The Electoral Commission (EC) is denying claims by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) that the voters register for by-elections at Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency is bloated.
Constituents are going to the polls on Thursday to elect a new Member of Parliament following the death of Kyeremanten Agyarko last year.
The legislator died in the United States of America where he had gone to seek treatment for an illness, leaving his seat in Parliament vacant.
The EC is by law, required to organise by-elections for a new MP to be elected. All the processes have been finalised and the elections will be held but the NDC is not happy.
They have raised concerns about the electoral register of the Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency ahead of the January 31 by-elections.
According to the party, they made a request to the Commission to be furnished with the electoral register which was done.
However, at their observation during the bagging of materials for the by-elections they noticed the number of voters at each polling station has been increased.
The EC says their claims are false.
Deputy EC Chair Corporate Services, Dr Bossman Asare
In a statement, the Commission said the allegations are “… untrue. The NDC requested a copy of the said lists, late on Friday, January 25, 2019, when the activities at the Commission had winded down. It is significant to note that the author of the Press Release has unlimited access to the Chairman responsible for Operations, and could have reached him without much effort.
“Letters of such nature go through a process of recording at the registry before they are brought to the attention of the addressees. Requests for confidential information, require the approval of the Chairperson or Deputy Chairpersons before same are released,” the statement said.
The Commission says whiles it believes in responding in a timely manner to requests from the political parties, it will not compromise its processes and laid down systems for any entity.
The EC said it is astonished that instead of approaching it to discuss this issue, the NDC chose to go public, accusing the Commission of bloating the' register to favour a particular Political party.
“These allegations are baseless and unfounded and we call on the public to disregard them. We wish to assure the public that, the Ayawaso Wuogun register is clean. It reflects the total number of valid voters in the Constituency.
“It is not bloated as claimed by the NDC. For the information of the public, the Special Voters List, Transfer List and Proxy list were contained in separate lists in 2016. They have now been combined with the main list, hence the increase in numbers,” the Deputy Chairperson Dr Bossman Asare said in the statement.
A sample of the ballot paper for Thursday's polls
Dr Asare said the EC has since provided the NDC with all the registers/lists they have requested namely the Special Voters List, the Proxy list and the Transfer List.
He indicated that the NDC first requested a copy of the main register in December 2018 and that was made available to them in December 2018.
“The Electoral Commission has observed the NDCs consistent attempts to malign the credibility and integrity of the Chairperson of the Commission, Commission members and the Commission as a whole.
“Indeed the Electoral Commission wonders why the NDC would choose to rely on its services for the conduct of its Primary to elect a Flagbearer when the Electoral Commission is not bound by law to do so. The Commission leaves this to the good people of this country to judge.”
NDC Deputy General Secretary Peter Otokunor
But the NDC says the EC’s statement leaves more questions than answers. Deputy General Secretary, Peter Otokunor said on Joy News’ Top Story that the statement was depressing.
He said the party made a request for the Special Voters List, the Proxy list and the Transfer List had 1165 added voters.
“The total number on the voter register which was printed was 88,745 contrary to the register that we were given in December - 87,580 - and today I am hearing Dr Bossman say it was a disaggregated register.
“Why do you disaggregate a register and only give portions to a major political party which is a major stakeholder in an election then subsequently you don’t communicate anything until we chance on it at the print house,” Mr Otokunor queried.
He said the EC’s motor that it works based on integrity, transparency and fairness is a flimsy excuse to engage in unlawful acts.
“This by force standards does not show professionalism. Cleary what they have done and the way they have treated the NDC since they took office is completely against integrity transparency and fairness,” he stressed.