Friday, December 18, 2015

Ghana: New voters' register to cost $900m

The Electoral Commission says it will cost the nation a whooping 900 million dollars to put together a totally new voters' register for next year's general elections. However, the Commission says a decision on whether to have a new voters' register for the election would be taken by the end of December

Briefing Parliament Thursday evening on preparations towards the elections, the Chairperson of the Commission, Mrs Charlotte Osei, said the five-member committee that evaluated the concerns expressed on the register is expected to present its report next week, TV3 reports.

The Minority in Parliament, she reports, have refused to accept the estimated figure quoted by the Commission because they insist the amount is too much considering that other countries in the sub-region with higher population than Ghana do not spend such amount in similar exercise.

The country's electoral roll has come under scrutiny from a number of pressure groups and political parties including the New Patriotic Party over claims that it has been infiltrated by foreign nationals, particularly from neighbouring countries.

While some political parties are demanding for a new voters' register , others are calling for it to be cleaned.

Following from that, the EC constituted a five-member committee which hold a two-day public hearing in Accra to gather views on the issue, and make recommendations to the EC for consideration. The EC explained that it took such a decision due to “petitions and calls it had received from some political parties, civil society groups and a number of Ghanaians for a new voters’ register.”

Meanwhile, speaking in Parliament, Mrs. Osei said the Commission will submit a Legislative Instrument to Parliament to seek approval for the decision for the country's general elections to be shifted from December to November.

Again, she told the House that the Commission was considering suggestions to use lecturers and professors in the 2016 elections to serve as returning officers, and national service personnel as electoral and polling agents.


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