Ghana: Ceasefire and Dialogue On New Voters' Register Plan

17 January 2020

The Electoral Commission (EC)'s decision to compile a new voters' register ahead of the 2020 election has generated heated arguments between political parties for and against the plan.

The arguments have been intense since the EC announced the plan late last year to the point that the National House of Chief has been asked to come in.

It was thus refreshing to know that the EC's Eminent Advisory Committee has stepped in and appealed to both sides of the debate to remain calm following days of heated arguments.

Among other things, the committee, in a meeting with the EC yesterday for the procurement of a new Biometric Voter Management System (BVMS), said it will meet the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) to iron out concerns raised over the new register.

"At the end of the meeting, it was agreed that the Electoral Commission and the Eminent Advisory Committee will meet with members of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) to have further deliberations on the matter," a statement signed by chairman of the committee, Emile Short noted.

The EC plans to abandon its current biometric verification system and procure a new one which has a facial recognition technology. The Commission also plans to compile a new voters' register.

The Ghanaian Times has paid attention to the reasons outlined by the coalition of opposition political parties known as the Inter-Party Resistance on why they oppose the new register proposed by the EC.

The group maintains that any money spent on the register will be a waste of taxpayers' money.

In the same spirit, we have listened to the political parties which are in support of the EC's decision, arguing that they believe the EC has made convincing arguments.

The Ghanaian Times appreciates the logical and sound arguments raised by both parties and believe such conversations are necessary as we seek to strengthen our electoral process and further deepen our democracy.

However, continuous arguments alone cannot satisfy what we desire and so we call on all the parties to ceasefire and remain calm as proposed by the Eminent Advisory Committee.

We are of the view that a ceasefire would provide all the parties the opportunity to re-assess and re-analyse their positions and give way for a compromise.

We need to move forward from the arguments and work around the decisions that will be taken finally as the general elections draws closer. Time is not on our side!

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