All is set for the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to justify his concerns about the ongoing exhibition of the voters' register for the 2020 election and his description of the conduct of Electoral Commission (EC) as in its handling of the process as "incompetent".
John Mahama and the NDC, have identified many challenges, including thousands of missing names, lack of biometric machines and misplaced pictures saying these could affect the integrity of the final register and "undermine Ghana's stability and democracy".
Interestingly, the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), says it sees nothing wrong with the register which is to decide who leads the country as President in January 2021.
A statement from the NDC Campaign team signed by James Agyenim-Boateng, Campaign Spokesperson, on Wednesday, September 23, 2020, said that "the presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr John Dramani Mahama, will on Thursday speak to the nation from the NDC Headquarters in Accra at 1pm".
It announced that the address will be "on the integrity challenges of the electoral process and unfolding events that threaten to undermine Ghana's stability and democracy".
Mr Agyenim-Boateng, said "both Mr Mahama and his vice presidential candidate, Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, have suspended their tours of the Bono and Central Regions respectively following reports of widespread anomalies in the Electoral Commission's provisional voters register, which is currently on exhibition at polling stations throughout the country".
Before his departure from Sunyani to Accra on Monday to address the issues, the NDC flagbearer took a jibe at the Jean Mensa-led EC describing the institution as "incompetent," adding the Commission had allowed itself to become a tool for government to implement its diabolic agenda.
This he said is causing a lot of anarchy and disorder in the country.
"There are so many wrongs going on; the incompetence of this EC is legendary. We have held elections in this country, we have held voters' registrations in this country but we have never seen a situation where there is so much chaos and disorder in an electoral process.
"It has the potential to create crisis in our country. Today we don't know if we are going to have a credible register, because we are not confident in the process that is going on. There is too much anarchy and disorder," he said.
According to him, there are too many anomalies detected in the ongoing exhibition exercise, hence, the need for him to address the issue.
"A voter register is the most important document in any election if the voter register is not credible or is full of errors; it makes it difficult to have free, fair and transparent elections" and also called on International Election Observers to take an interest in what is happening in Ghana and supervise the electoral process into the election.
Today's press conference by NDC flagbearer, is sequel to an earlier one held by his party's Director of Elections, Elvis Affiyie Ankrah who in subsequent interviews with various media platforms revealed that the NDC during the voter registration exercise, generated its own register, hence has detailed reports on the number of names omitted from the Electoral Commission's new voter register.
According to Afriyie Ankrah, the NDC's flagbearer was petitioned that some names of their party faithful had been omitted from the new voters' register. This made Mr Mahama call off his campaign in the Bono Region to attend to these matters with urgency.
Speaking to Citi News on Tuesday, Afriyie Ankrah said: "When you have an EC that did not meet with political parties before the exhibition exercise and when you have a register that has been badly compiled, with tens of thousands of names missing from the register, there is no point in being out on the field campaigning. We are going to present him [Mahama] with detailed reports. We have detailed reports from every single region. We will meet with our flagbearer and decide on the next course of action."
He continued: "What they [EC] don't know is that we have generated our own register. We put together daily reports from the registration exercise. In any case, when the [Ashaiman] MP went to check his name on the register, wasn't the EC there? Did they object then that his name was not in the register? It does not make sense. Why will an MP go to a registration centre, EC officials are there, his name is in the register, and he says his name is not on the register? The EC subsequently picked the MP's name and picture and published it. That is deceitful."
Last week, Ernest Henry Norgbey, NDC Member of Parliament for the Ashaiman Constituency accused the Electoral Commission of Ghana (EC) of excluding over 21,000 names from the register in his constituency, including his, something that was detected during the voter exhibition exercise. The exhibition began on Friday, September 18 and is expected to end on Friday, September 25.
The EC, however, debunked this and emphasized that the lawmaker's name was captured in the register adding that the figure quoted by the MP was an exaggeration.
Norgbey, who recently demanded information from the EC based on the Right to Information Act, asked the EC to provide the register for him to prove that names of his supporters are missing from the register.
"At the close of the registration, all the political parties were very much aware, including the Electoral Commission in Ashaiman, that we have registered over 167,000 people so where are those 7,000 people," Norgbe quizzed on TV3 on Sunday, September 20.
"Where are we going to get them? In any case, how did they [EC] manage to get the 14,000 people back on the register."
The NDC on Monday, September 21, raised similar issues and demanded an extension of the exhibition period.
Interestingly, the Director of Election and Research at the NPP, Evans Nimako has described the NDC claims as "baseless allegations" about the provision voters register.
To him, the NDC from day one made it clear they were against the compilation of a new voters register and so they [NDC] are not expected to change from that position.
On Mr Mahama's return to Accra from the Bono Region to pay attention to the reports, Mr Nimako said, "I think the major issue is that he [Mahama] has run out of resources and he is lacking a message to convince the good people in that region."
Mr Nimako who was reacting in a radio interview on Accra based Citi FM monitored by Graphic Online on Tuesday evening [September 22, 2020] said, "the NDC can go ahead with their continuous allegations, for me, they are baseless, they have no merit and we shouldn't give it that attention."
He said the NDC prior to the compilation of a new voters register had a position against the exercise, "they never supported it, so we are aware that their position will not change."
He explained that the EC was exhibiting the register in line with the law so that if there were errors such as omissions and mistakes they can be corrected.
He said for the NPP, it was going according to the dictates of the law and has tasked its membership to go out in their numbers and check their names in the exhibited register and "the law allows that corrections can be made to details of a voter and where your name is not found, you can cause it to be inserted unto the electoral roll and so for us this process is ongoing and we are monitoring it as such."
"We know that for this process, registered voters are supposed to visit registration centres and crosscheck their details. Where there are problems, they can cause the changes to be corrected and whatsoever, and we know that the law must apply."
Responding to allegations by the opposition NDC that it has many reports indicating that "huge figures of names are missing from the register," Mr Nimako said the NPP has not received any such information of huge omissions: "So far our [NPP] agents have not reported to us any such incident."
"As we speak, from Agotime Ziope, which has a total of 69 polling stations, with 29,078 registered voters, we have a total of 44 names on the multiple list and a total of 116 on the exception list. We've asked our agents in all the centres to furnish us with details of the contents in all the registers and so we are monitoring the whole process," he said.
"We've heard the NDC making the usual allegation, and that they are entitled to, but for us as New Patriotic Party, it is the C.I. 91, C.I. 127 and the 1992 Constitution that is what we are applying to monitor this process."
"I only heard the Ashaiman Parliamentary candidate [for NDC - Ernest Norgbey] and Member of Parliament complain that his name was missing from the register and what is expected is that, you'd have filled an inclusion form and the correction will be effected but I also read the response of the Electoral Commission that, that was never the case and so I think that at this stage, it is the corrections and inclusions and exclusions that has to be made."
He said some people were challenged during the registration exercise, "people made triple and double registrations and that has been reported and these things were put on the exception list, and if it is agreed, we will go back to the registration centre or now the exhibition centre, and cause what has to be done as the law stipulate and so I have heard Mr Mahama saying he is cutting short his campaign tour to come back to Accra.
"The NDC can go ahead with their continuous allegations, for me they are baseless, they have no merit and we should give it that attention," Mr Nimako insisted.