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Biometric registration, verification will ensure credible polls – Mahama

President John Mahama New Nice The processes of registration that have been instituted by the Electoral Commission (EC) will be enough to ensure a free and fair election, President John Mahama has said.

In his latest public endorsement of the EC, President Mahama intimated that the added features of biometric verification instituted by the commission will prevent ineligible persons from voting in the November polls.
 
Speaking on Tamale-based Radio Savannah, during his “Accounting to the People” tour in the Northern Region, President Mahama said vigilance at the polls will also help ensure a free and fair elections.
 
“I believe that with the advantage we have in terms of biometric registration and verification, even if we didn’t have a register that was perfect… with the added features of biometric registration and verification I believe if there are names in the register, and we are vigilant at the polls, nobody can use them to their advantage because we will all vote with finger prints,” he said.
 
The President also espoused confidence in the EC to “do the right thing” following the recent directives of the Supreme Court on cleaning the register.
 
“I think the two institutions are good enough to handle the issues that confront them. We have an EC that is well respected and I believe that the EC will do the right thing.”
 
Ghana’s EC word class – Mahama
 
President Mahama had previously described the EC as one of the best in the world, while urging Ghanaians to allow the Commission the space and peace of mind to conduct this year’s elections.
In his view, the EC has proven its worth in six past elections and there is no cause for alarm as far as its ability to conduct credible elections is concerned.
 
The President in this light of his confidence urged Ghanaians to “give the Electoral Commission the peace of mind to do its work. Let’s leave them peacefully to conduct this election and I am sure Ghanaians would be the better for it.”
 
Increasing pressure on EC
 
Despite President Mahama’s praise of the EC, several stakeholders have doubted the Commission’s commitment to oversee a smooth, free and fair elections in November.
 
The credibility of the voter’s register has been a bone of contention over the past two years, as evidenced by the successful suit filed by a former PNC Youth Organiser, Abu Ramadan, and one Evans Nimako, to delete the names of persons who used NHIS cards to get onto the electoral roll.
 
The two, among other reliefs, wanted the current register declared inappropriate for the November polls given the presence of NHIS registrants on the register as in their view, the NHIS card can be acquired by non-Ghanaians.
 
The apex court on May 5, 2016, subsequently asked the EC to expunge from the register the names of all persons who registered and voted in the 2012 elections, with the NHIS card as a proof of identity.
 
While asking the EC to delete the names of those who registered with the NHIS cards, the court also asked the commission to allow such persons to re-register using the right procedure.
 
The commission has since announced that it has complied with the ruling and will publish the names of the affected persons in the national dailies as well as district electoral offices.
 
It also said it will begin the re-registration process on Monday, July 18, 2016.