“Let’s Occupy EC Head Office, Bring Accra To A Standstill” – Afriyie Ankrah
Director of Elections of the largest opposition party, National Democratic Congress (NDC), Elvis Afriyie Ankrah says he has not regretted in the comments uttered in a leaked audiotape centring on the new voter’s register proposed by the Electoral Commission.
According to him, members of the NDC should do well to rally against the decision by the EC ahead of the 2020 general election adding the leadership should devote GHc1 Million on a about GH₵1 million on a movement to refuse the idea.
In the leaked audiotape, Mr. Ankrah said “GH₵200,000, GH₵500,000 and GH₵1 million Ghana cedis and fight this register, bring Accra to a standstill for once, occupy the EC head office. And we can do it. We have done it before, these are things we’ve been doing even as ordinary students; we brought the Ministry of Finance to a standstill"
He added he has not regretted his words adding there was nothing bad about it.
Mr. Ankrah further explained that the decision by the Electoral Commission to compile a new voter’s register was a waste of taxpayer’s money, time and other resources.
“This is not a leaked tape; I recorded myself and sent it to party members. I was speaking to my people and telling them that we have to resist it [the new voters’ register]. It was an open discussion on an open platform” he added.
He further stressed that since it was a whatsapp group, he was the one behind it.
The Director of Elections stressed that as to whether it was deliberate or not, the audiotape is already in the public domain.
“The important thing is that there is nothing there that is wrong, I stand by every word that I said. You only regret if what you said was bad or there was something in it but in this case, we are going to come out publicly and activate these things so what is the big deal about it because we will occupy the streets of Ghana to demonstrate against the new register” he stated
He fumed that since the cost involved was humongous adding the move by the EC was completely unnecessary.
“First of all, it is about the cost. It is a humongous cost which we think is completely unnecessary. Per the EC’s [estimation], it [the voters’ register] was going to cost GH₵444 million but the last time we checked the documents which were taken to Parliament, it was going to cost some GH₵800 million and that is good money that can be used for other purposes” he explained.
Speaking on occupying the country’s EC head office, he explained that it was a statement of act and not to be taken literally.
“People who decide to twist his statement to suit their own purposes may not succeed since no demonstration could be done in private or hiding” he explained.
However, Director of Elections at the EC, Dr. Serebour Quaicoe stressed it is important for the country to deal with issues of verification challenges to avoid humiliation on election day.
Dr. Quaicoe said “We have made it very clear that the current biometric system is not good enough for future activities. We are having a lot of challenges with it. In addition to that, a lot of people have found it difficult to have their fingerprints picked up by the machine so we intend to introduce the facial recognition [option] in addition so that if your fingerprint fails, your image will be used for verification.”
He added that the tabled money is only for the obtaining of equipment but furnish the entire money involved in starting a new exercise.
He said “The amount we are talking about is the total cost of registration, recruitment and what have you. So it’s not only for the equipment and software. So that amount shouldn’t be perceived only for the equipment. So whether we upgrade or not, we will still incur the cost of registration. So that is the cost of registration.”
The EC tabled a request to Ghana’s Parliament to approve GH¢444,846,663 for the sorting out of the new voters register. It added that since the old register is outmoded, it needs to be updated. However, the opposition party, NDC says it is against it. Speaking to Journalists in Accra, General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, said “The new register defies logic and must be fiercely resisted as we in the NDC intend to do. We are not complaining. In fact, we are saying that, let us use the same register so that given the state of the shenanigans that were played by the NPP in 2016… we will see whether they can win again.”
Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith