The Ghana Federation of Labour (GFL) has accused the Jean Mensa-led Electoral Commission (EC) of undermining Ghana’s democracy by setting out conditions they say will make it impossible for the vast majority of Ghanaians to register to vote in the general election in December.
In a press statement signed by its President, Caleb Nartey and General Secretary, Abraham Koomson, the GFL said making the Ghana Card or a Ghanaian passport the only identification documents that makes a person eligible to be registered as a voter is inappropriate.
“Whereas the ongoing National Identification Authority registration exercise is afflicted with numerous challenges making it impossible for the majority of the population to obtain the Ghana Card, and the possession of Ghana passports not being mandatory for citizens, we consider requirements of these documents as proof of citizenship as inappropriate”, the GFL said.
It also noted that the Electoral Commission (EC) had exacerbated the political tension in the country by announcing a time table for the compilation of new voters register in complete disregard of a pending suit at the Supreme Court on the registration exercise.
This action, it said, is an affront to the rule of law, undermines the country’s democracy and threatens the liberty of Ghanaians.
The GFL called on the EC to ensure all eligible voters are allowed to exercise their franchise without let or hindrance to avert a chaotic situation before, during and after the December elections.
Below are details of the Statement
GHANA FEDERATION OF LABOUR ON A NEW VOTERS REGISTER, THE DECEMBER 7, 2020 PRESIDENTIAL AND PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS AND IMMINENT CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS AND RESULTANT REPERCUSSIONS
At an emergency Ghana Federation of Labour (GFL) leadership virtual meeting held on Sunday 31st May 2020, the rising political tension in the country over the compilation of a new voters register for the December 7, 2020 General Elections was exhaustively discussed and the following observations were made:
That Electoral related laws are sensitive and the need for consensus building among all stakeholders in the drafting to ensure confidence in the Electoral process and the general acceptance of Electoral results.
That recent events organized by Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and the Coalition of Minority Political Parties, comments emanating from the Academia and actions by the National Security have deeply polarized the society ahead of the upcoming Elections.
That this development has been aggravated by the Electoral Commission’s (EC) announcement of a TIME TABLE for the compilation of a new voters register in complete disregard of a pending suit at the Supreme Court on the registration exercise an affront to the rule of law, undermines our democracy and threatens the liberty of Ghanaians.
That the COVID-19 PANDEMIC also poses challenges to the adherence to the structured timelines put out by the EC ostensibly in the bid to comply or meet legal deadlines preceding the December 7, 2020 elections.
We further observe that the right to vote as a citizen of this country provided under Article 42 of the 19192 Constitution is blatantly violated by the conditions set by the EC as eligibility criteria for registration as a VOTER.
Whereas the ongoing National Identification Authority registration exercise is afflicted with numerous challenges making it impossible for the majority of the population to obtain the CARDS, and the possession of Ghana PASSPORTs not being mandatory for citizens, we consider requirements of these documents as proof of citizenship as inappropriate.
Since the existing voter ID cards haven’t been largely discredited by any court of law, its validity can’t be discounted by any other authority.
Furthermore, the VOUCHING by others to ascertain citizenship of applicants is problematic since this process of identification could be contested or challenged in a Law Court.
As a Labour Organization, our worry is about the entrenched positions within the political divide and the EC, the beating of war drums emitting scary signals to the business and international community, a situation which has the potential of slowing down investments with its attendant negative impact on the Ghanaian Economy and the Labour Movement.
Under the circumstances, the GFL strongly appeals to the Ghanaian Parliament, the Council of State and the Eminent Committee appointed by the EC to prevail upon the Political Parties, the EC and the National Security to refrain from acts which could inflame tension and rather work together to ensure all eligible voters are allowed to exercise their franchise without let or hindrance to avert a chaotic situation before, during and after the December elections.