A Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, OB Amoah, has asked Ghanaians not to be deceived by anti-new voters’ register campaigners to refrain from registering for the new voter ID card.
Mr Amoah, who is also the MP for the Akwapim South constituency, says such people will be doing themselves a lot of harm should they decide not to participate in the upcoming new voter registration exercise.
He explained that people who refuse to register will be denying themselves the opportunity to contest in any public election or be appointed to serve in any public capacity.
He recounted how a former minister-designate, Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, was rejected during the erstwhile Jerry John Rawlings’ administration because he was not a registered voter.
Mr Amoah made the suggestion in an article, titled Registration Is Compulsory for Some Ghanaians, in which he took the opportunity to explain the ramifications of not taking part in the upcoming voter registration exercise.
He explained that the Constitution of Ghana provides in Article 42 that, “every citizen of Ghana of eighteen years of age or above and of sound mind has the right to vote and is entitled to be registered as a voter for the purpose of public elections and referenda.”
He added that, as the Supreme Court said in the Abu Ramadan case (Consolidated), “if the right to vote is important in participatory democracy, the right to register is even more fundamental and critical. It is the golden key that opens the door to exercising the right to vote.”
“It is our right to vote and we are entitled to be registered as voters but it is not compulsory to register to have the right to vote. Indeed, even though the Electoral Commission is compelled to compile the register of voters and revise it at such periods as may be determined by law, we can simply ignore them and go about our business. Of course, we should then agree for those who decide to register to vote to choose our Government for us while we wait for four more years after elections,” he said.
He explained further that, per Article 62 (c), it is compulsory for a person who wants to be President of Ghana to be a registered voter, adding, “again, Ministers and deputy Ministers of state, the Speaker, members of various commissions like the Public Services Commission, Lands Commission and National Commission for Civic Education are required to be registered voters.”
Mr Amoah averted the minds of Ghanaians to the District Assembly Elections Act, 1994 (Act 473), which provides under section 9(1) that, “a person qualifies to be elected to a District Assembly or a lower local government unit if that person (b) is a registered voter.”
He therefore concluded that people who decide not to take part in the upcoming voter registration exercise will be doing themselves a lot of harm.