|Mrs. Charlotte Osei - The only chairperson of Ghana Electoral Commission.|
Speaking on Friday at the stakeholders' forum on the voters register in Accra, the chairperson of the EC, Mrs Charlotte Osei, said some of the problems that have been identified with the current register, such as the presence of minors, have been created by political parties.
She noted that minors are lured by political parties and dishonest parents to register in order to secure a political advantage.
She said it was time to start prosecuting minors who register to vote as well as their parents.
Mrs Osei also downplayed claims by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) that there are foreigners on Ghana’s voters register, saying the appearance of registered voters on the register of other countries was not a basis to remove them from Ghana’s register.
She said there were multiple ways of acquiring Ghanaian citizenship, which the EC lacked the mandate to change, adding that the EC was only mandated to register eligible Ghanaian citizens.
The EC Chair said some of the challenges with the current register had been occasioned by the absence of a “robust” National Identification Authority (NIA) programme.
She said the key challenges of determining who was a foreigner and who was a minor would have been addressed by the NIA system.
Touching on some of the challenges that the creation of a new register would present, Mrs Osei said either a national driver’s licence, a passport or an NHIS card would be required as proof of Ghanaian citizenship.
She said anybody who lacked any of the three cards would not be able to register because the EC would not use the old voter’s card to verify their identity.
Mrs Osei, however, stressed the commitment of the EC to producing a credible register for the 2016 elections, irrespective of whether it was a new one or an audited one.
“The EC by itself cannot ensure that there is a credible register; it will take a comprehensive effort from all Ghanaians and by cooperation we will require that everybody comes on board in ensuring that this particular system works the way it works,” she said.