General News of Wednesday, 29 January 2020
The National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) says the Electoral Commission should be allowed to execute its mandate with regards to the ongoing debate on whether or not the EC should compile a new voter register.
A group of opposition parties calling themselves the Inter-Party Resistance Against the New Voter’s Register have kicked against the EC’s decision to compile a new register 10 months to the elections in December.
They argue that it is a waste of resources and an attempt by the EC to rig the election for the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).
Some 18 civil society organisations have also kicked against the new voter roll.
However, the NPP government and some smaller political parties are also supporting the EC’s decision to compile a new register.
The EC insists the integrity of the 2020 polls could be undermined if a new roll and a new Biometric Voter Management System are not put in place.
Contributing to the discussion, NUGS at a press conference in Accra on Wednesday, 29 January 2020 said the EC is an independent body and should be treated as such.
President of NUGS Isaac Jay Hyde who addressed the media said: “The stance of NUGS is one and simple. NUGS stands with the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, the legal framework which administers the powers, authority and functions of all persons, groups and institutions in the country.
“Our stance is triggered by our total acceptance, believe and trust in the laws that govern the nation. Article 46 of Ghana’s Constitution defines the Electoral Commission as an independent institution whose functions shall not in any way be subject to the directions or control of any person, group or authority except that those actions are inconsistent with same constitution from which the commission derives its power of autonomy from.
“Having critically examined Article 45 (a)(e) of the 1992 Constitution, NUGS on behalf of Students of Ghana appreciates the independent authority and functions of the EC without undermining the inputs of the various election stakeholders like the political parties, civil society and citizenry at large. Whichever way the debate may fall; one question stands tall amongst all the arguments; What does the constitution say concerning electoral matters? The reference answer remains Article 45 and 46.”
Mr Hyde noted that all debates must cease, egos must be put aside and cool heads must be allowed to prevail for the EC to execute its mandate judiciously to the good people of Ghana.
He further called on all political parties and stakeholders to continue to use the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meetings to engage the EC on their concerns.
The NUGS President noted that it is very much concerned about the Ghanaian student having a sound and safe environment which fosters academic excellence and “consequently we strongly call on all stakeholders to respect the independence of the EC and desist from acts of intimidation, coercion and inducement directed at obstructing the EC from its constitutional mandate of conducting a credible, free and fair election or stampeding it to take any decision that will mar the beauty of election 2020. We demand nothing short of a free, fair and transparent election from the EC.”
NUGS further urged the Electoral Commission to do well to engage all opposing parties and stakeholders in a manner that shows respect and appreciation of their views in a democratic space.
“The EC must be transparent in its dealings with all political parties and stakeholders, and to work assiduously to allay their fears in order to command strong confidence and trust in the electoral process,” Mr Hyde stated.