Former President John Mahama (L) and EC Chair Jean Mensa (R)
Former President John Mahama has said he fears there could be chaos on 7 December 2020 due to the manner in which the Electoral Commission is handling the voter register and the processes associated with it.
Commenting on the EC’s one-day registration exercise that is taking place today, Thursday, 1 October 2020 to enable eligible voters, who could not be captured onto the roll during the mass registration exercise, to do so, Mr Mahama told Eric Ahianyo on Woezor TV in an interview that: “This particular EC does things in a very strange way”.
“These are not some of the processes we are used to”, Mr Mahama said, adding: “Yes, there was a court ruling on continuous registration and anybody at any time is able to go to the EC office and register but the law says that 60 days before the election, you’ll be allowed to register but you’ll not be able to register in that exercise”.
The flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) pointed out: “Now, we’ve done the exhibition of the register, there’ve been so many problems with the register and on top of that you say you’re going to open the register again and do another mass registration in all your district offices”.
According to Mr Mahama, “it makes it very difficult for us to understand what they are doing”.
In his view, “if anybody hasn’t registered and they have come, they should go to any district office and say: ‘Look, I was outside the country, I’ve come, I want to register’”, wondering: “OK, so what of those who come tomorrow or the day after; are you going to do another one-day [exercise]? And, so, they handle things in a very strange manner”.
To him, the “register goes up one day; one day it comes down; on some days names are missing and I was shocked when the EC Commissioner said they have found the missing names and right now it’s only 7,000 they can’t find – only 7,000.
“Every single person is important and, so, not even one person should be missing and, so, it’s a height of incompetence to say only 7,000 names cannot be found. It doesn’t show any seriousness and diligence in what this Electoral Commission is doing”, Mr Mahama noted.
Touching on the credibility of the EC Chair vis-à-vis her work as the driver of the election management body, Mr Mahama said: “I’m prepared to give her the benefit of the doubt that she has no malicious intent to rig the election but the degree of efficiency of giving us a credible voter register, is what we’re talking about”.
“I’m not talking about whether she has an evil intention or what. I know she is a Christian and I’m sure that in her own mind, she knows that she must do the right thing but the point is, the steps that they are taking are so inefficient and incompetent that we don’t know what is happening.
“We’ve had ECs, we’ve gone through registration exercises; this is the most disorderly and chaotic registration exercise we’ve ever seen and I’m worried about the election day because those new BVRs they’ve brought, we don’t know whether they work; people are going to try and they are going to be rejected but their names are going to be on the register and it’s going to create a lot of chaos.
“They’ve brought a new system where the presiding officer can override both the fingerprint and the facial recognition and do a manual.
“Meanwhile, my thought was that – and what they said was that – this new system is more efficient and is going to reduce the number of manual verifications that we do. It seems likely that it is rather going to increase it because we’ve not tested it, we’ve not done test runs, and, so, I fear for the chaos that will occur on election day”, Mr Mahama noted.