We want a Ghanaian election not a West Africa one, warns President Akufo-Addo
By Hillary Obayangbon, Accra
President Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo has warned off non-Ghanaians to stay away from both the compilation of a new Voters Register and the 7th December, 2020 general elections.
He says anyone non-eligible to register or to vote but who flouts the law will have the law to deal with.
The President, who served the warning while addressing the nation Monday evening, said the Election of 7th December, 2020, must be a Ghanaian election, and not a West African Election.
In that vein, he encouraged all eligible voters (Ghanaians of 18 years and above) to register with the Electoral Commission to enable them vote to elect a president and a parliamentarian of their choice.
He also discounted allegations of plots to rig the election, saying he won’t be president of a rigged election but one with the free mandate of Ghanaians.
President Akufo-Addo urged all Ghanaians to ensure only qualified persons find their names in the voters register, saying “We must all make sure those 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.”
The Electoral Commission (EC) begins the voter registration exercise on Tuesday, June 30 and registrants are required to possess either a valid Ghana Passport or a Ghana Card issued by the National Identification Authority. A third option is for two registered voter to vouch for a registrant without the prescribed documents.
Said the President; “The election on 7th December must be a Ghanaian election, 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.”
President Akufo-Addo said all opportunities will be availed qualified persons to register to obtain a voter’s card, however those who refuse to register, will have no role in the December 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 said and added that “It is, thus, vitally important that all eligible voters register, so, on the designated day of 7th December, they can vote to choose the President of the nation, and the Member of Parliament of their area. In effect, our vote, our thumb, is the expression of our individual sovereign power as a citizen, which we should cherish and guard at all times.”
President Akufo-Addo called for the strict adherence to safety and health protocols rolled out by the EC to govern the exercise, saying it is not possible to postpone the voter registration or December polls, the new coronavirus pandemic notwithstanding.
He cited the likes of Mali, Malawi, South Korea and Poland as nations that have held elections in the midst of the pandemic, adding that it is not beyond Ghana to join these nations in organising a successful general election.
According to President Akufo-Addo, Ghana’s Constitution makes no provision for the extension of the mandate of a President beyond four (4) years, and that “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.”
“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 stressed.