The Mass Action Committee as part of its engagements with relevant stakeholders on the need for a new register, held a public forum on the 18 th of February, 2020 at the College of Surgeons and Physicians.
The forum was attended by individuals and organizations including the Ghana Union of Traders Association, National Union of Ghana Students, Citizen Ghana Movement among others.
The lead speaker was Dr. Vladimir Antwi-Danso (Dean of academic affairs; Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College). His presentation highlighted the dangers of undermining constitutionalism and institutionalism. He further noted that there is a great deal of indiscipline in the Ghanaian society which is now being transferred into the electoral process. A development he emphasizes, can result in instability.
Participants, believing that protecting and deepening our democracy is a shared responsibility, expressed a wide array of views on the Electoral Commission’s decision to compile a new register.
Participants, recognizing the provisions of Article 45, reaffirmed the independence of the Electoral Commission in the discharge of their duties.
They also acknowledged that, the current Biometric Verification Management System (BVMS) is fraught with many technical challenges, some of which it would appear, are irredeemable.
In view of paragraph 5 above (i.e. technical viability concerns of the (BVMS), participants were unanimous in emphasizing the urgent need for a new voter register.
Participants called on every Ghanaian to lend the EC their support in every way they can, to enable them carry out this exercise without any let nor hindrance.
They further admonished that, the conduct of political leadership must be guided by the need to preserve the peace and deepen Ghana’s democracy.
Participants expressed concerns about inflammatory language, incitement and or threat of violence in any shape or form, relative to the electoral processes. And that, such must be exposed and condemned in the strongest terms possible.
The forum also called on all eligible Ghanaians to endeavor to register when the process begins on the 18th of April, 2020.
Participants, however, stressed that civil vigilance and not vigilantism is the surest way to safeguard the integrity of the registration process. To this end, all stakeholders especially political parties are encouraged to be more vigilant during the registration period.
They further admonished individuals and political parties to eschew the practice of encouraging and or helping ineligible voters to register.
The forum agreed that we should consolidate our democracy and not stay stagnant. In this respect, the forum supported the introduction of facial recognition into the biometric registration.