I will not deny anyone their right to vote – President
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Monday stated that he had no motivation to deny any eligible Ghanaian the inalienable right to register and vote.
Thus, all qualified citizens must avail themselves of the voter registration exercise that commences tomorow, Tuesday, June 30, 2020, to ensure that the country gets a register fit for purpose for the conduct of the December 7 presidential and parliamentary elections.
“I have no interest in disenfranchising any eligible Ghanaian from registering in tomorrow’s exercise, nor am I interested in any improper machinations to win any election,” he said in a national address ahead of the commencement of the compilation of a new voters register by the Electoral Commission tomorrow.
“I have spent my life fighting for free, democratic institutions in our country, and I will continue in that fight for the rest of my life.
“The idea of being a President, who emerges from a rigged election, is abhorrent to every fibre of my being… I want to continue to be the President of a Ghanaian people who have given me their free consent, with the blessing of the Almighty,” the President stated emphatically.
However, President Akufo-Addo was unequivocal that the December elections must be “a Ghanaian election and not a West African election, conducted with a voter register of Ghanaians.”
“That is the only way the true will of the Ghanaian people can manifest,” he noted, stressing “we must all make sure that persons who do not meet the requirements, as set out clearly in the Constitution, do not find their names into the register.”
“If you aid the registration of an ineligible person, and you are caught, you will face the full rigours of the law,” he warned.
Touching on calls by sections of the society to stay the voters’ registration process, and by extension, the December Presidential and parliametary polls until a lid is placed on the coronavirus pandemic, President Akufo-Addo said that that argument was not tenable because the Constitution made no provision for the extension of the mandate of the President beyond four years,
“To exercise executive power in the Ghanaian state, you must be duly elected by the Ghanaian people. You must have their freely-expressed consent on 7th January, 2021, when my mandate as the current President expires, a duly elected person must be ready to be sworn in as President of the Republic,” he said.
“There is no other way, and, in order to forestall any needless constitutional controversy, which could throw our nation into jeopardy, we must vote on 7th December 2020. The same applies to Parliament. We should not fear or be alarmed. Despite the COVID pandemic, elections are being properly conducted in many nations across the globe,” he said.
The President was confident that Ghana could also organise a successful general election in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic just as countries such as South Korea, Poland, Mali and Malawi have demonstrated.
He noted that the compilation of a voters’ register was the most important task in the effective functioning of any democracy and urged all eligbile citizens to go out, register, to determine the choice of government in a free, fair, peaceful and transparent election.
“Using your God-given and constitutional rights costs nothing, but staying home can come at a very steep price. The pandemic, notwithstanding, we have to strengthen Ghanaian democracy,” he added.
The President assured all eligible voters that the EC had put in place all required protocols to ensure their safety during the exercise.
He urged all those who would be undertaking the exercise to adhere strictly to those set protocols and all other restrictions dealing with large gatherings.
Commenting on the vexed issue of the deployment of security personnel at the country’s frontiers, President Akufo-Addo stated that the development was not intended “to intimidate or prevent eligible Ghanaians from registering to vote in December.”
Rather, the move is to safeguard the country’s territorial integrity, stem the influx of undesireable elements from neighbouring troubled states, and ensure peace, security and stability of Ghana.
The voter registration exercise would be undertaken at all 33,327 polling stations across the country.