The Electoral Commission (EC) says it cannot conduct credible presidential and parliamentary elections in December, without a new voters’ register.

The Commission has, for the past few months drummed home the need for a new roll, describing it as critical for a transparent process.

The EC insists the current register is bloated and not fit for purpose.

Despite pressure from some political parties including the Inter-Party Resistance Against the New Voters’ Register to call off the plan, the EC subsequently scheduled April 18 as the date to go ahead with the exercise ahead of the December general elections.

But the commitment was suspended amid the government’s announcement of a lockdown as part of measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Director of Electoral Services at the Electoral Commission, Dr Serebour Quaicoe says the compilation of a new electoral role will happen if the health experts give the green light to do so.

“Are we thinking of not having election 2020,” he quizzed on PM Express Wednesday. “Anybody in the Electoral Commission, knowing the resources that we have, knowing the situation of the registers, will go for a new credible register… We are waiting for the lockdown and coronavirus to subside,” Dr Quaicoe said.

He explained that the Commission is “in consultation with a medical expert and other stakeholders. When at the right time they advise us, then we will roll out our activity.”

In a sharp response, member of the Functional Executive Committee of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Alex Segbefia, expressed disappointment at the EC’s stance insisting that any plan to compile a new register during the Covid-19 outbreak will put the citizenry at risk.

He believes that stance of the Commission is unfortunate.

“You’re [EC] being asked to consider issues. The best is to say you are looking at all options. So don’t say categorically that ‘this is my position’ because you do not know how long Covid-19 is going to last.

Are you therefore, saying that if you are not going to compile a new register and Covid-19 finishes in August, you are going to push us not to have an election in December and you are now going to insist that the election should be postponed?”

The leading member of the NDC’s Covid-19 team further questioned “What kind of EC do we have? You are making categorical statements now, saying that no register, no election or, no register no credible election. So perhaps there will be election but you won’t deem it credible.”