Former President Jerry Rawlings has highlighted the importance of transparency and better dialogue from the Electoral Commission (EC) as Ghana heads towards a general election in December 2020.
In his address at the 41st anniversary of the June 4 uprising, Mr. Rawlings urged the Commission “to ensure that the processes leading to this year’s election are done in consultation with the stakeholders of the nation to prevent unnecessary suspicion and promote a peaceful and cohesive society.”
The EC is currently at the centre of controversy over its moves to compile a new voter register.
Because of a proposed change in the identification requirements for the register, the EC has been met with accusations from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) that the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) is conniving with the EC and the National Identification Authority (NIA) to rig the 2020 elections.
The NDC has also boycotted key meetings on the voter registration exercise and was absent from the recent Inter-Party Advisory Committee meeting on the compilation of a new voter register where it was announced that the voter registration would begin in June.
A pro-government think tank, the Danquah Institute also recently had cause to criticise the lack of clarity in the EC’s communication on the voter registration which it says was adding to the controversy.
But Mr. Rawlings cautioned that more dialogue was necessary to preserve the integrity of Ghana’s democracy.
“The debate surrounding the new voter register must be thoroughly examined so we do not undermine the successes we have chalked so far as a nation.”
He further stressed that the constitutional mandate of the EC must be respected by all.
“While we work towards perfecting our electoral process, I urge you all to pursue and sustain our uniqueness as a country in the democratization process.”
“As we inch towards November let us ensure that the institutional processes are transparent and beyond blemish.
In line with fears that some persons may be disenfranchised by the EC’s move toward making only passports and the Ghana Card valid IDs for registering to vote, Mr. Rawlings stated that “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.”