2020 polls: Don’t disenfranchise eligible voters – Rawlings cautions EC
Former President Jerry John Rawlings has joined calls for the Electoral Commission to ensure no eligible Ghanaian voter is prevented from registering in the upcoming exercise.
“The sanctity of the right of choice is not a matter we can compromise with. That sanctity must be preserved at all cost and as we inch towards November, let us ensure that the institutional processes are transparent and beyond blemish.
“Freedom and justice is not abstract. It is very much related to the sanctity of the right of choice. Those who are eligible to exercise that right of choice should not and cannot be disenfranchised by dictates that defeat one’s right to vote.
“The sanctity of justice should be preserved and protected with all of us being subject to the practice of what is just. An unjust society deepens the inequities that exist,” the founder of the opposition NDC said at a virtual commemoration of the June 4th revolution.
The EC shall, at the end of June 2020, commence the compilation of a new voters’ register for this year’s general elections.
The election management body said the exercise was necessary since the existing voter roll was outdated and equipment used in the previous election obsolete.
Persons registering for the new voter card are required to produce a Ghana card or a Ghanaian passport. In the absence of that, two guarantors can vouch for the nationality of the applicant.
But these requirements have been challenged by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Despite the numerous and stiff opposition which greeted the EC’s decision to compile a new voters’ register, the commission said it would still go ahead with its plans of organizing a new electoral roll.
Speaking at the June 4 commemoration, the former president called for a broader stakeholder consultation to address the seeming tension between opposition political parties and the EC.
“We must endeavor as a nation to deepen the spirit of the consultative process, equity, respect for the rule of law or in simple terms, the tenet of democracy, and multiparty democracy.
“The Electoral Commission which is the fulcrum of our multiparty democracy must be supported and protected by all stakeholders; to ensure a free and fair election and a peaceful society,” Mr. Rawlings said.
“That notwithstanding, it is equally important for that revered institution, EC, to ensure that the processes leading to this year’s elections are done in consultation with the stakeholders of the nation; to prevent unnecessary suspicion, and promote a peaceful and cohesive society,” he said.
The 41st anniversary of the June 4 uprising was held at the Office of the former President on Thursday.
It was under the theme, “Strengthening the Spirit of Patriotism, Resilience, and Integrity in Difficult Times”.
Former President Rawlings and leader of the uprising delivered the keynote address for the event which was organized virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions on mass gathering.