Ghana: Debates on preparations for 2016 general elections reported in Ghana

Accra, Ghana (PANA) – Debates on preparations for Ghana’s 2016 general elections, especially on purging the voters’ register of ineligible voters, and moving the date of the vote forward from 7 December to 7 November, were some of the stories highlighted by the media this week.

The newspapers also played up calls from a section of the population to sanction opposition MP Kennedy Agyepong over his claims that the chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mrs Charlotte Osei, was appointed as a sexual favour and the appearance in court of radio panellists who threatened the lives of Supreme Court judges.

The state-owned Graphic, in a story on Thursday with the headline, “‘NHIS voters’ to re-register from Monday” reported that from 18- 28 July people whose names had been deleted from the electoral roll because they used National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) cards as a form of identity to register would have the opportunity to re-register.

It said the Electoral Commission (EC) had outlined modalities for the re-registration of 56,772 people who were affected by its decision to comply with the orders of the Supreme Court, following a suit filed by two opposition politicians.

The EC will publish the names of all the NHIS registrants whose names were deleted in line with the orders of the Supreme Court in the national dailies on 15 July.

Additionally, the EC will publish the list of the deleted names on its website and at its district offices and the various metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies.

It said any other NHIS card registrant who was found aside the list which was presented to the Supreme Court would also be deleted.

The exhibition exercise for the provisional voters’ register will also be from 18 July to 7 August.

The state-owned Ghanaian Times also had the headline, “NHIS voters to re-register on Monday” with the story saying the EC had set aside 18-22 July, for the re-registration of NHIS registrants whose names have been deleted from the voters’ register.

Samuel Tettey, the Director of Electoral Services at the EC, said that the Commission was also ready to delete the names of other persons who registered with NHIS cards but could not be captured in the list presented to the Supreme Court.

He appealed to the public to volunteer information on people who registered with the NHIS card to the EC.

The story of Graphic on the debate on the election date was, “Parties agree on Nov. 7, but question readiness of EC.”

The story said participants in a forum organised by Parliament to discuss the bill on the new date of election have agreed with moves to change the date for presidential and parliamentary elections from 7 December to the first Monday of November in an election year.

They agreed that the proposed date would reduce, if not eliminate, the acrimony that usually characterised transitions from one government to another.

Some, particularly members of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), however, questioned the ability of the EC to hold elections a month earlier than the usual date, considering the problems the Commission needed to address before polling day.

Others were also of the view that the law could be passed this year but its implementation should be deferred until after this year's elections.

Mr Peter Mac Manu, campaign manager of the NPP, making a submission before the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, said Constitutional Instrument (CI) 75 which needed to be amended to govern the elections was still not before the House.

He said even if the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill was passed, there would be the need for another CI which would also be in the House for another 21 sitting days.

He said CI 91 demanded that political parties be furnished with copies of the electoral register by the EC and that was yet to be done.

He said the current register had names which needed to be deleted, adding that the deletion might give rise to some legal tussles that might further delay the process of compiling a final register.

Apart from that, he said, there was the issue of proxy voting, special voting and voter transfer, all of which had not been dealt with.

The General Secretary of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, said the party was committed to any position adopted by the country, so long as it was by consensus.

"We do not think there is any gain or disadvantage if it is adopted or rejected. So we will go along with the position of the lawmakers," he said.

The story of the Ghanaian Times on claims by Mr Agyepong, an MP of the opposition NPP, that the EC chair was appointed as a sexual favour read, “Women group petitions parliament over Kennedy Agyepong.”

It said a group of women went to Parliament to present a petition to the Speaker over the controversial statement made by the NPP Member of Parliament of Assin Central, Agyepong, against the chairperson of the Electoral Commission.

The group, numbering over 100, wants the Speaker, Edward Adjaho, to take action against the MP for making derogatory remarks against the EC Chairperson.

The Times said the comment had angered many women groups and women rights activists who were demanding that the House punished him for the utterance.

The group presented its petition to the Speaker through the chairperson of the Women’s Caucus, Hajia Mary Boforo. The women want the Assin Central MP to come out and render an apology to the EC boss for making such derogatory remarks against her.

“Produce other directors of Montie FM — Supreme Court,” was the headline of the Graphic on the appearance of panellists of a pro-government radio station before the Supreme Court for threatening the lives of judges of the apex court.

The story said the Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the Board of Directors of radio station, Montie FM, to appear before it on 18 July.

Only one director of the station appeared before the court in a case in which the station, two political commentators and a presenter have been cited for contempt of court.

Counsel for Montie FM, Nana Ato Dadzie, argued that at the time the summons was served, only one director, who was also a board member and shareholder of the company, was available.
-0- PANA MA/VAO 16July2016

16 july 2016 08:17:09

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