GHANA, OUR BELOVED COUNTRY.
Does the Military have the power to prevent Registrants from registering for their Voters ID?
The answer is an emphatic NO. Nobody has the right to do so. The viral video at Banda of personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces whose function is clearly stated in Article 210(3) of the 1992 Constitution is an affront to the Rule of Law- the law that rules but nothing else.
What does this Article say?
Article 210(3) reads
“The Armed Forces shall be equipped and maintained to perform their role of defence of Ghana as well as such other functions for the development of Ghana as the President may determine.”
The mention of the President who is the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces requires another question which is can he, the President prevent anyone from registering?
Your guess is as good as mine, the answer still remains a big No. The Electoral Commission’s chairperson, Madam Jean Mensah does not have the right as the head of the Electoral Management Body to even prevent the president of the United State, Donald J Trump, Barack Obama, the Queen of England, Cristiano Ronaldo, Leonel Messi, Beyonce, Lebron James, Jesus Christ or Satan from registering.
The law established a Challenge System, where those that are not eligible or qualified are challenged legally at the District Registration Review Committee ((DRRC)). It is at this committee that, you and I, including Madam Jean Mensah, political party representatives can legally challenge Donald Trump, Barack Obama and others mentioned because they are non citizens. The law allows any person to be registered without prevention, the card issued will only be ceased by the R.O if there is a challenge.
A look at the Electoral Commission’s Challenge Form states the various areas where someone can be challenged, a few are non -Ghanaian (Citizenship), Under-age ((Below 18)), Residency, Insanity or any other reason not stated must be specified by the challenger.
Looking at the areas where one can be challenged, the question of citizenship is answered by the 1992 Constitution and the Citizenship Act, 2000 (Act 591). The age factor I think is best answered by the Birth Certificate, which sadly is not used in the registration process per the C.I 126 and the question of residency is best answered by the various Polling Agents of political parties.
The incident at Banda is unfortunate and going forward the constitutionally mandated body, the National Commission for Civic Education must sit up and act now, the law or the Constitution must be defended at all times against violations and abuse as the Constitution stipulates.
Article 3(2) says ” _Any activity of a person or group of persons which suppresses or seek to suppress the political activity of any other person or any class of persons, or persons generally is unlawful_”.
Compiling or not compiling a new electoral roll cannot lead to instability, however victimization, intimidation, discrimination, injustice, abuse and most importantly preventing people from taking part in the registration process can lead to instability.
I’m a Ghanaian, I’m concerned because the incident at Banda was perpetrated against my fellow Ghanaians and fellow Ewes. It is the Ewes today and surely this is not the last Registration Exercise, it can be the Akans, Muslims, Fantes or Ga’s next.
Paraphrasing a great one, Lucky Dube, we might be people of different ethnic, religious, cultural, political, economic, social background, but we are One People with one united Ghana.
Comments, suggestions, advice and criticisms are always welcomed on
Master Abavor Joseph Mawuenyega. “PAOLO”