The Concerned Voters Movement (CVM) has thrown its weight behind the Electoral Commission (EC) for the compilation a new biometric voters register (BVR) for the 2020 general election.
It said the arguments of timelines, cost and rigging as the basis for the rejection of the new voters register by the Inter-Party Resistance Against the New Voters Register (IPRAN) and the Centre for Democratic Development – Ghana (CDD-Ghana) could best be described as intellectual dishonesty, baseless, misleading and completely bogus.
Responding to some of the reasons for its rejection of a compilation of a new BVR, the founder of CVM, Mr Razak Kojo Opoku, noted that the EC under the National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration in 2012 compiled a new voters register between the period of April to May.
He said the EC in the same year created additional 45 constituencies, bringing the total to 275 for the 2012 general election.
“Under all these circumstances, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), as the largest opposition party then, never objected to the compilation of a biometric voters register and the creation of the additional 45 constituencies in 2012,” he added.
He said the 1992 Voters Register was used for nine years before it was changed, while the 2004 Voters Register was used for eight years before it was also changed.
He explained that the current 2012 Voters Register was eight years old, hence the need to change it, stressing that “under no material time has the country's voters register been used for 10 years before it was changed.”
On the matter of cost, Mr Opoku in a statement reminded Ghanaians that the EC, under its former boss, Mrs Charlotte Osei, spent GH¢487,998,714.00 for just a limited registration exercise in 2016.
“Fast forward to 2020, Jean Mensa, leading the EC under Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is spending Parliament approved budget of GH¢390,265,186.44 for a completely new voters register ahead of the 2020 general election. This is what we call ‘Value for Money’ expenses,” it stated.
The statement said the argument of cost against the compilation of a new voters register in 2020 was, therefore, completely flawed.
Mr Opoku in the statement said the argument by the NDC that the EC wanted to use the compilation of the new voters register to rig Election 2020 for the NPP and President Akufo-Addo confirmed the perception that the NDC probably rigged the 2012 general election with the new voters register and the creation of the 45 additional constituencies.
“In 2016, the NPP advocated a new voters register and the NDC was against it, yet the NPP won 2016 general election emphatically, whereas the NDC lost miserably. Therefore, the argument of using the new voters register to rig the 2020 general election for the NPP does not make sense,” it stated.
The statement pointed out that among other things, the compilation of a new voters register for Election 2020 would help the EC to avoid the payment of over US$400 million as the annual maintenance fee for the EC Data Centre and avoid the expensive payments for updating the obsolete Data Centre, refurbishing obsolete BVR Kits and upgrading obsolete BVDs.
It said a new register would also help generate new codes for the various polling stations within the newly created six regions and the various constituencies within those new regions.