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Politics of Saturday, 19 December 2020

Source: rainbowradioonline.com

Excluding Guan residents from parliamentary election was an attack on their rights - Lawyer

Legal Luminary, Professor Kwaku Asare Legal Luminary, Professor Kwaku Asare

A lawyer, Prof. Stephen Kwaku Aware, popularly called Prof Kwaku Azar has described the decision by the Electoral Commission (EC) to exclude residents of Guan constituency from the 2020 parliamentary elections as an assault on their constitutional right.

In his opinion, the lawyer posited that “Excluding Guan from the general election assaults the principle that government emanates from we the people of Ghana.”

The lawyer has therefore demanded answers from the EC on why they excluded the residents from voting in the elections.

“We demand answers and actions because we will no longer compromise on our right to GOGO.”

Residents in Akpafu Odormi in going into the December 7 polls expressed their disappointment in the EC for excluding them from the exercise.

The EC had issued a statement that the area was excluded because they had no constituency.

The people in places like Santrofi, Akpafu, Likpe, and Lolobi in the Oti Region were only allowed to vote for a presidential candidate.

But the lawyer says this is unconstitutional.

“Under what law, power, authority, norm or convention did the EC decide to hold parliamentary elections that excluded some voters?

Where the EC has divided the country into 275 constituencies for the 2020 parliamentary elections, under what authority or convention was the EC permitted to vary the number to 276 the day before the scheduled elections?”



Read his full statement below.

The EC had lawfully and appropriately assigned every voter to a constituency during the registration exercise.

The EC had lawfully and appropriately invited nominations for Parliamentary candidates for 275 constituencies.

At the close of nominations on October 9 2020, interested nominees had filed their papers (and paid their filing fees) to contest in 275 constituencies, thereby assuring and guaranteeing every voter the right to vote for a parliamentary candidate.

For the 2020 parliamentary elections, the EC, pursuant to CI 119, issued a writ of election to 275 returning officers. This effectively fixed the number of constituencies for the 2020 general election at 275.

Under what law, power or authority did the EC issue a directive on December 6th, a few hours before the parliamentary elections, to tell some voters that they can vote in the constituency in which they are registered for the presidential elections but cannot vote in the same parliamentary elections?

Under what law, power, authority, norm or convention did the EC decide to hold parliamentary elections that excluded some voters?

Where the EC has divided the country into 275 constituencies for the 2020 parliamentary elections, under what authority or convention was the EC permitted to vary the number to 276 the day before the scheduled elections?

Is the law now that because the EC is independent it can overrule, by directive, the Constitution and its own CIs regulating elections?

To be sure, the process for creating districts is not the same as that for creating constituencies. However, this does not mean that once a district is created, voters lose their right to vote until a corresponding constituency is created.

Rather, a voter remains assigned to their old constituency until a new constituency has been created to accommodate them. In effect, no voter is in a no man’s land in a general election.

I know this is Ghana but the EC owes the country an explanation and, more important, it owes the disenfranchised voters an urgent election so that they can have a voice on day 1 of the 8th Parliament.

Anything short of an urgent “makeup election” will reduce the people of the Guan district to second class citizens.

Excluding Guan from the general election assaults the principle that government emanates from we the people of Ghana.

We demand answers and actions because we will no longer compromise on our right to GOGO.

Da Yie!

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