Politics

Gh. Federation of Labour flies red flags over new register

The Ghana Federation of Labour (GFL) has joined the numerous organisations in the country who have warned the Electoral Commission (EC) to be transparent and fair to all political parties.

The GFL, which has raised serious concerns over the EC’s conduct towards the compilation of a controversial voters’ register ahead of the December polls, observe that the confidence in the electoral management body is fast dwindling.

Pending a Parliamentary approval of a Constitutional Instrument (CI) that would render the existing voters ID cards null and void, the EC has announced it’s safety protocols for the registration exercise which seeks to register some over 16 million Ghanaians later this month, in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic that has infected over 8,000 persons in the country.

Jean Mensah, EC Boss

In a statement to add to the countless cautions to the EC, the GFL, whose focus is on the welfare of Ghanaian workers, said the electoral related laws in the country are sensitive, urging the EC to embrace the “need for consensus building among all stakeholders in the drafting to ensure confidence in the Electoral process and the general acceptance of Electoral results.”

The statement, jointly signed by GFL General Secretary Abraham Koomson and President Caleb Nartey, emphasized that ” recent events organized by Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and the Coalition of Minority Political Parties, comments emanating from the Academia and actions by the National Security have deeply polarized the society ahead of the upcoming Elections.”

Obstacles

Commenting on some of the possible factors that have the tendency to mar the exercise, the labour group bemoaned the EC’s deliberate disregard to the laws of the land, saying “…the compilation of a new voters register in complete disregard of a pending suit at the Supreme Court on the registration exercise an affront to the rule of Law, undermines our democracy and threatens the liberty of Ghanaians.”

Despite the “rising political tension” in the Country over the compilation of the new voters register, the GFL expressed doubts over the adherence to the safety protocols announced by the EC to prevent an escalation of community spread of the Coronavirus that has killed over 30 in Ghana.

“That the COVID-19 PANDEMIC also poses challenges to the adherence to the structured timelines put out by the EC ostensibly in the bid to comply or meet legal deadlines preceding the December 7, 2020 elections,” the statement posited.

Appeal

The GFL also pointed some violations of the law in the EC’s attempt to impose it’s new CI on Ghanaians and hoped for it’s change.

“We further observe that the right to vote as a citizen of this Country provided under Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution is blatantly violated by the conditions set by the EC as eligibility criteria for registration as a VOTER,” the Federation said.

“… The entrenched position within the political divide and the EC, the beating of war drums emitting scary signals to the business and international community”

The labour group concluded by appealing to Parliament, the EC and its Eminent Committee to chart a path that would calm nerves.

“Under the circumstances, the GFL strongly appeals to the Ghanaian Parliament, the Council of State and the Eminent Committee appointed by the EC to prevail upon the Political Parties, the EC and the National Security to refrain from acts which could inflame tension and rather work together to ensure all eligible voters are allowed to exercise their franchise without let or hindrance to avert a chaotic situation before, during and after the December elections.”

Below is the full statement

31st May 2020.

PRESS STATEMENT
GHANA FEDERATION OF LABOUR ON A NEW VOTERS REGISTER, THE DECEMBER 7, 2020 PRESIDENTIAL AND PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS AND IMMINENT CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS AND RESULTANT REPERCUSSIONS.

At an emergency Ghana Federation of Labour (GFL) Leadership virtual meeting held on Sunday 31st May 2020, the rising political tension in the Country over the compilation of a new voters register for the December 7, 2020 General Elections was exhaustively discussed and the following observations were made:

1) That Electoral related laws are sensitive and the need for consensus building among all stakeholders in the drafting to ensure confidence in the Electoral process and the general acceptance of Electoral results.

2) That recent events organized by Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and the Coalition of Minority Political Parties, comments emanating from the Academia and actions by the National Security have deeply polarized the society ahead of the upcoming Elections.

3) That this development has been aggravated by the Electoral Commission’s (EC) announcement of a TIME TABLE for the compilation of a new voters register in complete disregard of a pending suit at the Supreme Court on the registration exercise an affront to the rule of Law, undermines our democracy and threatens the liberty of Ghanaians.

4) That the COVID-19 PANDEMIC also poses challenges to the adherence to the structured timelines put out by the EC ostensibly in the bid to comply or meet legal deadlines preceding the December 7, 2020 elections.

We further observe that the right to vote as a citizen of this Country provided under Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution is blatantly violated by the conditions set by the EC as eligibility criteria for registration as a VOTER.

Whereas the ongoing National Identification Authority registration exercise is afflicted with numerous challenges making it impossible for the majority of the population to obtain the CARDS, and the possession of Ghana PASSPORTS not being mandatory for citizens, we consider requirements of these documents as proof of citizenship as inappropriate.

Since the existing voter ID cards haven’t been largely discredited by any court of law, its validity can’t be discounted by any other authority.

Furthermore, the VOUCHING by others to ascertain citizenship of applicants is problematic since this process of identification could be contested or challenged in a Law Court.

As a Labour Organization, our worry is about the entrenched positions within the political divide and the EC, the beating of war drums emitting scary signals to the business and international community, a situation which has the potential of slowing down investments with its attendant negative impact on the Ghanaian Economy and the Labour Movement.

Under the circumstances, the GFL strongly appeals to the Ghanaian Parliament, the Council of State and the Eminent Committee appointed by the EC to prevail upon the Political Parties, the EC and the National Security to refrain from acts which could inflame tension and rather work together to ensure all eligible voters are allowed to exercise their franchise without let or hindrance to avert a chaotic situation before, during and after the December elections.

 

Abraham Koomson
Secretary General

Caleb Nartey

President

 

By Henryson Okrah/myxyzonline.com

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