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New Voter's Registration Blues, Will Ghana Witness A Free And Fair Elections In 2020?

ElliotB.Bortey 1d

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For the past couple of months, the political atmosphere in Ghana, as rather been characterized by complaints, accusations, and counter-accusations from both incumbent and the opposition parties.

Whether the general elections will be free, fair, transparent, acceptable, and peaceful will depend on the level of credibility of the new register.

Experience over the years reflects that the compilation of a new voters' register is characterized by wranglings and the palpable breach of some electoral rules and regulations.

These include the presence of macho men and party vigilantes at registration centers; attempts to register minors; attempts to physically prevent eligible voters from being registered; conveying potential registrants from their normal place of residence to another place beyond and outside their constituency. Also, some people decide to do multiple registrations. My instincts tell me that, this time around, the registration centers will be more chaotic than usual.

This is because most qualified Ghanaians do not have the primary documents( the Ghana Card and passport ) for registration and therefore, those people must be vouched for by two people already registered. Vouching is like standing surety for an accused person in a court of law.

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One unfortunate observation over the years is that the violence perpetrated during registration is carried out mostly by the two major political parties, the New Patriotic Party(NPP) and the National Democratic Congress(NDC).

And these parties have been emboldened to continue the violence because some state institutions that should have dealt with the phenomenon at its incipient stage refused to do so, inaction that seem to disturb a section of Ghanaians.

The major institutions assigned to ensure the smooth running of elections without a cause for alarm includes the EC, the National Security, the Bureau of National Investigation( BNI), the Ghana Police Service, and the Judiciary.

The responsibility of the NCCE in the registration process is to inform and explain to the citizens the need to register.

The EC’s job is to deal with how the registration will be done.

In other words, explain to all citizens the processes involved. Unfortunately, during the registration, some EC staff( mostly the temporary staff hired for the purpose) openly display their biases instead of staying neutral.

The National Security, the BNI, and the Police are to provide security, arrest those violating the electoral laws and the rules and regulations, and prosecute the same.

Over the years, however, these security bodies have not been effective in carrying out their responsibilities. Their inability to perform is due to several reasons.

Chief among the reasons is the politicization of these bodies. These days, recruitment into these bodies is done on partisan lines. An excellent example is an incident that occurred during the parliamentary by-election in the Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency a little over a year ago. In other cases, those caught violating the laws are not prosecuted in competent courts of law.

The third issue is selective prosecution in which members of the party in power are left untouched while those belonging to the other parties are prosecuted. Next is the compromised position of the top hierarchy of the institutions through appointments.

In any democratic process, the role of the Judiciary is key to the stability, progress, and consolidation of the process. In Ghana, most of the “political cases “that needed to be discarded very quickly are unduly delayed. Yes, indeed, the wheel of justice grinds slowly but it is equally true that justice delayed is justice denied.

There was this popular political case in the mid-1990's which involved the challenge of the electoral result in Ayawaso West Wuogon. The original result declared the then NDC candidate, Madam Rebecca Adotey, as the winner. However, the NPP candidate then, Mr. George Armoo, challenged the result in court. Madam Adotey was sworn in as the MP and for four years the case was not determined. Mr. Armoo was ultimately declared the winner when the four-year tenure of that parliament had expired. In this case, Mr. Armoo was denied justice because he couldn’t represent his constituents though he won the case.

As l write, the NDC, the strongest opposition party has been in court challenging the Constitutional Instrument by the EC that excludes the current voters' card as a primary document for registration as a voter.

It is my opinion that the court should continue to act in the interest of the constitution and thus the interest of the ordinary Ghanaian.

Again, it is my opinion that to strengthen our democracy to the point of consolidation, these institutions must be effective to deter the political actors, especially the political parties, from their continuous political violence.

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Concluding, l wish to state that electoral violence has been on the increase with time, and if care is not taken it will blow up into a full civil war one day. The only solution is to make political violence an expensive and unattractive venture for the political parties through the effectiveness of the above-mentioned state institutions. Without that, the forward march of our democracy will continue to be uncertain.

Source: opera.com
The views expressed in this article are the writer's, they do not reflect the views of Opera News. Read more>>
Top Comments
wofaboasiako · 07/18/2020
for the first time only Ghanaians are going to vote to select their competent president and not otherwise.

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