The Ghana Federation of Labour has called for consensus building among all stakeholders to ensure confidence in the electoral process and the general acceptance of electoral results.
It has consequently expressed concern about the entrenched positions within the political divide and the Electoral Commission (EC), saying recent events by civil society organisations and the coalition of minority political parties and other activists had deeply polarised the society ahead of the upcoming elections.
It said the beating of war drums emitting scary signals to the business and international community had the potential of slowing down investments with its attendant negative impact on the Ghanaian economy and the labour movement.
This was contained in a statement jointly signed by its General Secretary, Mr Abraham Koomson, and President, Mr Caleb Nartey, after a virtual meeting of the leadership of the federation held last Sunday.
The meeting, it said, exhaustively discussed the rising political tension in the country over the compilation of a new voters’ register for the December 7, 2020 general election.
It appealed to Parliament, the Council of State and the Eminent Committee appointed by the EC to prevail upon the political parties, the EC and the National Security to refrain from acts which could inflame tension.
It said all the stakeholders should rather work together to ensure all eligible voters were allowed to exercise their franchise without let or hindrance to avert a chaotic situation before, during and after the December election.
It said the tension had been aggravated by the EC’s announcement of a timetable for the compilation of a new voters register in complete disregard of a pending suit at the Supreme Court on the registration exercise.
That, it said, was an affront to the rule of law, undermined Ghana’s democracy and threatened the liberty of Ghanaians.
The statement said the COVID-19 pandemic also posed challenges to the adherence to the structured timelines put out by the EC ostensibly in the bid to comply or meet legal deadlines preceding the December 7, 2020 election.
“We further observe that the right to vote as a citizen of this country provided under Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution is blatantly violated by the conditions set by the EC as eligibility criteria for registration as a voter,” it said.
It said whereas the ongoing National Identification Authority (NIA) registration exercise was afflicted with numerous challenges making it impossible for the majority of the population to obtain the cards, “and the possession of Ghana passports not being mandatory for citizens, we consider requirements of these documents as proof of citizenship as inappropriate”.
The statement said since the existing voter ID cards had not been largely discredited by any court of law, its validity could not be discounted by any other authority.
“Furthermore, the vouching by others to ascertain citizenship of applicants is problematic since this process of identification could be contested or challenged in a law court,” it said.