Diasporia News Sat, 19 Sep 2020

Electoral Commission's attempt to implement ROPAL 'secretly' unlawful - NDC UK Chapter

The National Democratic Congress(NDC) - UK & Ireland Chapter is very concerned about Mrs Jean Mensah-led Electoral Commission(EC)’s handling of issues relating to this year’s presidential and parliamentary election.

The case against the compilation of a new voters register by a cross section of Ghanaians including traditional leaders and civil society organisations in the lead up to the recent new registration exercise, is well documented and articulated. Their legitimate concerns were ignored by the EC, so I will not belabor the point.

However, I would like to raise a number of issues which are increasing the suspicions the NDC and other stakeholders are already having about EC:

1. In August 2020, The NDC-UK & Ireland Chapter sighted a Directive with the caption: ARRANGEMENTS FOR ONLINE REGISTRATION OF GHANAIANS, DIPLOMATS, INTERNATIONAL CIVIL SERVANTS AND STUDENTS ON GOVERNMENT OF GHANA SCHOLARSHIP ABROAD purported to have been issued by the Embassy of Ghana in the Czech Republic.

We are mindful of Provisional National Defence(PNDC) Law 284 which allows the aforementioned category of people to take part in voters registration and vote. That said, given that it is a Biometric voter registration and at the time of these directives, Ghana’s borders and airports were closed, there was this question as to how the EC would capture the Biometric details and facial recognition of these potential voters? And why did the EC not issue an official statement to announce that these category of people would be registered ?

2. The Thursday 20th August, 2020 edition of Daily Graphic had the following headline: EC Can’t Implement ROPAA. A Deputy Electoral Commission Chairman, Dr Bossman Asare is reported to have said among other things that, Parliament is yet to enact the Constitutional Instrument(CI) that would operationalise ROPAA, hence ROPAA cannot be implemented in this year’s elections.

3. The Wednesday 2nd September, 2020 edition of Ghanaweb had this caption - Airport Re-opening: We Are To Finalise Plans On ROPAL -EC. The Director of Electoral Services Dr Serebour Quiacoe is reported to have said that the EC will soon meet with relevant stakeholders to decide on ROPAL. Dr Serebour said “The ban on air travel was lifted two days ago and the Commission is yet to meet to take a decision on Ghanaians who returned…because there was a ban on air travel, it(ROPAL) could not happen but now that ban has been lifted, the EC is yet to meet and finalise decision”.

4. Clearly there are contradictions between Dr Bossman Asare’s views and that of Dr Srerebour’s.

5. The NDC-UK & Ireland Chapter has gathered credible intelligence to the effect that some NPP supporters in the diaspora(UK included) are being mobilised to travel to Ghana on or before 29th September with the aim of registering as voters for this year’s elections. There is on-going Voters Register Exhibition Exercise which started on the 18th and will end on the 25th September, 2020. Therefore, it would be illegal and a departure from registering new voters prior, during and after the exhibition exercise as prescribed by law.

6. In the light of above, the NDC-UK & Ireland Chapter is appealing to the EC to issue a public statement to clarify its official position on ROPAL so far as this year's election is concerned. This is because the personal views of various officers of the EC, with so many contradictions, are only causing confusion, anxiety and increasing the suspicions that the EC is not providing and promoting a free and fair playing field. And this can potentially destroy all the gains that Ghana has so far chalked in its Democratic dispensation since the beginning of the fourth republic.

Thank you.

Alhaji Alhassan Mbalba Chairman NDC-UK & Ireland Chapter (19 - 09 - 20)
Source: NDC-UK & Ireland Chapter
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