The Inter-Party Resistance Against New Voters Register, has petitioned former President Jerry John Rawlings to seek his counsel in its quest to stop the Electoral Commission (EC) from compiling a new register ahead of the 2020 elections.

A delegation of the coalition, led by People’s National Convention (PNC) National Chairman, Bernard Mornah met the former President in his office on Tuesday.

He said the EC’s “refusal to listen to wise counsel, particularly from persons who have participated in the electoral process for a very long time has led to very painful but wrong decisions.”

Coalition and Rawlings

The coalition said while the EC may have a mandate to compile a new register, the mandate must be exercised within reasonable limits.

“The mandate of leadership is vested in the people and the Ghanaian people are saying that apply some economic reasoning. We are telling the EC that if it’s not broken, don’t fix it,” he stressed.

Detailing the group’s stance against the EC’s proposal, the PNC Chairman said during the last local government elections there was a 0.6 failure rate with the use of the existing biometric equipment and questioned why based on such a high-efficiency rate, the Commission would wish to replace equipment and also do away with 17 million names in the voter database.

Coalition and Rawlings

Mr Mornah said Civil Society Organisations had gone into the market and done an assessment of the features the EC intends to introduce and realised that the Commission’s budget of $833 million is 60 per cent above budget.

National Democratic Congress Chairman, Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo also expressed concern about the seeming neglect of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) by the current Commission. He said Ghana’s democracy had been managed on consensus building since 1992.

“Even when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) boycotted Parliament in 1992 and did not participate in the election under your leadership (President Rawlings’), IPAC was designed so that NPP outside Parliament can make some input into our electoral laws as we moved into the 1996 elections, so that they will also have some say.

“IPAC has been a time-tested institution. Even though not backed by law, by convention it has helped in shaping the electoral process of this country. Unfortunately, under the new EC leadership, engagement with IPAC is not part of their agenda,” Mr Ofosu-Ampofo said.

Responding to the petition, former President Rawlings called for patience on both sides and urged the coalition and the EC not take entrenched positions.

Coalition and Rawlings

He urged the coalition to ensure that eminent personalities and institutions such as former Presidents, the EC’s Eminent Advisory Committee and the Council of State are all informed.

“There is so much mistrust that if we do not find a way of dealing with some of these issues, they will remain and sour the atmosphere during the election period. It will keep us very close to an ignition point which will be very unnecessary.

“This coming election is going to be a truly serious thing and nobody must take the process for granted or think they can get away with making the wrong moves. The steps being taken must be transparent so no one has any doubt about the integrity of the process. Whoever wants to win will necessarily have to win by free and fair means,” former President Rawlings noted.