“The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections, which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot or by equivalent free voting procedures.”
This is according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 21.
One important way any Ghanaian citizen can influence governmental decision-making is through voting by expressing one’s preference or likes for a candidate for office or for a proposed resolution of an issue. This is very vital to decision making in any democracy.
Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution is clear on who can vote in Ghana. It states, “Every citizen of Ghana of 18 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 purposes of public elections and referenda.”
Article 6 of same constitution further establishes who a citizen is in Ghana. What this means is that, anyone who qualifies under this constitution has the right to vote for his or her preference in an election or referenda without recourse to any other laws that contradicts the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
On a matter of the supremacy of the constitution, we can find solace in Article1(2) which states that “The Constitution shall be the supreme law of Ghana and any other law found to be inconsistent with any provision of this Constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.”
Therefore, the Electoral Commission of Ghana cannot engage in acts of disenfranchising Ghanaians on the basis of introducing some (LIs) as a primary source of registering qualified citizens to vote. Such (LIs) are not fundamental basis upon which a citizen must vote.
Therefore, introducing what they call Ghanaian or ECOWAS card and Passport in a current (LI) as a primary source of establishing citizenship for voter registration contravene article (42) of the 1992 constitution, which must not be allowed.
The Constitution of Ghana recognizes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as adopted unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, which recognizes the integral role that transparent and open elections play in ensuring the fundamental right to participatory government.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights under Article 21 says that,
Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his or her country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
Everyone has the right to equal access to public service in his country.
Therefore, the right to vote is an inalienable right which cannot be taken away by anyone, not even the Electoral Commission. The basis upon which electoral register should be compiled is what the constitution depicts in article 6 of the constitution.
The EC, must be careful on the path it has resorted to. They must refrain from deeds of secrecy that seek to disenfranchise Ghanaian citizens.
The position of the current EC is a matter of biased referee in a public football match which does not warrant a free and fair game. This singular act does not conform to UN Declaration on Human Rights. The result of this is a matter of public knowledge.
This is why it is important for the civil societies, non-governmental organizations, the Clergy, the Catholic Bishop’s Conference, the Christian Council, Islamic Community, TUC, ECOWAS, Chiefs and Queen mothers, the youth, the farmers, traders and all peace loving people who have been quite for some reason only known to them, begin to rise up and speak before these issues reach volatile levels we cannot quench.
The Electoral Commission exits to serve Ghanaians and not to disenfranchise them