Compiling New Voters’ Register Before Election 2020 is Mandatary – Danquah Institute

Report by Bernard k Dadzie

The Danquah Institute wants the Electoral Commission (EC) to compile a new voters register before conducting Election 2020.

Executive Director of the Institute, Richard Ahiagba, said getting a new register is mandatory because that is what the constitution states. “Election 2020 can never come off without a limited voters’ register or new one.

“Whether there is Covid-19 or not, whether we will vote or not, we need to open up the voters’ register for people without their names to get registered. And that is the law,” he said.

The Commission suspended the compilation of the new voters’ register over the coronavirus outbreak.

The exercise was scheduled to commence on April 18, through to the end of May but was called off due to the pandemic.

Nonetheless, Mr Ahiagba said government must devise ways to conduct the election despite the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.He said failing to do so would be a breach of the rights of citizens to exercise their franchise.

According him, the current voters register should have been jettisoned in 2016, but for some dubious motives , was not discarded is the unlawfully use of a birthday certificate and baptismal certificate as forms of qualification to register.

“Our concern is not so much the use of birthday and baptismal certificate as proof of qualification, but their unapproved addition as Forms to qualify to register to vote. These two documents were not approved by parliament in the C.172 as Forms of acceptable proof eligibility ”

He added that two documents are not captured in C.I72, so , why did EC included it unlawfully on the blind side of parliament and tasked its registration officials in its training manual to accept them as Forms of qualification to register?

Mr. Ahiagba, furthered that the most dubious and derisive of the reasons why the current register is not fit for purpose is the express instruction by the EC . To its registration officials that proof of eligibility is not mandatory.

This is captioned in the E.C’s training manual as follows, presenting proof of eligibility, however, is not mandatory even though it will help speed up the pro process. The EC emphasized not mandatory by bolding it in the training manual.

“These brazen unlawful conducts of EC under former president John Mahama, who appears to be the chief defendant and advocate for the EC , raises many questions. Let’s recall former president Mahama, was vocal asking Ghanaians to leave the EC alone”, he disclosed.

In supporting EC to compile a new voter register, the Danquah Institute urged the E.C to forthright and decisive of the voter register, in its approach and processes. “We find the EC’s public education and rationalization as a major reason why some Ghanaians are worried and sceptical about the compilation of a New voter’s register.”

They therefore urged the EC to engage and objectively assess the recommendations put forth by leading civic society organisation and members of the Ghana Anti-corruption coalition.

Mr. Ahiagba also said, the case of a new register is manifest on constitutional. The EC must be guided by supreme Courts interpretation that the mandate the mandate of EC to compile the register of voters implies a duty to compile reasonable accurate and credible register.