Members of the Inter-Party Resistance Against New Voters Register (IPRAN) in the North East Region have sent a formal complaint against the Electoral Commission before the Nayiri, the seat of the Mamprugu overlord, Naa Bohagu Abdulai Mahama Sheriga, at the regional capital, Nalerigu.
The coalition made up of executives of almost all the opposition parties in the region presented a petition full of complaints over the Electoral Commission’s decision to compile a new voters’ Register for the 2020 General Elections.
The group in the petition reported to the King indicated that the Ghana Electoral Commission € was embarking on “a tacit attempt to subvert the Constitution of Ghana, suppress the people’s will and impose a government over us” in the upcoming polls.
The petition read, on behalf of the group, by the Regional Communication Director of the NDC, Imoro Abdul Razak, clarified that group was in support all legitimate steps to tidy up the voters’ register but opposed the attempt by the electoral commission to limit the breeder documents for the compilation of the widely resisted new register ahead of the December, 2020 General Elections, to only the national passport and the Ghana Card.
“The exclusion of the Ghanaian birth certificate and the existing voter Identity Card which have hitherto always been part of the breeder documents is of grave concern to us since these two documents are popular to our people and have always been used by our people for all lawful transactions”, Razak explained.
The group added that the EC’s decision to exclude the two critical primary documents from the compilation process has no basis in the Constitution and must not be encouraged.
“Your Majesty, the question as to who qualifies lawfully to register and participate in public elections and national referenda in Ghana, does not fall into residue as article 42 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana sufficiently addresses that. We need not belabor the point in adding that, the electoral commission of Ghana does not wield that power to de-nationalise any citizen.”
The group further cautioned that, allowing the Electoral Commission to proceed to amend CI 91 will constitute an abrasion of article 3 clause 2 of the 1992 constitution and will also consequently disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of residents of the North East Region.
They added that the decision of the EC is a huge barrier to the development of the North East Region.
“In the North East Region, an estimated population of 18 years plus is 397,351 but the NIA could issue only a paltry 123,781 denying 255,570 and this amounts to 67.37% of people not being issued with NIA cards. Your Royal Highness this should attract your attention for action.
“Your Majesty, we have no scintilla of doubt that, not only will proceeding with the voter’s registration with this skewed definition of citizenship come with ripple repercussions, but it will constitute a significant barrier to the masses of the natives of the North East Region who will be inhibited from exercising their political right as guaranteed by the constitution.
The group continued; “it is appropriate to avert our minds to the fact that, the figures on the voter’s roll from any particular geographical area do not serve only the purpose of elections, but such figures contribute significantly to in determining the distribution of the largesse of the state as well as for purposes of creating new Constituencies, Districts, Municipalities and Regions. It is our concern that should the Electoral Commission be allowed to proceed with this unpopular registration, our Region will technically be disadvantaged in all these perspectives”.
“Our fears are further accentuated by reports we gather from some of our kinsmen in Southern Ghana that, some of our people were physically restrained from registering down south because of their northern decent”.
The group concluded by reiterating its resolve to “to defend this constitution and in particular to resist any person or group of persons seeking to commit any of the acts referred to in clause (3) of this article, and called for the King’s support.
“We humbly petition you to use your High Office to intercede for the good people of the North East Region through the relevant offices so that, the EC is stopped from proceeding with the ploy to disenfranchise the 255,570 natives of the North East Region who have not been issued with the NIA cards and have been asked to go through the painful process of using Guarantors.
The painful process of using Guarantors is a well-planned attempt to disenfranchise our kinsmen,” the group said in the petition handover to the King by the North East regional chairman of the main opposition party.
The King after receiving the petition advised the group to exercise more patience and decorum in their resistance and assured to make the subject a top priority at the royal court.
“What Chief says is that, what is good that has to be done right now, you should it”, a senior elder at the palace, Mba Taraana, translated the King’s brief remarks to the press.
“I think that we should all be patience with one another. No insults during our campaigns…and so, he has accepted the petition, he would read it, and then whatever needs to be done, within his powers as the overlord, he would see what he can do”.