Britain has said it is strongly committed to helping Ghana sail through this year’s Presidential and Parliamentary elections freely and peacefully, but will not be drawn into the raging controversy over the integrity of the country’s electoral roll, which some analysts fear could be a recipe for conflict.
Opposition elements have slammed the current voters’ register, and are leading a campaign to compel the Electoral Commission to compile a new electoral roll as an insurance against possible electoral fraud in November.
Supporters of the current electoral roll, however, disagree.
Some two weeks ago, the British government announced that it will pump some 4 million pounds into Ghana’s elections and other democratic process over the next four years. Part of the funds will go into supporting the Electoral Commission’s work.
But in a Citi News interview, the British High Commissioner to Ghana, Jon Benjamin, said the country will not be drawn into taking a position on the divisive debate over Ghana’s voter’s register.
He said “I don’t think it is appropriate for us outside to tell another country whether it should or shouldn’t have a new register.”
“Part of peaceful election is about supporting bodies such as the IPAC or the electoral commission in bringing people together to air their different views and try and find the solutions at the moment or about how the electoral register should be audited or validated I don’t think it is appropriate for us outside to dictate what that should look like. And I think that as time goes on and the new technologies come on board it could help to iron out those difficulties. You can never have a perfect electoral register; we don’t have one in the UK,” Jon Benjamin added.
On the upcoming election, the UK High Commissioner said, his government would support any candidate that emerges winner.
“Britain is entirely neutral, we favour no candidate, we have no candidate, we are extremely happy to work with whoever wins. Any Ghanaian election at any point in time what we do is make a contribution to maintaining Ghana’s excellent record of peaceful election, election as seen as fair by the people of Ghana.
That is a hard won accolade, one that Ghana deserves and cannot be taken for granted. And it has to be nurtured and we are happy to help those bodies entrusted with ensuring smooth, peaceful, fair and credible elections.”