The threats coming after Ghana’s Electoral Commission’s declaration that it will clean the electoral register rather than procure a fresh one for Election 2016 are needless; the NPP and the Let My Vote Count Alliance (LMVCA) should be more democratic for the very democracy they are seeking to administer. Firstly those in favor of the cleaning of the voters register are far more than those seeking a fresh one, and also by the very core principle of democracy majority has carried the day even though they as minority have been given the chance to have their say.
Much as they seek to punch holes in the responses and decisions of the Electoral Commission, just a couple of the latter’s explanation need re-echoing for the benefit of all Ghanaians. Firstly the Supreme Court’s ruling that NHIS card should no longer be used for electoral registration went with the caveat that an already-registered voter cannot be disenfranchised without further proof of their citizenship. Now if it is insisted that fresh registration be done, what proof of citizenship would such people produce if they have neither a driver’s license nor a passport, since their voter’s card from 2012 would be invalid!
As for a birth certificate, it is common knowledge that its acquisition has been corrupted over the years such that non-Ghanaians have got it to secure Ghanaian passports which in turn makes the passport suspect as a genuine identification material! So maybe the most reliable proof will be the testimony of two witnesses! Well, can we all adopt this method to cut down on the high cost of the biometric registration/voting whose operations at times disappoint.
The bit about Togolese electoral authority not giving their electoral register to Ghana’s EC has to be understood in respect of the security the former is officially has to accord the bio data of the Togolese voter. When cleaning the register is the decision now, it would be in the interest of all Ghanaians if NPP or any other concerned person could help in the deletion of names that do not qualify to remain in the register for any reason at all.
As for the issue of foreigners in the register, it has been the common knowledge that cross-border residence is a common thing. It is double/dual citizenship at play with the commoners in society. The usual and civilized system would show a dual citizen document for this, but we all know the position of the illiterate with documents. It is joked but almost true that the border could even pass through the compound of a house, one part in say Togo and the other in Ghana. It is common for a youth to have one parent from one country while the other is from the other country or living in one country and attending school in the other. Since a dual citizen Ghanaian can vote both in Ghana and in their second country, these border residents case should not be taken this seriously while effort are made to clean those names like the dead etc if they do not deserve to be in there. Note that the complaint for a registration status has been operative all along.
Also, taking the cost and voter apathy into consideration, it would be better to consider the national coffers as well as the convenience of the average voter if a fresh voter is proposed by any entity. With my earlier article on my worry with the over-expenditure on elections at the expense of other processes of democratic governance, I dare advise that the NPP and the LMVCA should coolly accept the choice of the majority, which is cleaning the voter’s register and also accept the statutory independence of the Electoral Commission for a smooth fair and free Election 2016. Last but not least, let us not forget that an election is just the beginning of democracy; the bigger involvement is after it. We therefore need not destroy any life or property, or even create fear and panic in the country as is happening now, because of it.