Voter Registration: If EC doesn’t want IPAC to be mere rubber stamp, its views must be respected – Bobby Banson

Private legal practitioner, Bobby Banson has called on the Electoral Commission to respect the views of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) amid controversies surrounding the limited voter registration exercise.

Speaking on Newsfile, on Saturday, Mr Banson stated that had the EC taken into consideration the concerns of the numerous parties and implemented them or came to an agreement, the lawsuit and other controversies after the announcement of the exercise could have been avoided.

He noted that “if the Electoral Commission wants IPAC not to be just a mere rubber stamp but is supposed to garner consensus on some of these very sensitive and essential democratic exercises, then they should be respecting the legitimate views of members of that IPAC.”

“The parties that have sued the EC are supposed to be members of the IPAC, but if these things were addressed at that level and what rolled out satisfied all these concerns, we would not have this hullabaloo about this exercise which will now affect the credibility of the EC and even credibility of the officers of the EC,” Mr Banson said.

He stated that the EC’s decision to go ahead with the exercise has raised tensions especially since all the parties want their party supporters to be registered voters ahead of the elections.

Last week, the Electoral Commission announced that it will commence the 2023 voters’ registration exercise on Tuesday, September 12, and end on Monday, October 2. 

In the said announcement, the Commission added that the exercise will take place at its district offices across the country. The EC also disclosed a GH¢10 charge for the replacement of a lost or misplaced voter’s ID card.

However, this did not sit well with many parties who believed holding the exercise at district offices would limit the registration process, disenfranchising eligible Ghanaian voters.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) and four other political parties on Thursday, September 7 sued the Electoral Commission (EC) over its insistence on conducting the 2023 limited voter registration exercise at its district offices.

The suit which is joined by the Convention People’s Party (CPP), All People’s Congress (APC), Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG) and the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) say the decision will disenfranchise many eligible voters. 

NDC, 4 other parties sue EC over limited voters registration

They are thus asking the Supreme Court to prevent the electoral management body from proceeding with the exercise pending the final determination of the substantive matter.

But, the case is yet to be heard by the court.

Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Sulemana Braimah, has denounced the conduct of the Electoral Commission (EC) in the ongoing Limited Voter Registration exercise.

Limited Voter Registration: We’re hindering democratic participation, making it costly – Braimah

According to him, the manner in which the exercise is being conducted makes it “difficult” and “expensive” for applicants living in underdeveloped areas to participate. 

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