the population, being cited as adults of 18 years and above, and that all the adult population indeed registered to vote.

The other day, the new Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Mrs. Charlotte Osei invited political parties to make their representations on whether or not this nation needs a new register. The Chronicle is not a political party and cannot, therefore, make a formal representation to the commission. Our view is contained in this piece. It is simply that Ghanaians need a new voters register to set agitated minds at rest.