GHC1bn wasted on needless voter roll could’ve built 5,000 6-unit blocks – NDC

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The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has described the recently-ended voter registration exercise as a waste of the Ghanaian taxpayers’ GHS1 billion, which, according to the biggest opposition party, could have been invested into building 5,000 six-unit classroom blocks to end the double-track system being used to accommodate all the 1.2 million students who are enjoying the free senior high school policy.

At a press conference on the new voter roll, the NDC’s Director of Elections told journalists that: “After discrediting itself before the people of Ghana, the EC is investing in press conferences and propaganda as a tool for damage control. We wish to advise the EC to rather invest in integrity, truthfulness and honesty”.

One of the reasons the EC decided to compile a new register, the NDC said, “was the NPP’s claim that the voter’s register was bloated”.

“This hoax that there are foreigners on the voter roll was the primary motivation for compelling the Jean Mensa-led Electoral Commission to compile a new register.

“Today, the veil has been lifted and it is clear for all Ghanaians to see that the claim of a bloated register by the NPP and the EC is not only unfounded but part of a grand plan to compile and manipulate a new register to support Akufo-Addo’s re-election”, he said.

According to the former Youth and Sports Minister, “This was the main reason why they decided to compile a new voters’ register at a humongous cost of approximately $150 million (GHS1 Billion), even in the face of a deadly pandemic”.

“This 1 billion Ghana cedis that has been wasted on the compilation of a new register could have built 5,000 six-unit classroom blocks at the cost of GHS200,000 per block, which would have helped address the obnoxious double-track system at Senior High Schools”, he noted.

Alternatively, Mr Afriyie Ankrah noted, “This same amount could have constructed over 600 kilometres of concrete road. In effect, the amount spent on the register could have constructed a dual-carriage road from Accra to Kumasi and beyond”.

So far, he said from the EC’s own provisional figures, 16,963,306 persons have registered, adding: “The voters on the old register was 16, 845, 420. Now we shall proceed to establish how hollow and statically false the claim by the EC and NPP is. The NPP, in particular, at their recent press conference, quoted copiously from the Justice Crabbe Committee report to back their claim of a bloated register”.

“We also rely on the same report to do this analysis. The report stated that about 580,000 cumulatively between 2012 and 2016 would have died but their names would have remained on the register, thereby bloating it.

“If we are to use the same projection, then between 2016 and 2020 another 580,000 would have died within the 4-year period as happened between 2012 and 2016.

“In effect, therefore, about 1, 160, 000 people who would have died will still have their names on the old register. In other words, the people who are alive on the old register would be about 15,685,420”, he noted.

Mr Afriyie Ankrah said the NDC’s argument has always been that “in a biometric voter register regime, dead people don’t vote and no impersonation can take place since voters have to be verified before they can vote”.

He explained: “This means that in reality, the living people on the old register would have been left with about 15,685,420. If the EC had then carried out a limited voter registration exercise as the NDC and other Civil Society Organisations had advocated, an addition of about 800,000 people would have been registered onto the register in which case the final figure would have been around 16,485,420”.

This figure, he noted, “compares favourably with the final figure of 16,963,306”.

Again, he pointed out, “as a result of the closure of our borders, the fear of contracting COVID-19 and the unprecedented state sponsored violence and voter suppression, some people did not register”.

The above analysis, he said, “shows clearly that the old register was after all not bloated and the EC has ended up at square one”.

“What the EC has succeeded in doing to Ghanaians is to inflict pain on us, subject and open Ghanaians to the dangers of COVID-19, and finally waste our scarce resources on a needless venture of compiling a new register at the cost of about $150 million.

“As we have told Ghanaians time and again, the real reasons for the compilation of a new register is premised on the observation in the 2019 Human Rights Report of the United States of America which states: ‘The June ouster of the Electoral Commission Chairperson and the president’s subsequent staking of the Electoral Commission with persons considered to be biased in favour of the ruling party raised questions about whether the body might be used to stifle voter registration among the opposition’s base’”.

Among other things, the party said the objective was to: “Suppress votes from opposition strongholds and compile a new register to help the failed Akufo-Addo government retain power against the will of the people and deploy their national security militia to intimidate Ghanaians at registration centres as part of the voter suppression strategy”.

“All these well-orchestrated moves by the EC and its accomplices to foist Akufo-Addo and the NPP on Ghanaians for 4 more years will not wash.

“The only thing the compilation of the new register has achieved for the NPP is that it has brought untold shame and disappointment to the party and demolished the propaganda and long-held conspiracy theory of Akufo-Addo, Bawumia and the New Patriotic Party which was echoed by the Electoral Commission that our voter’s register is bloated by the inclusion of foreigners particularly Togolese.

“Now that they sealed our border with Togo in this exercise look at the results of the registration. And this does not even include Ghanaians who were legitimately domiciled in Togo and were caught by the COVID-19 restrictions and could therefore not come home to Ghana to register. We pray that this will bring an end to the NPP’s delusion that our register is bloated”, Mr Ankrah said.

He added: “We wish to assure Akufo-Addo and his NPP that those who are waiting eagerly for 7th December to vote them out are in this country, they are not from Togo or anywhere. He should therefore hurriedly prepare his handing over notes and advise all his appointees to do same.

“We wish to call on our supporters to be extremely vigilant as we go through the processes of de-duplication, exhibition, balloting and on voting day 7th December. Just as you came out in your numbers to register, we are encouraging you to come out in your numbers during the exhibition to confirm your names on the register”.

“Let us work hard to mobilise all our supporters, sympathisers and the millions of disenchanted Ghanaians who are disappointed in Akufo-Addo’s government including NPP members to vote for the NDC come December. Victory beacons, your labour will not be in vain”.