The flagbearer and leader of the opposition NDC, John Dramani Mahama, has charged Ghanaians to turn up in their numbers to register in the impending voter registration exercise slated for Tuesday June 30, 2020. This follows a ruling delivered by the Supreme Court Thursday June 25, 2020 giving the Electoral Commission of Ghana the go ahead to compile a new electoral roll.
The apex court, in a unanimous decision, dismissed, among others, a relief sought by the NDC and a second applicant, Mark Takyi Banson; for the use of the existing voter ID card as a source document for the upcoming registration exercise. In their seven-paged ruling that caused considerable stir and confusion among political watchers and analysts, the Supreme Court held, in essence, that the EC shall not only compile a new voters register as it has purposed to do, but it shall also do so pursuant to the Public Elections (Registration of Voters) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (C.I 126). This, in principle, excludes from the list of registration requirements the existing voter ID card since C.I 126 limits the breeder documents to passport and the National ID Card.
In a swift reaction to the verdict, however, the former president expressed disappointment in the apex court for a verdict that, in his opinion, constitutes an obvious travesty of justice.
“Despite the well-reasoned reliefs we sought, the apex court of the land gave the leeway for the Electoral Commission to go ahead with the exclusion of the existing voter identification cards from the list of identification requirements. We are deeply disappointed and strongly disagree with the court over this outcome, which has confounded many legal experts and thrown the country into a state of confusion” he said, adding “it is worrying that the Court deferred the reasons for its decisions to the 15th of July, by which time the EC would have been two weeks into the registration exercise”.
In a televised address hours after this ruling, John Mahama urged all eligible Ghanaians to endeavor to participate in the impending registration exercise as this, for him, would be the best form of protest against any attempt to disenfranchise them. He says rather than allow such setbacks to deter them, Ghanaians should channel their disappointments in these developments into positive defiance and register in their numbers.
“I therefore urge all Ghanaians of voting age to channel the disappointment at the effort to exclude them from the electoral process into an opportunity to have their voices heard and turn up to register in their teeming numbers, when the process begins next week Tuesday,” he said.
“The right to vote must however not be curtailed on account of this minor setback for inclusion. We cannot throw our hands up in despair because the fight to insist on inclusion has been temporarily derailed by this ruling. We can still make our voices heard even if we must endure some inconvenience and frustration. To achieve the objective of taking part in the decision over who governs us, we must be willing to make the necessary sacrifices in the present circumstances,” he added.