The leadership of the Let My Vote Count Alliance (LMVCA) has denied claims by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Charlotte Kesson Smith Osei, to the effect that they have already submitted a petition on the ongoing debate for a new voters’ register to the Commission.
In an attempt to flay the decision of the pressure group to picket and present a petition at the EC headquarters which has fiercely been resisted by the state through the use of the police and the courts, Charlotte Osei claimed they had already sent a petition and, therefore, wondered why they wanted to picket at the EC office which she insists is a security zone in spite of a court ruling to the contrary.
Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, Mrs Osei even sought to ridicule the group by saying the LMVCA could simply send a petition “without shouting” about it.
In a statement however, Convener of the LMVCA, David Asante, said, “We wish to place on record that we have not sent any petition to the EC.”
Instead, he indicated that “all the attempts made so far by us to picket and present our petition have been frustrated by the state.”
That, he said was because “we have been pelted with rubber bullets, sprayed with tear gas, bombed with hot water cannons, lashed with horsewhips and battered with batons by the police all in our efforts to demonstrate to the EC our campaign for a new, credible register.”
On the EC boss’ claim that the group can present their petition quietly and that there is “no need to shout”, David said, “It is a matter of opinion.”
As a former chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), he said, “Mrs Osei is fully aware that the 1992 Constitution expressly guarantees the right to demonstrate, since according to him, “Article 21(1) (d) of the Constitution grants the “freedom of assembly, including freedom to take part in processions and demonstrations to every citizen.”
“We hope it is not to suggest that she is against Ghanaians exercising their democratic right to use demonstration as a legitimate means of sending a message to the EC, the body authorised to help give representative meaning to our democracy,” he averred.
Meanwhile, the leadership of the LMVCA has expressed concern about the EC boss’ slow-paced approach in answering the question of whether or not Ghanaians would get a new register for 2016.
Even though the Commission has now set the end of October for each of the political parties to make a 30-minute oral presentation in support of documents already presented, they believe “this is either an incompetent and superfluous manner of going about dealing with this most important issue or simply a deliberate tactic on the part of the EC to delay taking a decision so that by the time it finally takes one we might all find it practically too late to begin the actual process of getting a new register.”
By Charles Takyi-Boadu