17th May 2024

President Akufo-Addo

As the Electoral Commission (EC) begins the new voters’ registration exercise today, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has cautioned persons who do not meet the spelt out requirements for registration, according to Ghana’s constitution, to stay away from the exercise.

 

“It must be our collective duty to ensure that we have a register that is fit for purpose in December, and we must all make sure that persons who do not meet the requirements, as set out clearly in the Constitution, do not find their names into the register. If you aid the registration of an ineligible person, and you are caught, you will face the full rigours of the law.

 

“The election on 7th December must be a Ghanaian election, not a West African election, conducted with a voter register of Ghanaians. That is the only way the true will of the Ghanaian people can manifest,” the President said yesterday when he addressed the nation ahead of the exercise.

 

 

Plus for Ghana’s democracy

 

Describing the exercise as very significant, the President urged all eligible Ghanaians to ensure that they register in the exercise, saying that is the only way they can exercise their right to vote.

 

“It is, thus, vitally important that all eligible voters register, so, on the designated day of 7th December, they can vote to choose the President of the nation, and the Member of Parliament of their area. In effect, our vote, our thumb, is the expression of our individual sovereign power as a citizen, which we should cherish and guard at all times,” he said.

 

He said the fresh voters’ registration, which is taking place at 33,367 polling stations across the country, is yet “another journey to deepen further our nation’s democratic credentials.”

 

According to President Akufo-Addo, the order given by the apex court on June 25, affirmed the right of the EC to proceed with the compilation of a new register, in accordance with the provisions of C.I 126.

 

“It reiterated the widely held belief that a credible electoral register, and, indeed, a credible election, are important ingredients to securing the future well-being of any democratic nation.

 

“I am proud to be a citizen of a nation whose independent institutions, like the Judiciary and the Electoral Commission, continue to operate without fear or favour, ill will or malice, and without regard to the political, religious or ethnic affiliations of any citizen or group of citizens,” President Akufo-Addo said.

 

No violence

The President cautioned against any act of violence that may be orchestrated by any individual or group.

 

“It is crucial that both the registration exercise and the electoral process itself be conducted in an atmosphere of peace and security, devoid of intimidation and violence. The Ghanaian people must go about the exercise of their civic duties in peace and in freedom,” he said.

 

He added: “The security agencies have assured me that they have made adequate preparations for this, and to guarantee the sanctity of the process. They have assured me of their determination to carry out their duties without fear or favour. Improper behaviour by any citizen, no matter their political colour, will not be tolerated, and I am encouraged by the recent reassurance by the Inspector General of Police that Police have been instructed to be even-handed in their response to issues. That is the only way the rule of law can be upheld.”

 

Covid-19 and protocols

 

Touching on the fears of a cross-section of Ghanaians who argue that not only should the registration exercise be put on hold, but the conduct of the 2020 general elections as well, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the President said, “that is not possible”.

 

“The Constitution of our Republic makes no provision for the extension of the mandate of the President, who wields executive power, beyond four years. To exercise executive power in the Ghanaian state, you must be duly elected by the Ghanaian people. You must have their freely-expressed consent.

 

“On 7th January, 2021, when my mandate as the current President expires, a duly elected person must be ready to be sworn in as President of the Republic. There is no other way, and, in order to forestall any needless constitutional controversy, which could throw our nation into jeopardy, we must vote on 7th December 2020,” he explained.

 

To this end, he said, the EC has put in place several protocols to guarantee the safety of all eligible Ghanaians at the 33,327 polling stations across the country.

 

Military deployment

With regards to the brouhaha surrounding the presence of some military personnel in some border towns in the country, the President explained that the presence of the security is a way of guaranteeing the peace of the nation.

 

“The longstanding deployment of security personnel, especially the military, along our borders is another dimension of this process of guaranteeing the peace of the nation.

 

“Fellow Ghanaians, it is no secret that our neighbour to the north, Burkina Faso, has, in recent times, been at the receiving end of a number of terrorist attacks, as has another neighbour, Cote d’ivoire. To shore up our borders against such attacks, and to defend our nation’s territorial integrity, the Armed Forces, at least since I came into office, have been very proactive in engaging in operations to secure our borders, and foil any potential terror attacks on our soil,” the President said.

 

EC ready

 

Meanwhile, the Chairperson of the EC, Jean Mensa, says the EC is set for the exercise.

Addressing a press conference yesterday, Mrs Mensa disclosed that 44, 000 registration officers have been recruited for the exercise.

She said the recruits have been made to sign an oath to bear true allegiance to the principles underlying the conduct of the registration exercise.

 

“A major concern a number of citizens have raised with us has to do with the quality of our temporary officers. We have recruited, trained, and deployed over 44, 000 staff into the field.

 

“We are confident of the training provided them to operate efficiently and professionally. As part of the training, we have drummed home the importance of instilling in them the principles of integrity, fairness, and transparency in all their activities throughout the registration process,” she said.

 

Mrs Mensa further disclosed that the Ghana Health Service has released some 7,000 health personnel for the exercise.

The health personnel, according to her, will help in ensuring that the necessary safety protocols are adhered to at the various registration centres.

Source: Daily Statesman

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