Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Voters' register not bloated - EC

The Electoral Commission (EC) on Tuesday denied allegations by the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) that the Voters' Register was bloated in 13 constituencies in the Ashanti Region.

However, the Commission admitted that there were operational errors in the generation of the Voters' statistics supplied to the NDC that made them to declare that the Register was bloated.

"The figures which formed the basis of the allegation of a bloated Register, do not exist either on the Commission's own compact version of the Voters' Register or on the CD-ROMs given to the NDC," the EC said.

"Rather, they exist on the hard copies of the Voters' statistics that the NDC received, and are traceable to an operational error in the generation of the statistics," Electoral Commissioner Kwadwo Afari-Gyan said at a press conference in Accra.

The NDC last year applied to the EC at separate times for a copy of the Voters' Register. The EC in one instance supplied the NDC with the Register in the form of hard copies of the Voters' statistics and at another time, the compact version of the Voters' Register without pictures on a CD-ROM.

The NDC later alleged that the number of registered voters in 13 constituencies in the Ashanti Region had increased tremendously between 2004 and 2006, prompting the EC to set up a Committee to investigate the discrepancies between the figures of the NDC and that of the EC.

But Dr Afari-Gyan insisted that the discrepancy in the figures was as a result of operational error during the printing process, and that "the huge numbers the NDC complains about do not exist in our database". "What this means is that the EC's voter registration database, from which we produce the register for elections, is intact and does not contain strange figures.

"The issue is that of human error, but what is important is that such errors do not exist in our database and I assure you there would be no errors on the Register on the day of voting," he told the media. Dr Afari-Gyan expressed regrets on comments made by politicians and the media on the issue, describing them as "hurried, uninformed and premature statements and judgments".

"All we ask for is that such matters be brought to our attention in good faith, with a view to preserving the integrity of the Register. The Register belongs to the people of Ghana, and all of us share a collective responsibility to ensure that the Register is in good shape.

"We assure all Ghanaians that as a Commission, we will do our work in a transparent and fair manner, without favour to any party or candidate. In return, we hope that all political parties and candidates, their activists and supporters, the media, commentators and the people at large will behave responsibly so that we have credible general election on 7th December 2008," he said.


No comments: