The Catholic bishops of Ghana have asked the country’s election commission to register all eligible voters and to work to ensure confidence in the accuracy of the voter registry.
They also urged Ghana’s government to provide the necessary resources and logistics to the electoral commission to update the voter registry.
They hoped and prayed that all stakeholders, especially political parties, will be honest and truthful in helping the Electoral Commission “conduct a fair, transparent and honest exercise to win the confidence of the Ghanaian public in the register and the electoral process as a whole.”
The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference discussed election issues in an Oct. 12 statement on the voter’s registry. Bishop Joseph Osei-Bonsu of Konongo-Mampong, the conference president, signed the statement, the Catholic News Agency for Africa reports.
The voter registry compiled in 2012 recorded about 14 million voters out of 25 million citizens. Some critics have said the count of registered voters is too high relative to the current population of Ghana. Concerns also include the registration of voters younger than the voting age of 18, and the presence of non-citizens on the voter registration.
They noted allegations that more than 76,000 names of people from neighboring countries have been found on Ghana’s voter rolls. If allegations about voter registration flaws are true, the bishops said, “it will be necessary to have a new Voters’ Register to enable people to have confidence in the electoral process.”
Ghana’s bishops acknowledged the difficulties of maintaining a voter’s registry.
They advised better education on voter registration and better training for voter registration personnel. They also called for more transparency in identifying and verifying registered voters.
Ghana will hold its next general elections in 2016.
The NGO Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index ranked corruption in Ghana at 47 on a scale of 0-100, with 100 being least corrupt. The NGO ranks the country 61 out of 175 countries. By Transparency International figures, Ghana is perceived to be less corrupt than its immediate neighbors in West Africa.