Stubborn Jean Mensa on “mass slaughter” path with insistence on new register – Peace Centre

 Stubborn Jean Mensa on “mass slaughter” path with insistence on new register – Peace Centre

The stubborn Jean Mensa led Electoral Commission of Ghana is on the path of “mass slaughter” with its insistence on the compilation of the wasteful new voters’ register. This is according to the Africa Centre for Peace Building (Peace Centre).

In a statement signed by its Executive Director, Korsi Senyo the “insisting on compiling a new register which many political parties, civil society organizations, some over 100 university lectures, the National House of Chiefs, the Clergy, Federation of Labour have all cautioned against, the Electoral Commission will only be heading to a path of “mass slaughtering” using COVID-19 and potentially violent conflict as the tool.”

Mr. Korsi Senyo has also revealed that with the passage of the C.I 126, there are currently no voters in Ghana that will vouch for anybody who does not have either the Ghanaian passports and NIA card. This he said could create unnecessary legal issues, disenfranchise a huge number of eligible voters resulting into a potential violent conflict.

“Taking into consideration the provision in the C.I 126 on who can guarantee for anyone who has no Ghana card or Ghanaian passport, that guarantor is required to be a Valid Registered Voter. We will, therefore, have a serious legal issue when anyone who may just be got registered on the new register on June 30, 2020 to guarantee for another person the following day as that register which may be produced on June 30, 2020 will be just a provisional register and not a final register. We need to remember that anyone’s validity on the register can be challenged unless a final and certified register is produced.” – he said

Mr. Senyo has taken on the National Peace Council and the Eminent Advisory Committee over what he described as their continuous silence on growing tension over the new register adding that the Peace Council only finds its voice to defend the Electoral Commission.

“We are, however, in the midst of this tension and lack of consensus that has greeted the compilation of the new register and attempts by the EC to disenfranchise huge number eligible Ghanaians there is seemingly endorsement of the National Peace Council led by Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante on EC’s path. We have also observed the Peace Council only finds its voice to defend the EC and not to serve as a mediating body between agitating parties and the EC.

We are also concerned about the growing silence by the Eminent Advisory Committee on these developments and wish to call on members of the Committee not to only seek the interest of the Electoral Commission as a body, but consider what would safeguard the Peace, Security and the democracy of this nation and advise the EC on same.” – the statement said

Read the full statement:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

From: Africa Centre for Peace Building

To: All Media Houses

Date: June 10, 2020

GHANA’S ELECTORAL COMMISSION ON A PATH OF “MASS SLAUGHTER” WITH ITS INSISTENCE ON COMPILATION OF NEW VOTERS REGISTER WITH C.I 126.

The Africa Centre for Peace Building (Peace Centre) has taken note of the insistence of the Electoral Commission of Ghana to compile a new voters’ biometric register despite huge public disapproval and cautions on how the exercises could threaten the peace, security and democratic gains of Ghana.

We have also taken note of news reports that the Parliament of Ghana has approved the Constitutional Instruments (CI) 126, Public Elections (Voter Registration) Amendment 2020 laid before it by the Electoral Commission of Ghana. With this passage, the main eligible means of identification for registration onto the proposed new biometric register are Valid Ghanaian Passport and National Identification Cards, their absence of which two guarantors shall certify that the registrants are indeed Ghanaian. Though we acknowledge the fact that this matter is before the Supreme Court of Ghana, we are of the strongest view that this C.I 126, if not reconsidered, will lead to the disfranchising of a huge number of Ghanaian voters which could plunge this country into possible violence conflicts, during the registration exercise, before and after December 2020 polls.

Also rejecting the old Voter ID from being part of the ID cards requirements eligible for the registering on the new register sounds more or less like undermining the credibility and validity of our previous elections (2012, 2016 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections; Referendum on New creation of six new regions; district assembly elections and by-elections) and the products of these elections.

Why the implementation of the C.I 126 Could threaten Peace and security of Ghana:

1. The Electoral Commission if not yet aware must be told that there are close to half of the eligible voters in Ghana who have no Ghanaian passport and or Ghana Cards.

2. It is very possible also that there are many communities in Ghana whose citizens have never heard or even know what is call Ghanaian passport left alone acquiring one.

This means that these huge numbers of potential voters must rely on their grantors to help them register on the face of observing COVID-19 preventive protocols which will require that registration centers must be less congested, hand washing and temperature checking processes must be added to the normal registration processes. This potentially could make the registration process for one individual take a much longer time than in the days of registration without COVID-19. Let’s remember the normal time duration for each voter is between 25 to 30 minutes – thus without COVID-19. But with these large numbers depending on their grantors means if they are example 10 people will register with their guarantor means we should be having 30 people lining up at the Centre instead of 10 people. One can imagine if there are 1,000 people who will registration in this circumstance.

What these will imply is that there could be a huge number of people left unregistered within the stipulated 10days exercise hence resulting in confusion and chaos as these people might not agree to be disenfranchised and might result in violent clashes.

3. No Valid Voter in Ghana now to guarantee for any person

Taking into consideration the provision in the C.I 126 on who can guarantee for anyone who has no Ghana card or Ghanaian passport, that guarantor is required to be a Valid Registered Voter. We will, therefore, have a serious legal issue when anyone who may just be got registered on the new register on June 30, 2020 to guarantee for another person the following day as that register which may be produced on June 30, 2020 will be just a provisional register and not a final register. We need to remember that anyone’s validity on the register can be challenged unless a final and certified register is produced.

4. COVID-19 case might multiply after the exercise

Considering the number of people that might be trooping the registration centres for the exercise, there is a high possibility that our deadly coronavirus cases could multiply hence putting a burden on our health system, drain our little resources and cause more deaths.

What the Electoral Commission should consider doing rather than the new register:

1. Considering the fact that we have just 6months to the general elections, the COVID-19 pandemic and a huge public disapproval approval on the compilation of the new voters’ register, the Electoral Commission should be focusing on conducting a limited voters registration exercise which will require fewer people trooping into the registration centres to participate in the exercise and more also cost-effective. The limited voters’ registration exercise could be managed more effectively in the wake of this COVID-19 than a completely new registration for all little of 17 million voters.

With this limited registration, the Electoral Commission can demarcate the country into four-zone (Eastern, Western, Southern and Northern) where the limited registration exercise can be implemented in each zone at a time. This will afford the EC to create as many registration centres as possible with all national efforts and logistics channeled to the active zone at a time hence helping the EC to have enough space to observe the COVID-19 preventive protocols.

2. Voting in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Like our zonal proposal for the limited registration exercise, the EC can adopt the same four zones where the elections can be conducted within four days.

For example, on day one, if the elections will start from the Eastern Zone, the EC will pull resources (equipment and personnel) for two (2) zones at the first zone (Eastern). On the day of the voting at the Eastern zone, the second zone (Southern) must be ready for day two (2) but without voting on that day.

One the second day of the voting, the equipment and the persons used in the Eastern zone are then channeled to set up the third zone (Western). And on the third day of the voting, the second-day voting equipment, and personnel are moved to the fourth zone (Northern).

The process will also afford the EC enough space to implement COVID-19 preventive protocols.

Conclusion

Without having these measures but insisting on compiling a new register which many political parties, civil society organizations, some over 100 university lectures, the National House of Chiefs, the Clergy, Federation of Labour have all cautioned against, the Electoral Commission will only be heading to a path of “mass slaughtering” using COVID-19 and a potential violent conflict as the tool.

We are, however, in the midst of this tension and lack of consensus that has greeted the compilation of the new register and attempts by the EC to disenfranchise huge number eligible Ghanaians there is seemingly endorsement of the National Peace Council led by Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante on EC’s path. We have also observed the Peace Council only finds its voice to defend the EC and not to serve as a mediating body between agitating parties and the EC.

We are also concerned about the growing silence by the Eminent Advisory Committee on these developments and wish to call on members of the Committee not to only seek the interest of the Electoral Commission as a body, but consider what would safeguard the Peace, Security and the democracy of this nation and advise the EC on same.

We will like to remind the Electoral Commission that in exercising its independence as granted them by the 1992 Constitution of Ghana must act in the sole interest of the nation while having in mind to supervising Free, Fair, Credible, and Violence Free Election.

We will like to call on the international community, ECOWAS, Africa Union, World Health Organization, and the United Nations to us a matter of urgency call the Government of Ghana to order.

– END –

Signed:

Korsi Senyo

Executive Director, Africa Centre for Peace Building

Email: senyo@afcopb.org

Web: www.afcopb.org

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