The opposition New Patriotic Party would have to present a thoroughly researched and convincing evidence to back its claims that some Togolese nationals are registered on the Ghanaian electoral roll. That is the expectation of a member of the governing National Democratic Congress’ legal team, Victor Adawudu.
The NPP has over the past few months been protesting what it says is the inclusion of some non-Ghanaians, particularly Togolese, on the country’s electoral roll.
The party’s claims have since fuelled calls from some pressure groups and key personalities in the society for the creation of a new voters’ register ahead of Ghana’s 2016 polls.
But speaking on the JoyNews’ AM Show on MultiTV, Mr. Adawudu said the opposition party is yet to present any credible evidence to back its claims of a bloated register.
He told AM Talk Host Roland Walker that there are processes you need to go through” if one wants to raise an objection to an electoral process.
“Why has it taken the NPP so long to come out with evidence they purport to have? Why have they not done a study in other border regions?” he queried.
According to Mr. Adawudu, Ghana’s law recognizes dual citizenship so the NPP needs to do adequate background checks to ensure that those it claims are non-Ghanaians are equally not dual citizens.
Citing examples of the communal relations between Ghanaians living on the Ghana-Togo and Ghana-Ivory Coast borders, Mr. Adawudu said “if you look at the social origin, the relation, where siblings are living on the borders [and] you have conferred dual citizenship, now you need to find out whether those people are citizens of Ghana.”
The criteria or requirement for Ghanaian citizenship he noted are “by birth. One of your parents should be a Ghanaian or one of your grandparents should be a Ghanaian. Once that person is identified as a citizen then he can register to vote”.
He said it is important to note that “there’s no law which says that citizens of dual countries cannot vote”.
He argued the NPP’s evidence presented so far showed only the faces of the purported foreigners. “It doesn’t show the electoral or polling station where the people are, it neither shows the polling station number or ID card numbers for both what happened in Togo or what is in Ghana.”
He however proffered solutions to the NPP’s grievances.
“If you believe that somebody is not qualified to be on the voters’ register, there’s an opportunity that has been made by the CI 72. You query, when you query, you go through the normal process”.
He also said we cannot just change the register because we are unhappy with it. “The register has a basis in law” indicating that the constitution allows the Electoral Commission to review the register after a census in every 7 or 10 years.