The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) has called on the Electoral Commission of Ghana (EC) to include the existing voter Identity Card (ID) in the list of breeder documents for the upcoming voter registration exercise.
In a statement signed and issued in Accra by the National Coordinator Albert Kofi Arhin in Accra, the independent election observer body raised concerns over the EC’s decision to limit the breeder documents to just a valid Ghanaian passport, a national identification card issued by the National Identification Authority (NIA) and the use of registered guarantors.
“While the coalition acknowledges that this is a matter before the Supreme Court of the land, it also believes that it might be proper for the EC to take a second look at these provisions.
Due to the challenges that they are likely to present to prospective registrants, the Commission itself, and, indeed the electoral process,” the statement added.
According to CODEO, a good number of eligible Ghanaians do not currently possess either of the two identification cards, which would compel a substantial number of prospective registrants to rely on guarantors to be able to exercise their right to be registered as voters.
They have also noted that in communities where only few people possessed the requisite identity documents, there would be genuine difficulty on the part of qualified citizens in exercising their right to register to vote.
In addition, CODEO highlighted the abuse of the guarantor system in previous registration exercises which created extreme tension with some political party agents and activists physically preventing persons who lacked the requisite identification documents from registering.
Due to these reasons, CODEO has asked the country’s election management body, the EC to consider allowing prospective voters possessing cards issued by the Commission since 2012 as a proof for one’s eligibility.
Aside this, the independent election observing body has urged all stakeholders in the election process to utilise legal and peaceful processes to seek redress to all grievances.
“CODEO urges all elections stakeholders, particularly political party leaders and supporters, to utilise legal and peaceful processes to seek redress to all grievances.”
Meanwhile, they have affirmed their support for the EC in conducting and ensuring a peaceful electoral process.
“CODEO affirms its long-standing commitment to support the Commission to achieve this crucial mandate, through an election management process that fosters inclusivity, national peace and mutual trust between the Commission and key election stakeholders,” the statement said.
As the country is about six months away from another major national presidential and parliamentary election, CODEO has advised all Ghanaians to be restrained in their actions and utterances, putting the national interest above narrow and partisan and sectional interests.
BY: FRANCIS NTOW