Africa-Press – Ghana. The Electoral Commission’s presser on Tuesday, 19th September, 2023 failed to address the numerous challenges and concerns raised by citizens of Ghana about how the EC is conducting the recent voter registration exercise. Rather, the EC demonstrated the lack of Institutional Will vested in Commission by the 1992 Constitution to ensure that any Ghanaian of Sound mind who is 18yrs and above is given the opportunity to register to vote.
This constitutional provision guarantees the rights of citizens to register to vote. So, it is a right and not a privilege. Therefore, the mode of registration to vote involves proximity and accessibility to registration centres to which every citizen is given the opportunity to register within the stipulated period of the exercise.
In line with the constitutional provision of CI 91 as ratified by CI 126, the EC is yet to Grant condusive platforms and full access to citizens to exercise their legitimate right to register because of the location of its registration centres which are far from the abode of citizens to access to which the situation has rather created needless congestions and cues at its district offices and frustrations amongst those who are yet to register having travelled long distances to access registration centres.
The cry of many Ghanaians is that the EC should decentralize the ongoing exercise closer to the people by creating more centres to contain the numerous Ghanaians who are willing to register to vote in the upcoming District Assembly Elections and the 2024 general elections. It is evident that since the registration exercise began, many people have not been able to access the district offices of the EC because of the distance involved and dangers associated to it.
There is also a risk factor of commuting through river bodies, peninsulas, islands and lagoons to access the district offices of the EC at many jurisdictions. Further, the risk factor involved in minors who have turned 18yrs and are eligible to register to vote travelling long distances away from their homes to district offices to register and as well the capital intensity for transpiration along side guarantors to district offices to guarantee for those who are yet to register. So, these are genuine concerns of Ghanaians which needs immediate attention of the EC for redress to protect the sanctity of the exercise.
The EC Presser reiterated that the decision to conduct the limited registration exercise at its district offices is to protect the sanctity of the voter register but this assertion falls Short of the constitutional mandate of the EC to Grant access to all eligible voters to register without ambiguity. Albeit the Director of Elections at the EC resolution that all who are unable to register should wait till next year to register is afront to the rule of law and a conspiratorial agenda to deny and disenfranchise eligible voters to register to vote in the upcoming District Assembly Elections in December. An event that would not protect but rather dent the sanctity of our democracy and electoral processes including the voter register.
One thing that has also denied many eligible voters to register is the Ghana card which many people do not have access to. Their only option is the guarantors system which is more capital intensive having to travel long distances to registration centres. This must be a concern of the EC not to display arrogance and ignorance in addressing these challenges. There’s rebate by conspirators that for the EC to decentralize the registration exercise would be capital intensive to which the EC could not meet the financial demands. But this is neither here nor there because, to register to vote is a right and not a privilege and the EC must take note of that to make provision through Parliament to meet their financial needs to decentralize the registration exercise.
In the light of the challenges confronting eligible voters to register, the EC should stop displaying arrogance and ignorance and quickly address the numerous challenges and concerns of Ghanaians to decentralize the ongoing exercise to protect the sanctity of our democracy and conduct of Elections in Ghana since the EC failure to do so would underscore the integrity of the EC to carry-out free, fair and transparent elections in Ghana in the 2024 general elections which is key to the political stability of Ghana going forward.
God bless our Homeland Ghana.
Dr. Michael Richmond Smart-Abbey (BA Hons. Political Science with History, University of Ghana, BA, Prophetic Ministry Studies, IBC, Master of Divinity, PhD, Christian Philosophy, Christian Leadership University, USA, Doctor of Theology, Asia Pacific College of Theology, Philippines, Exec. Cert., Exec. Advanced Cert. Knustford University College, Gen. Cert. Training, Organisational Security Management, Sabrewatch International Security Training School, United Kingdom.
A product of Achimota Sec. School and Former Principal Administrator and Security Coordinator, National Sports Authority, Ghana and Sabrewatch Security Ltd. UK.
Source: News Ghana