The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has said that it is sad for the Electoral Commission (EC) to suspend its planned limited registration exercise, describing the move as avoidable.
According to the General Secretary of the party, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, the issues leading to the suit against the EC could have been long resolved at the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) level if the EC had "listened" to the concerns the party had raised in connection with the exercise.
He said the EC’s decision to conduct the exercise only at its district offices regardless of the accessibility concerns raised by the NDC and other people demonstrated the extent to which the electoral management body was adamant to the concerns of its stakeholders.
He made the remarks in an interview with the Daily Graphic on the sidelines of a durbar to mark the 40th anniversary of the June 4 Uprising at Nungua in the Greater Accra Region on Tuesday, June 4.
“These are avoidable problems. With a different set up of EC, these are things that could have been sorted out at IPAC very easily without anybody resorting to court action.
“The attitude of the EC as far as this issue is concerned defies common sense. We see it as a deliberate attempt to ensure that many people who qualify under the law are not registered, and for that matter, would not take part in the 2020 elections,” Mr Nketia stated.
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The EC announced on Monday, June 3 that it had put the upcoming limited registration exercise on hold following an injunction application filed at the Supreme Court to restrain the commission from undertaking the exercise.
The three-week exercise was scheduled to take place from Friday, June 7, 2019, to Thursday, June 27 in all district offices of the EC across the country to register those who had turned 18 since the voter register was last updated.
According to the EC, a new date for the exercise would be announced.
Few days after the EC’s announcement of the exercise, one Umar Ayuba filed an application at the Supreme Court seeking for an injunction to stop the commission from going ahead with the registration.
The injunction follows a substantive suit filed by the same individual challenging the decision by the EC to hold the registration in its district offices and some selected electoral areas.
On May 23, 2019, the applicant sued the EC and the Attorney General over the EC’s decision to register online during its limited registration exercise on grounds that the decision was not enshrined in law.
In the interview, Mr Nketia described the suit as a good move because “it will save our democracy and protect our electoral systems.”
“The EC is not an authority that engages in counting the population of Ghana. They are required by law to register everybody who is qualified (18 years and above) and of sound mind to vote.
“Where the EC is taking deliberate decisions to ensure that 1.2 million Ghanaians would not have the opportunity to register and vote, the court must come in to save our democracy,” he stated.
Mr Nketia stated that although the NDC supported the suit, the development would, however, affect the calendar of the EC and the activities of the political parties.
He, therefore, urged the commission to put the necessary structures in place and consider a reversal of its decisions to encourage a wilful withdrawal of the suit against it as the development could have dire consequences on its planned activities if not resolved forthwith.
Uphold June 4 principles
Meanwhile, a former General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Alhaji Huudu Yahaya, has called on leaders to uphold the principles of the June 4 uprising in running the administration of the country.
He said the tenets of the June 4 uprising, which are probity and accountability, were even more relevant now than before, adding that “whoever finds himself in leadership, official or unofficial, needs to be accountable to those who have put you into that position, identify with the ordinary man because June 4 identified with the ordinary man and that was how come it became widely accepted”.
He said this at the 40th-anniversary celebration of the June 4 uprising which was held on the theme: “A National Character for Sustainable Good Government”.
The June 4 uprising was a revolt in Ghana in 1979 that arose out of a combination of factors, including corruption and bad governance principles. This predicament sparked an uprising led by Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings to overthrow the then Supreme Military Council (SMC II) of General F.W.K Akuffo.
Alhaji Yahaya added that June 4 also called on Ghanaians to acquire high political awareness, saying without it, the country wouldn’t know which way to go, especially as the world was getting increasingly sophisticated.