In a dramatic turn of events, the battle between the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana and opposition parties, particularly the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic Party (NPP), has reached a fever pitch, threatening the nation’s electoral integrity.
The NDC’s National Chairman, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, took centre stage, denouncing the EC’s decision to restrict voter registration centres to its district offices. Mr. Nketiah’s fiery speech, delivered on the 12th of September, 2023, outlined the opposition’s legal challenges against the EC’s actions.
He revealed that the NDC, joined by the CPP, APC, LPG, and GCPP, had filed a suit against the EC in the Supreme Court, alleging that the Commission’s decision is both unlawful and unreasonable.
According to him, the Peoples National Convention has also expressed its intention to support this legal battle, further escalating the political showdown.
The crux of the matter lies in Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution, which guarantees every eligible Ghanaian the right to be registered as a voter and to participate in public elections.
Mr. Nketiah, who is also known in Ghana politics as General Mosquito, argued that the EC’s decision could potentially deprive countless citizens of this fundamental right, leading to voter suppression and contravening Article 45(e), which mandates the EC to expand voter registration programs.
Furthermore, the opposition lambasted the EC’s decision as unreasonable and unlawful, citing Regulation 2(2)(b) of C.I 91, which states that registration centers should be accessible and suitable for use as polling stations on Election Day.
The district offices of the EC, they argue, do not meet these criteria.
National Chairman of the NDC did not stop there; he accused the EC of neglecting its duty to revise the voter’s register annually at the electoral area level, creating a backlog of approximately 2.8 million eligible voters, “It’s instructive to note that Regulation 30 of C.I 91 enjoins the EC to revise the voters’ register annually and to do so at the electoral area level. Yet, the Jean Mensah-led EC has violated the law in the last two years by not conducting any limited registration in 2021 and 2022.”
This backlog, they claim, makes the EC’s decision even more absurd.
The opposition did not mince words in their accusations, alleging that the EC’s actions are an attempt to facilitate gerrymandering and claim that only the ruling NPP supports the Commission’s decision
However, the drama escalated when General Mosquito criticized the Supreme Court’s handling of the case, citing a delay in setting a hearing date due to the Chief Justice’s unavailability. Mr Nketiah underscores that the administration of justice in the apex court can not come to a stand-still simply because the Chief Justice is indisposed or unavailable to give hearing dates.
“What happened to the e-Justice system the John Mahama led NDC administration toiled for?” He questioned.
National Chairman of the main opposition party pointed out that this deliberate delay should not happen in any civilized country. “This is completely unacceptable!”
In a shocking twist, Mr. Nketiah claimed that the EC had flouted two injunction applications from the High Court, displaying what he termed as “lawlessness.”
Despite these legal battles, the NDC vowed to be vigilant during the registration process, ensuring that the EC and the NPP’s alleged schemes are thwarted.
This sensational clash between the opposition and the EC threatens to cast a long shadow over Ghana’s political landscape, with the stakes higher than ever as the nation inches closer to the 2024 elections. The battle lines are drawn, and only time will tell which side will emerge victorious in this electrifying showdown.