The National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have distanced themselves from claims by the Electoral Commission that political parties are encouraging minors and foreigners to partake in the limited voters’ registration exercise.
The EC, in a press conference on Thursday, said that they had noticed that the minors and foreigners have taken advantage of the guarantor system with the support of some members of political parties.
A Deputy Chairperson of the EC, Dr Bossman Asare they are striving to ensure that a credible register is created and as such having names of unqualified people will only undermine their work and taint the register.
But, speaking on Newsnight on Joy FM, NDC’s Deputy General Secretary Mustapha Gbande stated that many people have been challenged when attempting to register for being ineligible. This was a result of political party agents raising their suspicions during the exercise.
He stated that the agents are challenging individuals to bring documents to prove their age as part of efforts to ensure that only eligible people are captured.
“I think that is an alarmist assessment of the issues…You don’t go accusing political parties when your own officials are the ones administering the process. You have seen NPP people challenging NDC people they suspect and NDC people challenging them. So how do you come out to accuse political parties when the system is running naturally?” He quizzed.
“NDC dissociate itself from that accusation. We are not bussed minors. We have no involvement in bussing minors. We believe that the procedure, when you walk to the registration centre, you will be taken through a process and that process is by law enough to be able to detect,” Mr Gbande said.
The NDC Deputy General Secretary says he only finds it unfortunate that the EC is taking advantage of the issue to find fault in the guarantor system (where people verify for eligible voters without Ghana Cards) and “examining people’s age by their pictures”.
He emphasised that this is the system that the National Identification Authority to authorise Ghana cards to numerous Ghanaians.
Meanwhile, a Deputy General Secretary of the NPP Haruna Mohammed did not only deny the accusations he claimed the NDC was in support of the registration of minors. He stated that there have been instances where NDC agents have been captured pushing for the registration of a 14-year-old.
“As a political party we (NPP) are law-abiding we have stated this fact; we are not going to accept the issue of registration of minors. This is clearly stated in Ghana’s constitution that if you don’t attain the age of 18 you should not be registered and we are going to support this particular process”
“I am happy that the electoral commission is talking about a number of people being challenged I hope that these minors will be the chunk of that,” Mr Mohammed added.
He also supported calls by the EC to have the guarantor system discontinued noting that is responsible for the slow exercise among other challenges.
Mr Mohammed said that having a rather robust system which will include the sole use of Ghana Cards will help with ensuring a clean register is created.
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