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19.06.2020 Politics

Group Petitions Torgbui Afede Over EC's Cantankerous Posture On New Voter's Register

By The Press TV
Group Petitions Torgbui Afede Over EC's Cantankerous Posture On New Voter's Register
LISTEN JUN 19, 2020

Political Pressure group, ADAM-GH successfully submitted a petition to the President of National House of Chief office in Kumasi Manhyia palace today Thursday 18th June 2020.

The President of the National House of Chiefs, Torgbui Afede received the petition from Executive secretary of ADAM-GH Mr. Azubila Salam Emmanuel on behalf of the house in the presence of various traditional leaders present.

Torgbui Afede thanked ADAM-GH for the effort of protecting Ghana’s Democracy. He said the National House of Chiefs Committee in charge of Democracy elections-related issues and governance will go through the petition and take the necessary actions.

Below Is The Full Petition:

PETITION AGAINST THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION’S BELLIGERENT POSTURE ON THE COMPILATION OF A NEW VOTER REGISTER.

Anchoring Democracy Advocacy Movement Ghana ADAM GH is a civil society organization that anchors proper Democratic principles, protect Ghana’s Democracy,

The rule of law, fight corruption and to ensure peace and security of our country.

You’re Highness, ADAM GHwrite to appeal to you for intervention in the impasse between the electoral commission and some political parties including some civil society organizations, of which we associate ourselves with.

The Electoral commissioners unprofessional attitude and disrespect to major stakeholders of the commission, particularly the commissioner dishonesty in the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election testimony when she appeared at the Emil Short commission and other open bias comments of the electoral commissioners are thus exposing this country’s democracy to danger.

Ghanaians mistrust on Madam Jean Mensah and her top officials due to the strange circumstances surrounding their appointment has been vindicated due to the actions of the commissioners which to ADAM GH, it is a national concern as we are approaching December 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections.

Your Highness, ADAM GHreally appreciate the major role played by your high office and your traditional leaders in deepening Ghana's Democracy, ensuring peace and security, unity amongst the people of Ghana, through political, social and cultural advancement.

Ghanaians are so grateful to your dedicated service to our country however; we still look up to you to use your high office to protect our cherished Democracy for the people of Ghana especially our future generation. Currently, the issues are in two folds

One has to do with the Electoral Commission rejecting a credible biometric voter’s register to compile another new biometric voter’s register for the upcoming 2020 general elections meanwhile, biometric data does not expire. The over GHC 390 million to be spent on the needless biometric register coupled with the drastic increase in 12,590 COVID 19 pandemic confirmed cases with 66 deaths so far is a worrying situation as a country.

The other has to do with the base document(s) of proof of citizenship in the registration exercise. ADAM GH is of the opinion that; the compilation of the new voter register in this scary COVID-19 pandemic should be rejected without any consideration of any sort because our various traditional areas are largely going to be affected through the spread of the virus.

Again, the idea of using only national identification authority cards and Ghana passport without considering other documents such as existing biometric voter identification cards and birth certificates can be a fertile ground to disenfranchise many eligible registrants or voters and could result in the curtailment of their constitutional right to vote which can then lead to political violence.

You’re Highness, the use of Ghana card and traveling passport as a requirement for the registration of the supposed new voters register is going to disenfranchise many Ghanaians.

Your Highness, we humbly submit our reasons why we think these exercises must be halted and are catalogued in “A” and “B” as follows:

A: COMPILATION OF A NEW VOTER REGISTER

THE COMMISSION’S EARLIER STANCE: - The Commission had earlier made us understand that the current voter register is CREDIBLE before and after 2018 Referendum that gave birth to the six newly created Regions and 2019 District level elections.

The Commission reported that out of 5,431,902 total votes cast, out of that, 5,397,059 representing 99.4% of all votes cast in the District level elections were biometrically verified. 34,843 representing 0.6% voted manually without verification due to low battery at some areas and other factors.

This, however, indicates that the BVDs performed excellently with just 0.6% deviation. This fact is clearly indicated in their election results report. We believe that if the EC has these super functioning devices that performed such magic in December, 2019, nothing could have occasioned the outright rejection of such a robust device in a space of only one month after the elections in December.

Therefore, we are of the opinion that, if logic is anything to go by, there is no way anybody should consider a wholesale compilation rather than mopping up the excess population because no new system can give 100% delivery without minor Technical Challenges with the excesses of the recent piloting exercises in Takoradi and other places as typical examples.

TIME CONSTRAINT:- The Commission’s own roadmap or calendar to finish the compilation of a complete voter register by 7th November, 2020 if it started on 12th April, 2020.

Unfortunately, with the advent of Covid-19 the exercise is already lagging two months and still counting. Logically, a yet to compile register that is needed for elections in December 2020 cannot be produced without huge technical challenges and controversies, more so when the Commission intends to undertake this enormous exercise using the cluster approach rather than dealing with each polling station uniquely. It is also worth noting that, the just ended piloting of the intended new voter registration was fraught with technological challenges nationwide.

Your Highness please, imagine if what happened in Takoradi where the machines could not work a whole day replicate in any Region, Constituencies or Polling stations or centers, how devastating or chaotic that could be even as the number of registration days are not sufficient for such an exercise in this covid 19 pandemic era.

THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC SPREAD:- The whole world is battling with a novel corona virus pandemic which has no cure or vaccine.

It is this pandemic that has been able to redirect every planned activity world over, including but not limited to popular activities such as Christians Easter Celebration, Muslim Pilgrimage journey to the holy land of Mecca, sporting activities like Olympic games, UEFA Championship, Champions League, other major leagues, WAEC suspending its long standing examination time table in history and closure of schools at all levels.

The main reason behind all these moves is to observe physical distancing in order to avoid crowding which is the conduit for the spread of the disease that can lead to fatalities as evidenced in USA, Italy, Brazil and many other hardest hit countries in the world.

ADAM GHbelieve that, knowing and having observed registration exercises in the country over the years, any attempt to try to register a projected 18 million prospective voters in this pandemic period where Ghana’s corona virus count is on ascendancy and currently stands at 12,590 with 66 Deaths as at 17/06/20 will spell doom for this country. Hence, under this new normal, the exercise should not be allowed to endanger the lives of our citizens.

B: PROOF OF CITIZENSHIP TO REGISTER

CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT OF CITIZENS: Your Highness, we know that the right to vote is enshrined in the 1992 Constitution. Article 42 of the Constitution of Ghana says that: “Every citizen of Ghana of eighteen years of age or above and of sound mind has the right to vote and is entitled to be registered as a voter for the purposes of public elections and referenda.”

Therefore, only the following four conditions are required by the constitution for a person to vote in an election or referendum:

(i) Proof of citizenship

(ii) Proof that you are 18 years or older

(iii) Proof of sound mind

(iv) Your name appears in the voters’ register. Upon these demands, The Commission has laid a Constitutional Instrument, CI 126 which seeks to define who a Ghanaian citizen is during the upcoming voter registration.

According to the CI, the definition of a Ghanaian is rewritten to mean only those who hold

(a) Ghanaian Passport and

(b) National Identification Card, called Ghana Card.

ADAM GH worry on these two documents is that, there are not too many Ghanaians who have the passport. Our checks from the passport office indicate that holders of valid passports are a little over 2 million. However, granted the 2 million are all adults, how many reside in Ghana should be another concern to worry.

We are also aware that there are numerous occasions where it has been reported in the news about foreigners arrested using Ghanaian passports. Ironically, a Passport is a by-product of Birth Certificate, so if a passport can authenticate a Ghanaian citizenship what happens to the source document of the passport?

Again, using the inconclusive Ghana Card as a basis for voter registration in its current state is an attempt to disenfranchise a huge voter population for no fault of theirs. The registration of this Ghana Card has not been conclusive as we speak.

There is not a single district in this country that has an office for National Identification Authority (NIA) for a walk in when one needs their assistance. We are also aware that the NIA registration has not covered a half of the projected population as at today.

Even in Eastern Region the exercise had to halt as a result of covid-19 spread. We have just been informed that the registration officers of NIA are preparing to move to various stations to continue registration in the Eastern Region and a mop up in the other Regions across the country. Our question is, why the rush?

We are also convinced that apart from a birth certificate which is supposed to have been acquired at birth, the 2012 biometric voter ID card is the most transparently acquired ID card that went through vigorous checks leading to, in some cases ending in courts to prove one's citizenship.

This is a document prepared by Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC) which was used for 2012 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, 2016 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, 2018 Referendum to have 6 New Regions and just ended December 2019 District Level Elections.

Prior to all these elections, except the 2012, The Commission had continued to upgrade the register through limited registration to add on those who were below the constitutional requirement age of 18 years at the time of the previous registration. What has therefore gone wrong with the existing voter ID card that cannot be used as a basis of re-registering?

Finally, Your Highness, it is upon these reflections that, as citizens and a Responsible Civil Society Organization (ADAM-GH), we deem it a civic responsibility to use all legitimate channels such as your office and your huge personality to advice The Commission, especially, The Chairperson Madam Jean Mensah and her Deputies to keep Ghana peaceful and protect Ghanaians from anticipated overwhelming catastrophe of the lingering pandemic called coronavirus spread if the exercise is allowed to take place in the current form.

We are grateful for the opportunity granted us.

May you live long.

Thank you.

__________

AZUBILA SALAM EMMANUEL

EXECUTIVE SECRETARY.

Approved by:

JOHN KWAME ADU JACK

DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH AND MEDIA RELATIONS.

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