Limited Voter Registration Exercise: EC actually taking steps to stop people from registering – Kofi Bentil
Lawyer and Senior Vice President of IMANI-Africa, Kofi Bentil says the actions of the Electoral Commission (EC) in the ongoing voter registration is to disfranchise a lot of Ghanaians.
According to him, the EC is constitutionally obligated to expand and execute specific programs and has the necessary resources to do so.
Mr. Bentil explained that any deviation from this constitutional mandate could lead to the removal of the Electoral Commissioners from their positions.
Speaking on JoyNews’ Newsfile on Saturday, Mr Bentil clarified that the issue is not merely about neglecting responsibilities; but it’s also about actively obstructing people’s right to register.
“In omission and commission, it’s not a matter of just omitting, like they are not doing anything, the suggestion is that there will be problems with people exercising their rights to register.”
According to him, the primary purpose of the EC is to address obstacles and facilitate the voter registration process, therefore, they should proactively implement measures to enhance the voter registration exercise.
“The EC was set up to take away those problems, clear the way and create situations that will enable people to register. So they should actually do things, commit actions that will expand registration,” he said.
Mr Bentil maintained that “in this case, if you are not doing it at all, then you are omitting to do your job but as far as I’m concerned, they are actually taking steps, committing actions to stop people from registering which is directly against what they are to do.”
He criticised the utilisation of state resources to undermine public policy objectives, saying “We should all be minded when we do some of these things.”
The IMANI-Africa Vice President’s assertion comes after the EC announced that the voter registration exercise would only take place at its district offices across the country.
However, this decision has not received the support of many political parties.
The National Democratic Congress and four other political parties on Thursday, September 7 sued the EC over its insistence on conducting the 2023 limited voter registration exercise at its district offices.
The suit was joined by the Convention People’s Party, All People’s Congress, Liberal Party of Ghana and the Great Consolidated Popular Party who said the decision would disenfranchise many eligible voters.
They, thus, ask the Supreme Court to prevent the electoral management body from proceeding with the exercise pending the final determination of the substantive matter.