Policy think tank Imani Ghana has said the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana has succeeded in “setting Ghana’s democracy back” at least by a decade.
The Imani Boss’ comments follow the decision of the electioneering body to use only the Ghana Card and Passport as proof of one’s nationality in order to qualify for registration as an eligible voter in the upcoming general elections.
The EC has announced it will commencement of the voter registration exercise across the nation, effective Tuesday, 30 June 2020 despite some public disapproval.
The Parliament of Ghana has also approved Constitutional Instruments (CI) 126, Public Elections (Voter Registration) Amendment 2020 laid before it by the Electoral Commission of Ghana.
With that approval by Parliament, the eligible means of identification for the registration for the new voter roll will be a valid Ghanaian passport and the Ghana card.
However, according to the Polity Think Tank in its latest write up on ‘How to discredit an election’, the centre noted that: “The last-minute decision to prevent the use of the existing voter cards clearly bears out this analysis. Remember that the EC’s initial argument was that the register had to be changed due to the obsolete and faulty equipment to which it has been tethered” and when this outrageous lie was comprehensively debunked by IMANI proving conclusively that the EC’s equipment portfolio is in fact made up of mostly brand new equipment, the EC realised that they needed to abandon any pretence of sound defence and just ride the coattails of power.”
Imani further questioned “who has the political power in this country but the ruling party? What does the ruling party want? A new register. What doesn’t the ruling party care about?
“The nearly $150 million the EC would now get the chance to spend on needless equipment and mass enrolment. Allowing the existing cards to be used would have meant a mere reproduction of the current register, which of course is anathema to the ruling party. Hence, the EC’s quick backtracking and completely perverse and indefensible decision to prevent the use of birth certificates (as clear a prima facie proof of citizenship and voting age as there can be) and Voter ID cards (the only truly unimpeachable evidence of voting right/entitlement in this country).
The centre further indicated that: “By these strange and wholly unmeritorious actions, the current EC has succeeded in setting Ghana’s democracy back by at least a decade” emphasising that “let us make no mistake about this, any court that rules that birth certificates and/or voter ID cards can be rejected for voting identification purposes shall immediately lose considerable legitimacy, dragging the Judiciary into this quagmire of democratic ruin.”
It added that: “But should the courts restore the validity of those documents, after the EC has completed its worthless exercise of disenfranchising all current voters and re-registering them afresh for no sensible reason, the EC shall be forced to re-open registration, throwing the electoral calendar into an even worse mess than it currently is in.”