The Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana has put on hold the impending District Level Elections in the Lower Manya Krobo Municipality of the Eastern Region.
The elections to elect Assembly and Unit Committee Members initially scheduled for Tuesday, the 17th of January, 2023 has been placed on indefinite hold pending the hearing of an application for injunction filed by two residents of the area.
Michael Tetteh, a resident of Agomanya and Angel Agyemang, a resident of Asitey are praying a Koforidua High Court to charge the Electoral Commission to enforce their fundamental human rights to vote at a public election pursuant to Article 33(1) granted under the 1992 constitution of Ghana.
The Applicants have also notified the Attorney-General of their application.
The two stated in an affidavit attached to their application that they had not turned 18 as at the year 2020 which was the last time the EC organized any registration exercise and hence are not registered voters.
They furthered that since turning 18, they have not been offered any opportunity to register in order to vote or be qualified to be elected as Assembly Members in the Lower Manya Krobo District Assembly, adding that the decision by the electoral body to proceed with its exercise without affording them the opportunity to register is “whimsical, capricious and defies logic.”
The applicants are therefore seeking among other reliefs, a declaration that the Respondent (EC) will contravene the Applicants’ right to vote if they proceed to conduct the elections without offering the Applicants the opportunity to register, a declaration that the respondent is bound to fix a date for the registration of the Applicants, having attained the age of 18, as voters in accordance with the 1992 constitution before conducting the elections, and an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondent, its agents, servants and officers from organizing the exercise until it has offered the Applicants order to register in order to vote.
Hearing for the application has been set for the 24th of January, 2023.
District Electoral Officer for Lower Manya Krobo, Mr. Jonathan Okine earlier disclosed that 127 candidates at the close of nominations had filed to contest the District Assembly Elections in 31 Electoral Areas while 244 had filed to contest the Unit Committee Elections.
Reactions of candidates
Meanwhile, some candidates who have filed to contest to serve as Assembly members in the next Assembly have shared divergent reactions to the deferment of the polls.
Assembly member aspirant for Odumase-North Electoral Area, Godwin Oblanda Totroku said he’s not enthused about the development.
Describing the decision as “a shock,” the candidate who stated that he was not ruling out seeking legal redress over the matter said he would advise himself accordingly. “If the EC allowed this to hold and their counsels couldn’t do anything about it then some of us would advise ourselves,” said the aspirant.
According to him, they have spent whopping sums of money on their respective campaigns and postponing the exercise would only add to their financial burdens.
Another aspirant, Mr. Kwao Michael, 37, a driver contesting at Nuaso Newtown Electoral Area agreed with the positions taken by the Applicants, arguing that the development was for their own good. He said, “the issues being raised by the applicants are right, per our laws, there ought to be a limited registration exercise prior to any election because some people had now turned 18 years, there also ought to be transfer of votes.”
Serving Assembly member for Korletsom Electoral Area, Mr. Michael Sheileshe Mensah also expressed disappointment over the postponement but said he would still go ahead with his campaign activities.
On the effect of the postponement on their expenses, he said, “Every election goes in with a budget and they’re telling you somebody has put injunction on you. It’s their constitutional right.”
The EC will announce a new date for the exercise in due course