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The Eminent Advisory Committee of the Electoral Commission (EC) and the EC will meet with members of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) to deliberate on issues concerning the compilation of a new voters register.

The committee has, therefore, called for calm from all political parties and other stakeholders, “as they work in the national interest”.

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A statement signed by the Chairman of the committee, Mr Justice Francis Emile Short, and issued in Accra yesterday said the decision to meet with the IPAC followed a meeting the committee had with the EC.

It said the EC had, at the meeting, outlined the justification for the procurement of a new biometric voter management system (BVMS) and the compilation of a new voters register for the 2020 general election.

Date

A highly placed source at the meeting told the Daily Graphic that no date had been fixed for the meeting with the IPAC and other stakeholders.

It said the committee would work expeditiously to fix a date for the meeting, which would be communicated through the appropriate channels.

Background

The EC’s decision to compile a new voters register for the 2020 polls has been questioned by some political parties and think tanks which have asked the commission to rescind its decision.

At a press conference on December 31, 2019, the EC justified its decision to obtain a new BVMS and compile a new roll for the elections in December 2020.

It explained that the move to procure the biometric system was informed by advice from its information technology (IT) officials and external IT consultants.

According to the EC, assessment of the system by the two teams had revealed that it would be prudent to acquire a new system, rather than refurbish the current one.

It said it would make more economic and operational sense to acquire the new system than to keep the current system and refurbish it at a high cost of frequent replacement of failing parts and renewal of warranties.

CSOs

A number of civil society organisations (CSOs) the Daily Graphic spoke to indicated that their organisations were yet to take positions on the matter.

That, they explained, was because they were yet to review the EC’s proposals in a comprehensive manner.

They, however, said they would issue a statement outlining their positions on the subject matter.

Opposition

Six opposition political parties have joined forces to declare their resistance to the EC’s decision to compile a new register for this year’s general election.

In the view of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the People’s National Convention (PNC), the All People’s Congress (APC), the United Front Party (UFP), the United Progressive Party (UPP) and the Eagle Party, the move by the EC was not only a drain on the national coffers but also a threat to peaceful elections.

At a news conference in Accra recently, the parties, which constituted themselves into a coalition dubbed ‘Inter-party Resistance Against the New Voters Register (IPRAN)’, indicated their resolve to stage demonstrations across the country to back their demand.

The demonstrations, termed “Yen Pene”, to wit, “We won’t agree”, will be staged in the regional capitals, beginning with the Northern Regional capital, Tamale, which saw the first demonstration on Saturday, January 11, this year.

It will be followed by similar actions in Kumasi and Accra on January 21 and January 28, respectively.

The coalition also declared that it would resort to scheduled picketing and other actions to court public support to compel the EC to drop the idea of a new register.

YES group

Thirteen other political parties back the EC’s decision to compile a new voters register.

The parties, which as a group are known as the Coalition of Political Parties for ‘YES’ to a new register, believe the EC has made a case for a new register in terms of cost, time and credibility.

At a press conference in Accra recently to state their case, the Spokesperson for the parties and Leader of the Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG), Mr Kofi Akpaloo, said: “We are a coalition of political parties for ‘YES’ to a new register because the justification for the new register by the EC is very clear.”

The other parties which are in favour of the EC’s compilation of a new voters register and were represented at the press conference were the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), led by Mr John Boadu, its General Secretary; the LPG, represented by Mr Akpaloo, and the People’s National Convention (PNC), represented by Mr Haruna Asante.

The National Democratic Party (NDP), the United People’s Party (UPP) and the Democratic People’s Party were represented by Alhaji Kwame Frimpong, Mr Emmanuel Ackom and Mr Tweneboa Kodua, respectively.

The Convention People’s Party (CPP), the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), the Reformed Patriotic Democrats (RPD), the New Vision Party (NVP), the Yes People’s Party (YPP), the United Love Party (ULP) and the Ghana Freedom Party (GFP), which are part of the ‘Yes’ group, also had representatives at the media briefing.

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