The Inter-Party Resistance Against New Voters Register has petitioned the North East Regional House of chiefs over the Electoral Commission’s move to compile a new electoral roll with the Ghana Card and Passports as the only valid identification.
“We know the EC is acting in concert with the National Identification Authority to undermine the identity of the masses of our people,” North East Region natives of the group said in a statement.
They feel 255,570 natives of the North East Region who have not been issued with the Ghana Cards will be disenfranchised by the process.
In their view, it is “a tacit attempt to subvert the Constitution of Ghana, suppress the people’s will and impose a government over us.”
“The exclusion of the Ghanaian birth certificate and the existing voter Identity Card which have hitherto always been part of the breeder documents is of grave concern to us since these two documents are popular to our people and have always been used by our people for all lawful transactions.”
They want the chiefs to stop the EC from “proceeding with the ploy to disenfranchise the 255,570 natives of the North East Region who have not been issued with the NIA cards and have been asked to go through the painful process of using Guarantors.”
The group even feels that “the painful process of using guarantors is a well-planned attempt to disenfranchise our kinsmen.”
Action against EC
This past week also saw two civil society groups; the Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) and IMANI Africa petition the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II to call on the EC to rescind its decision to compile a new electoral roll for the 2020 general elections.
The Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, also unsuccessfully moved for the rejection of the EC’s move to change forms of identification in Parliament.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) is currently battling the EC over the attempts to compile a new register.
The NDC has also accused the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) of conniving with the EC and the NIA to rig the 2020 elections.
The Supreme Court has directed the Electoral Commission to explain why the old voter ID card has been removed from the list of identification particulars for the yet to be compiled new voters register.
The EC has presented the Public Election (Amendment) regulation, 2020 (C.I. 126) to Parliament to amend C.I 91 in order to change the current identification requirements which were passed in 2016.
Find below the full petition
PETITION BY THE INTER PARTY RESISTANCE AGAINST NEW VOTER REGISTER TO THE NORTH EAST REGIONAL HOUSE OF CHIEFS ON THE BELLIGERENT STANCE OF THE EC IN COLLABORATION WITH THE NIA TO DISENFRANCHISE CITIZENS IN THE NORTH EAST REGION
Date: Thursday 5th June, 2020
The Inter-Party Resistance Against New Voters Register (IPRAN) is made up of citizens from various political parties in the country whose beliefs are that the compilation of new voters register by the Electoral Commission of Ghana at this time that our country and the world over is battling coronavirus which has ravaged our beloved country Ghana is a bad decision. But as intransigent as the Jean Mensah led EC has proven to be, still insist and chose to risk precious lives in this process, just to appease it’s appointing authority.
We the undersigned natives of the North East Region, acting for and on behalf of the Inter-Party Resistance Against the New Voters Register (IPRAN), NER Chapter, wish to petition your High Office through this medium against the tacit agenda of Ghana’s Electoral Commission to disenfranchise our kinsmen. We know the EC is acting in concert with the National Identification Authority to undermine the identity of the masses of our people, first as citizens of the Republic of Ghana, and also the overt moves by same entities to deny the masses of their inalienable constitutional right to exercise their franchise in the upcoming December, 2020 General Elections as guaranteed by the 1992 Constitution.
Your Majesty, while we are not oblivious of the fact that, articles 43, 44, 45 and 46 of the 1992 constitution of the Republic of Ghana establishes the electoral commission, guarantees its powers and insulates it from external influence and manipulations, we are also conscious of the fact that, same constitution under articles 6, 7, 8 and 9 as well as the citizenship act 591 (2000) defines who lawfully qualifies as a citizen of the Republic of Ghana.
Your Majesty, the question as to who qualifies lawfully to register and participate in public elections and national referenda in Ghana, does not fall into residue as article 42 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana sufficiently addresses that. We need not belabor the point in adding that, the electoral commission of Ghana does not wield that power to de-nationalise any citizen.
In our humble opinion, is that, the attempt by the electoral commission to amend portions of CI 91 to limit the breeder documents for the compilation of the widely resisted new register ahead of the December, 2020 General Elections, to only the national passport and the Ghana Card is only but a tacit attempt to subvert the Constitution of Ghana, suppress the people’s will and impose a government over us. The exclusion of the Ghanaian birth certificate and the existing voter Identity Card which have hitherto always been part of the breeder documents is of grave concern to us since these two documents are popular to our people and have always been used by our people for all lawful transactions.
It is Common knowledge that, the National Identification Authority last year in September/ October conducted one of the most abysmal registration exercise in the North East Region. The exercise which lasted from September, 9th to September 30th saw the masses of our people queuing up to register without success. This was occasioned by the limited number of registration machines brought to the Region and more so, the inefficiency of those machines.
In the North East Region, an estimated population of 18 years plus is 397,351 but the NIA could issue only a paltry 123,781 denying 255,570 and this amounts to 67.37% of people not being issued with NIA cards. Your Royal Highness this should attract your attention for action.
In view of the above and taking cognizance of the fact that, holding a national passport in our part of the country is limited to a negligible proportion of our population who may be privileged to have had the opportunity of travelling outside the country, it stands to reason that, compiling a new voters register by the dictates of the proposed amendment to CI 91 will not only disenfranchise the majority of our population, but will constitute an affront to our claim of citizenship.
Your Majesty, we have no scintilla of doubt that, not only will proceeding with the voter’s registration with this skewed definition of citizenship come with ripple repercussions, but it will constitute a significant barrier to the masses of the natives of the North East Region who will be inhibited from exercising their political right as guaranteed by the constitution.
More so, it is without doubt that, allowing the Electoral Commission to proceed to amend CI 91 will constitute an abrasion of article 3 clause 2 of the 1992 constitution which states that “Any activity of a person or group of persons which suppresses or seeks to suppress the lawful political activity of any other person or any class of persons, or persons generally is unlawful.”
Your Majesty, it is appropriate to avert our minds to the fact that, the figures on the voter’s role from any particular geographical area do not serve only the purpose of elections, but such figures contribute significantly to in determining the distribution of the largesse of the state as well as for purposes of creating new Constituencies, Districts, Municipalities and Regions. It is our concern that should the Electoral Commission be allowed to proceed with this unpopular registration, our Region will technically be disadvantaged in all these perspectives. Our fears are further accentuated by reports we gather from some of our kinsmen in Southern Ghana that, some of our people were physically restrained from registering down south because of their northern decent.
Your Majesty, it beats our imagination how the Electoral Commission appears zealous to compile a new voter’s register notwithstanding the ravaging effects of Covid -19. It is an undisputed fact that, the health care delivery system in the North East Region is one of the most vulnerable in the country. Its vulnerability is underpinned by the fact that, we have very limited health professionals who accept postings here. More so, the infrastructural base of our health care system is relatively poor and requires urgent attention. Our fear is the disaster that might befall
us should we yield to the Electoral Commission’s unjustifiable reasons for compiling a new voter’s register. Covid-19 is a respecter of no man. We are reliably informed that, the best way to contain it is by strictly adhering to the safety protocols by the World Health Organization and the Ghana Health Service. We are therefore left in a state of melancholy as to why the EC appears to have thrown every caution to the dogs in their pursuit of a parochial interest as against the general good and safety of our people.
In view of the reasons stated herein and pursuant to article 3 clause 4a of the 1992 Constitution which states that,
- All citizens of Ghana shall have the right and duty at all times
- To defend this constitution and in particular to resist any person or group of persons seeking to commit any of the acts referred to in clause (3) of this article
We shall lawfully resist any covert or overt scheme to denationalize or disenfranchise our people.
We humbly petition you to use your High Office to intercede for the good people of the North East Region through the relevant offices so that, the EC is stopped from proceeding with the ploy to disenfranchise the 255,570 natives of the North East Region who have not been issued with the NIA cards and have been asked to go through the painful process of using Guarantors.
The painful process of using Guarantors is a well-planned attempt to disenfranchise our kinsmen.
We count on your fatherliness to act expeditiously on these germane issues of public concern.