By Edmund Mingle
Wednesday, 12 March 2008
THE New Patriotic Party (NPP) has criticised the Electoral Commission (EC) for setting up a team to investigate the alleged bloating of the Voters Register without involving political parties, and called for open and transparent stakeholder investigations into the matter.
"We do not object to the EC carrying out its own investigations. However, with the lingering of the impasse, without any open and transparent approach towards getting to the bottom of the matter, the suspicions and mistrust brewing over the register can only get worse," Nana Ohene Ntow, General Secretary of the party, said at a news conference in Accra yesterday.
The EC’s acting Head of Public Affairs and Human Resources, Samuel Yorke Aidoo, confirmed on Joy FM yesterday morning that the commission has constituted a three-member team of EC officials to investigate claims by the National Democratic Congress of an alleged bloating of the Ashanti Region Voters Register.
The development is contrary to a consensus at an Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting that decided to ensure transparency, a committee comprising political party representatives, the EC and IT experts to investigate how the NDC had the alleged bloated figures on the register provided on a CD ROM.
Nana Ntow said that although the NPP respects the competence of the EC in handling its constitutional mandate, "we think the EC could act more expeditiously than it has done so far in the matter of the ongoing confusion over the voters register."
He said the issue of the alleged bloated register was a threat to the credibility of the register and that urgent efforts should be made by the EC to correct all anomalies and erase the growing negative perception about the register.
Although the IPAC is not a constitutional body whose decisions are binding, he hoped the EC would respect such consensus to demonstrate the goodwill with which the parties and the EC worked.
He said the party was worried about the growing negative perception because, as a ruling party, it is a major stakeholder in the electioneering process and would want the country to have peaceful and fair elections.
Nana Ntow condemned the NDC’s claims that the NPP was behind the alleged bloating of the register as part of attempts to rig the December elections.
"Clearly this is a baseless and mischievous fabrication calculated to put the credibility of the EC, the NPP and the whole electoral process into doubt," he said.
He said that had the NDC gone ahead to simply call the attention of the EC to the alleged anomaly in the register, they would have succeeded in convincing everyone of their noble intention.
"However, to fabricate a charge against the NPP simply betrays their sinister agenda, and confirms their earlier intention to raise doubts over the results of the upcoming elections in the most likely event of the NDC losing," the General Secretary said.