Ghana: Battle Lines Drawn For 2016 Elections
Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC) has released a statement clarifying some of the issues that were held in contention after the previous election in 2012 ahead of next year’s general poll. In a 4-point communiqué signed by the Acting Director of Public Affairs, Christian Owusu-Parry, the EC revealed that it held fruitful discussions with the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC), a body made up of representatives of all the political parties in Ghana and other stakeholders.
The report said the IPAC agreed to 29,000 polling stations, rather than the 30,000 previously agreed upon, due to budget constraints. It added that manual verification of voters would be introduced to support the biometric system in the case of voters whose names may be in the register but who may be ‘rejected’ by the biometric system.
“IPAC also accepted a working definition for ‘over-voting’,” according to the statement. Per the new definition, “over-voting would be deemed to have occurred where the number of ballots in the ballot box exceeds the number of verified voters”.
Over-voting was one of the major issues raised by the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) in its 2013 lawsuit of the EC and the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) which challenged the results that ushered in John Mahama as president. According to the NPP, the EC accepted results in certain polling stations where the number of voters did not tally with the number in the register.
The statement also said the commission set up by the EC to collate views on the electoral register and to make recommendations has presented its report. The report, authored by a committee chaired by Justice V.C.R.A.C Crabbe, will be studied and will impact whatever decision the EC takes on the voters’ register going forward.
The NPP and some other bodies earlier called for a new voters’ register citing bloating but the EC gave no direct indication of compiling a new register before general elections in November 2016.