Mahama beats retreat on new register

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Former President John Mahama has made a volte-face on the compilation of a new voters’ register as he urges chiefs in the Volta Region to patronize the exercise regardless of the decision of the Supreme Court on his party’s case on the subject.

The former President broke the news about his newfound stance which he put it out rather shrewdly and subtly as he told his guests during a community engagement in the Tongor area at South Dayi, Volta Region.

His guests could have wondered about what accounted for the sudden change of position but can console themselves with the cynical dictum that ‘only fools do not change their minds.’

He urged the chiefs and others to use their leverage to encourage the citizens to go out and register for the new voters’ card when the time is due regardless of which way the pendulum swings to in the Supreme Court case sent to the apex judicature by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) which initially sought to stop the whole registration exercise and now rather seeking the inclusion of the old voters’ card as proof of citizenship of Ghana.

He, therefore, urged his audience to register so they can vote on December 7, 2020.

Go And Vote

“I want to remind all our citizens that this year is an election year. The Electoral Commission has decided that it wants to conduct a registration exercise,” he said.

“We had disagreements with the Electoral Commission on what register to use and the matter has been at the Supreme Court and we are waiting for the Supreme Court for its verdict,” he said.

No Violence

In another sign of departure from the much touted sabre-rattling by NDC leaders and their assigns over the new register, the former President said “whatever verdict the Supreme Court gives, we are ready to be law-abiding citizens so we shall respect the verdict of the court.”

Having glaringly resigned to his fate, the former President said “whatever verdict comes from the Supreme Court, a new voters’ register will be compiled.”

Altering Stance

It would be recalled that during an earlier sitting of the apex court the NDC altered their previous stance by concurring that the EC can compile a new voters’ register.

They had opposed this earlier claiming that the commission has no constitutional authority to compile a replacement of the electoral roll.

“But whatever the verdict is, there is going to be a registration exercise whether a limited registration, new registration exercise, or validation of an existing register. Whichever registration it is, I would like to plead with Togbui to beat the gong to all our people to come out and register so that in December they can register and exercise their votes,” he said.

Plan B

Before the NDC reached this milestone, many said cynically that even as the party maintained antagonism against the compilation of a new voters’ register, it was busy organizing itself towards campaigning for its members to avail themselves of the opportunity.

Flawed Results

Ghanaians were stunned recently when the former President said the NDC would not accept the outcome of flawed polls when the election had not even been held.

Many wondered whether the party was going to tread the path of violence, with the former President boasting some time ago of his party’s antecedence when it comes to matters of rough tactics.

“As a party, we have participated in every election in the 4th Republic, and we have a history of accepting the results of elections whenever we have believed in the integrity of the poll. As the leader of the NDC, I wish to serve notice that we shall do all in our part to make sure that the country remains peaceful and that the electoral process proceeds smoothly. But, let nobody assume that we will accept the results of a flawed election,” Mahama said during the NDC’s 28th anniversary celebration.

In Court

The party had until it changed its stance argued that the EC lacks the power to go ahead with its plans because it can only “compile a register of voters only once, and thereafter revise it periodically, as may be determined by law.”

The NDC, in its case, is also praying the court to declare as illegal the decision of the EC not to use the old voter ID cards as proof of Ghanaian identity for the compilation of the new register.

The party subsequently dropped its case against the new register and opted for a ruling on the rejection of the existing voter ID as a form of identification to register to vote.

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