There was a raging debate over whether or not Ghana needs a new voters’ register in the upcoming December elections until the Electoral Commission (EC) put things to rest by confirming April 18, 2020, as the date for the compilation of a new voters’ register to begin.
The EC’s plans have been derailed with COVID-19 arriving at the shores of Ghana. And this has started another debate on whether the register needs to be compiled amidst the outbreak of the virus.
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The Executive Director of the Danquah Institute, Richard Ahiagbah, has insisted that the new voters’ register needs to be compiled regardless.
According to him, election 2020 cannot come off per the constitution of Ghana if the new voters’ register is not compiled.
He made this statement in an interview on Happy98.9FM’s ‘Epa Hoa Daben’ show with Doctar Cann. In his own words he noted, “we need to compile a new voters’ register. The law gives no room for us to have an election without compiling the register. We need to compile a new register or engage in a limited voter registration exercise”.
When concerns were raised on the COVID-19 pandemic, Richard Ahiagbah opined that it is possible for the voters’ registration exercise to go on whilst the Government still fought the virus. He noted that his statement was not made out of political ambitions. “Whether it is COVID-19 or not, whether we will vote or not, we need to open up the voters’ register for people without their names to get registered. And that is the law”.
On his authority, if it becomes impossible for citizens to get their names in the voters’ register then there would be no need for election 2020 because these individuals will be deprived of their right to vote.
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He reiterated that he could not dictate to the EC what they should do but the law requires them to compile the voters’ register. “Election 2020 can never come off without a limited voters’ register or a new one. The EC can even be sued for preventing citizens from exercising the rights”.