EC cannot clean voters’ register – Ocquaye

After contributing to the adulteration of the current voters’ register, the Electoral Commission cannot be allowed to clean it, a former Deputy Speaker of Parliament has argued.

Professor Aaron Mike Ocquaye submitted that his argument is even in the unlikeliest case of finding a solution to claims that the register is bloated.

A new register is needed, he demands.

The former lawmaker was speaking during a debate organized by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) on Tuesday, October 20 on claims by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) over the register.

The debate was organized on the theme: “Towards a Credible and Peaceful 2016 Elections: A Review of the State of Ghana’s Voters Register and the Way Forward”.

In arguing for a new voters’ register, Prof Ocquaye accused the EC of contributing to the pollution of the register and so should not be mandated to audit it.

“Those that we will rely upon for cleaning have been so compromised that you cannot say a cleaning exercise should be left with them,” he said.

“To clean that which they themselves have consciously participated in polluting will be an exercise in futility.”

He said allegations of foreigners in Ghana’s register should be a matter of international police investigation.

“This is a matter where Interpol should come in,” he said. “In fact, we expect that by this time these matters might have been handed to the police already.”

He expressed surprise as to why the police has not yet taken the matter up.

Arguing against the call for a new register, a fellow at the Institute and Senior Lecturer at the University of Ghana, Dr Ransford Gyampoh, said there is still the likelihood that the political parties will infiltrate the register with unqualified persons in the case of getting a new one.

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“If we are not thinking about a mechanism and measures to keep the political parties at bay to prevent them from bloating and undermining the register, then I think calling for a fresh register is too simplistic.”

He shot down the argument of foreigners in Ghana’s voters’ register, saying the constitution guarantees dual citizenship and so, those persons could be qualified to register to vote.

His position on the debate was originally meant for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which withdrew at the last minute, describing the IEA of usurping powers of the EC.