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Memo to the Electoral Commission

Thu, 21 Jan 2021 Source: Kwaku Azar

We refer to your press release of 6th December 2020 directing voters in the Guan district (hereafter, SALL) not to take part in the Parliamentary Elections in the Buem Constituency.

As you are undoubtedly aware, the effect, if not the purpose, of this directive is that SALL voters did not take part in the parliamentary elections and are therefore not represented in the 8th Parliament.

SALL citizens, notwithstanding the heightened risk of COVID-19, took part in the 2020 Voters’ registration exercise. As registered voters, they had a fundamental right to vote in the 8th Parliamentary elections and to be represented in the 8th Parliament.

Your aforementioned directive, therefore, violated their right to vote for an MP and their right to participate equally in the political space, both of which are fundamental, inalienable, guaranteed and entrenched by the Constitution.

Further, as you are aware, your mandate under Article 47 requires that you divide the country into as many constituencies as you prescribe and for each constituency to be represented by an MP. Therefore, your directive, which left SALL in a no man’s land and without an MP, is ultra vires your mandate.

This is quite apart from the directive doing violence to your duty to follow due process and to respect SALL voters’ right to administrative justice.

Your directive gave the impression that you were on the verge of creating a Guan Constituency for SALL voters for the 8th Parliament. Many well-meaning GOGO citizens also appealed to you to take the necessary steps to organize a special election before the inauguration of the 8th Parliament.

Yet, almost 47 days after your directive and 14 days after the inauguration of the 8th Parliament, you are yet to initiate or announce any serious steps to atone for the grave harm that your directive has inflicted on SALL. In fact, you are yet to even acknowledge that there is a SALL problem.

We consider this inaction entirely unacceptable and evidence that you have failed to grasp the magnitude of the constitutional problem that you have created.

The matters referred to above not only go to the core of representative government but also implicate the joint principles of Universal Adult Suffrage and Popular Sovereignty.

In line with GOGO, we call on you to provide immediate feedback on your plans to atone for these sins. At a minimum, we want absolute assurance that #SALL will be seated in Parliament no latter than February 28, 2021.

Please, accept the assurances of our highest esteem and regards.

Da Yie!

Columnist: Kwaku Azar
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