Chairman of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye, is not happy about the path that was chosen by the Electoral Commission to investigate the over bloated electoral register petition Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia submitted to it.
In his view, it was diplomatically incorrect for the EC to have written to its counterpart institution in Togo to verify if the claims submitted to its outfit by the NPP were authentic or not.
According to him, the best thing the Electoral Commission could have done to assuage the fears of Ghanaians since it is not a detective institution was to have sought the assistance of Interpol, Ghana Office, to use their advance forensic equipment to authenticate the claims of the NPP.
“There are certain things that you will need the Police to help investigate. The Electoral Commission is not detective institution. They don’t have forensic equipment to authenticate finger prints and pictures among other things. They just don’t have them because that is not their work”.
“So, on matters of such nature, you have to go to the Police CID for assistance. They have the forensic department to deal with issues of such magnitude”, he said in an interview on Accra-based Okay FM Monday.
In August, 2015, Dr. Bawumia, described the country’s electoral roll as terminally faulty and which cannot be relied on for the 2016 Presidential and Parliamentary elections.
“The current voters’ register is incurably flawed, and cannot be relied on for the 2016 elections, and as a matter of urgency, we have submitted a petition to the Electoral Commission (EC), to register our displeasure”, he told journalists at a press conference held in Accra.
He revealed that the NPP had identified 76,286 persons with the same data in both Ghana and Togo’s voters’, a figure he said represents 10% of the work in progress.
The affected persons, he argued, were mostly found in the Volta Region, with Ketu South as one of the constituencies where the anomalies took place.
Some other African nationals from Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso, according to Dr. Bawumia, were also on the country’s electoral register.
Worried about the flawed document, the Vice-Presidential Candidate of the NPP then called for a new register ahead of the November 7, 2016 polls.
EC shoots down call for a new voters’ register
But the Electoral Commission under the tutelage from its Chairperson, Charlotte Osei, on the eve of the New Year, shot down the call for a new voters’ register.
It said the argument for the call for the new voters’ roll was not convincing and therefore, does not recommend the replacement of the current register.
Instead, the Commission said it “will continue to engage stakeholders to ensure that a clean and credible voters’ register is in place for the 2016 general elections through an inclusive and collaborative audit process.”
Arrest Dr. Bawumia
Following the EC’s pronouncement, the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) has called for the arrest of Dr. Bawumia for allegedly presenting falsified documents to the EC to deceive them.
General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah said the EC’s preliminary report on calls for new voters’ register suggests that the NPP Vice-Presidential candidate peddled falsehood that had the potential to destabilize the country, hence, the need to arrest him for questioning.
But Prof. Oquaye commenting further said the report by the EC and the calls for the arrest of Dr. Bawumia lacked merit.
He said since the matter that was presented to the EC had an international dimension, the electoral body ought to have sought the assistance of Interpol to deal with it.
“Because the matter has that international dimension, there was the need to have invited Interpol. Togo is a signatory to the International Convention on Interpol likewise Ghana. So, the Interpol office in Ghana would have written to the Interpol office in Togo to assist in investigating the forensic aspect of the case brought before them (EC). Being a signatory to Interpol, Togo would then be obliged to make inquiry to the matter whether you like it or not.”
“They (EC) knew all these but wanted Asiedu Nketiah to do the propaganda for them but it won’t work”.