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Exercise vigilance in voter registration process – Former Deputy Minister

Ghana Voter Registration 2014 File photo

Sat, 23 Sep 2023 Source: GNA

Prospective and qualified citizens have been urged to exhibit unwavering commitment and vigilance during the ongoing limited voter registration, by the Electoral Commission (EC).

Abu K. Kangsangabata, who made the call, emphasised the significance of the ongoing national exercise aimed at ensuring the inclusion of all eligible citizens in Ghana’s voter roll.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Mr. Kangsangabata highlighted the crucial nature of the registration process, as it granted prospective and qualified Ghanaians the opportunity to exercise their voting rights in future elections and referenda.

“To be registered as a voter in Ghana is a fundamental right of citizens who turn 18 years of age and are of sound mind, as enshrined in Article 42 of the 1992 Republican Constitution of Ghana,” he said.

The decision by the EC to conduct this limited voter registration exercise is enshrined in Article 45(a) of the Constitution, which enjoins the Electoral Body to compile the voter register and revise it at such periods as may be determined by law.

Similarly, Article 45(e) states “The EC should undertake programmes for the expansion of the registration of voters”.

Making reference to these articles, Mr. Kangsangabata said the core function of the EC could not be treated with disdain, as the EC appeared to be doing right now.

“It is therefore unheard of for the Electoral Management Body to resort to the registration of voters at only the district offices as opposed to electoral areas and other designated centres as done in previous registration windows,” he said.

He added, “Sadly enough, the divergent shades of views and opinions across the political divide calling for the Electoral Commission to take a second look at this mode of registration in this limited registration exercise appear to have fallen on deaf ears.

“Indeed, religious and traditional leaders cognizant of the consequences of the posture of the Electoral Commission have had cause to call out the Commissioners to decentralise the exercise as practically as possible to make it accessible to ordinary Ghanaian citizens for whose interests the Electoral Commission should be serving.

“It is clear that the current structure and form of the exercise would place a lot of impediments in the way of a majority of prospective registrants who find themselves in locations far removed from the District Capitals by virtue of distance, road network, among others.”

Kangsangabata added that”other prospective voters have to incur huge transport costs in travelling from their abode to the District Capitals.

“All of these factors would militate against the enjoyment of the right to be registered as a voter due to no fault of the citizens.

He urged stakeholders to stand up and amplify their voices for the Commission to do the right thing and uphold the rights of all citizens in line with its constitutional mandate.

He also appealed to the Council of State, the National Peace Council, the National House of Chiefs, the Coalition of Domestic Elections Observers, the Christian Council of Ghana, and the Office of the National Chief Imam to call on the EC to rethink its action.

He called on the EC to serve as the pivot for consensus building to strengthen the country’s democracy.

Adding, “We cannot afford a rollback of our democratic journey simply because of a registration exercise”.

Kangsangabata urged the rank and file of the National Democratic Congress to participate fully in the exercise as stakeholders mounted pressure on the EC to revise its stance.

Meanwhile, addressing a news conference early this week, Mrs. Jean Mensa, EC Chairperson, refuted any allegations of wrongdoing.

She said it was not in the interest of the electoral body to deprive any citizen of their voting rights, and reassured the public that the organisation was fully committed to ensuring the inclusion of every eligible voter.

“We have heard of allegations from various quarters that the Commission was disenfranchising eligible voters,” she added. “This is false.”

In a related development, Mr. Kofi Asante Owusu, the EC Officer for New Juaben South Municipal in the Eastern Region, has urged the public to maintain peace and ensure order in the ongoing limited voter registration process.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Koforidua, he emphasised the crucial role of public cooperation towards guaranteeing the accomplishment of the EC’s mission in the limited voter registration.

Source: GNA
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