The Africa Centre for Peace Building (Peace Centre) has said the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana will only be treading on a path of “mass slaughtering” of Ghanaians “using COVID-19 and a potential violent conflict as the tool” if it does not put in place the necessary measures for its forthcoming voter registration process.This follows the announcement by the EC of the commencement of the voter registration exercise across the nation, effective Tuesday, 30 June 2020 despite some public disapproval.
The Parliament of Ghana has also approved Constitutional Instruments (CI) 126, Public Elections (Voter Registration) Amendment 2020 laid before it by the Electoral Commission of Ghana.
With that approval by Parliament, the eligible means of identification for the registration for the new voter roll will be a valid Ghanaian passport and the Ghana card.
However, the Centre, in a statement on Wednesday, 10 June 2020 signed by its Executive Director Korsi Senyo said the exclusion of the old voter ID from the registration requirements “sounds more or less like undermining the credibility and validity of our previous elections (2012, 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections; referendum on creation of six new regions; district assembly elections and by-elections) and the products of these elections”.
According to the Centre, the implementation of C.I. 126 could threaten the peace and security of Ghana, explaining: “There are close to half of the eligible voters in Ghana who have no Ghanaian passport and, or Ghana card. It is very possible also that there are many communities in Ghana whose citizens have never heard or even know what is called a Ghanaian passport left alone acquiring one.”
“This means that these huge numbers of potential voters must rely on their guarantors to help them register” while observing COVID-19 preventive protocols, which, among other things, require that registration centres must be less congested.
“This, potentially, could make the registration process for one individual take a much longer time than in the days of registration without COVID-19”.
“Let’s remember the normal time duration for each voter is between 25 to 30 minutes without COVID-19. But with these large numbers depending on their guarantors, it means if there are, for example, 10 people to register with their guarantors, a total of 30 people would have to line at the Centre instead of 10 people”.
“One can imagine if there are 1,000 people who will go through the registration in this circumstance.”