EC asked to update voters register for Ayawaso by-election
A youth group, calling itself the Youth Bridge Foundation (YGF), has served notice to the effect that the impending Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election as planned by the Electoral Commission (EC) would amount to a breach of the 1992 Constitution if an updated register was not used for the exercise.
According to the group, the move for a by-election without updating the voters register to allow persons who have, since the last election, attained a voting age, would amount to disenfranchising them without any legal basis.
The group has, therefore, called on the EC to treat the call for an updated register as very important in promoting inclusion, and act on it with a sense of urgency, stressing that failure to heed to its sincere and genuine call might “compel us to seek redress at the appropriate quarters.”
A call on the EC
“We, therefore, call on the EC to open a limited registration exercise for all the young constituents of Ayawaso West Wuogon, who are eligible to vote and yet have not been registered,” it maintained.
The position of the group was contained in a release signed and issued by its Executive Director, Mr Seth Obeng, who confirmed to the Daily Graphic that “the situation is worrying because over the years, the Commission’s neglect of its constitutional duty to register first time voters (those who have turned 18 after the previous general election) prior to by-elections, appears to have been institutionalised as the norm rather than the exception.”
That act, on the part of the EC, the group said, amounted to a negligence and dereliction of duty and must never be countenanced, as it indicts the commitment of the EC to youth participation in the electoral processes of Ghana.
Per the position of the group: “Unfortunately, even though the EC has been able to fix a date for the impending Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election, the commission has neglected its duty to enfranchise all the young Ghanaians who turned 18 years after the 2016 general election in the constituency.
In other words, there has been no registration exercise for the teeming young people who attained the voting age of 18 after the 2016 and who are now eligible to vote.”
Buttressing its position, the group said the electoral laws of Ghana enjoined the EC to revise the voters’ roll every year while the Electoral Reforms Committee set up by the EC in 2013 also recommended continuous voter registration to ensure that all young Ghanaians were captured on the voters’ roll at all times and prior to all elections.
More so, the group maintained that Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution also enjoins the EC to register all Ghanaians who turn 18 years to prepare them to participate in all elections.
The group said as much as it commends the EC for responding to its call to duty and fulfilling its constitutionally imposed mandate of fixing a date for the by-election to replace the deceased Member of Parliament (MP), as a youth development and empowerment organisation, it wished to express grave concern about the potential attempt to disenfranchise some young Ghanaian citizens in the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency who had turned 18 years after the 2016 general election.
Acts of commission and ommission
“As a youth development and empowerment agency, we are unable to sit idle while some young people are blatantly disenfranchised through the EC’s act of omission or commission,” the group said.
It added that such a situation amounted to an act of negligence and dereliction of duty which must never be countenanced as it indicted the commitment of the Commission to youth participation in the electoral processes of Ghana.
Following the death of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency, Mr Emmanuel Kyeremateng Agyarko, the EC in consultations with the registered political parties in Ghana slated January 31, 2019, for a by- election to fill the vacant seat.
Mr Agyarko died at the age of 60 on Wednesday, November 21, 2018.
He was buried last Saturday at Odumase-Krobo where he hails from.