An attorney championing the course of prisoners in the ongoing biometric registration exercise has threatened to drag the Electoral Commission to the Supreme Court if it fails to register inmates of the various prisons. Lawyer Kojo Graham says the EC has a constitutional obligation to allow the prisoners to exercise their fundamental human rights of electing their leaders.

In an interview with XYZ News on Thursday, Lawyer Graham said, officials of the commission have no excuse to prevent prisoners from registering in the national exercise and that he will fight any attempt at curtailing the basic rights of the convicts.

“We don’t want to jump the gun. We want to wait until the biometric registration is over then we will review the position and see what has been done. But one thing is clear; if at the end of the day, the evaluation is done and we believe that the terms of the Supreme Court judgement have not been complied with, we will take the necessary steps and go to the Supreme Court to seek redress.”

According to him, much as he appreciates the challenges facing the commission in delivering on the mandate, “how they do that is their business,” and that “anything that is short of giving prisoners the right to vote, we will raise the issues that we believe will have to be addressed at another level.”

Lawyer Graham debunked assertions that registering prisoners will pose some security threats, stating the exercise will be undertaken within the walls of the prison and that should not pose any threats to the nations.

But the Director of Public Relations at the EC, Christian Owusu Parry told XYZ News in an interview that the commission will register prisoners despite the delays.

“We have arrangements to register the prisoners and indeed we said we will register them in the fourth and final stage of the registration exercise,” he stated.

He went on the add that: “the regulation allows the EC to vary the period for registration of prisoners; so it doesn’t matter that the national registration exercise is ending on Saturday. The commission can still make arrangements outside the national registration period to register the inmates and we will do that.”

Mr. Owusu Parry said the EC has been having consultations with the prison authorities and the right frameworks are being put in place to ensure that the inmates can be captured in the exercise. He said a key requirement is for the inmates to show a form of identity. The difficulty, he stated, is because some prisoners provided identification cards that were different from what had been captured on their data in the prisons.

He however gave the assurance that “we are surely going to register [the prisoners].”

Ex-convict, Fraser Aryee, accused past governments of failing to live up to promises made to prisoners. He told XYZ News that Ghana’s leaders only make the promises and refuse to bring them into fruition.

He said assertions that, prisoners are unable to be captured due to the use of pseudonyms are unfounded, insisting the prison’s code does not allow inmates to be referred to by such names and that it could not be a plausible reason why the prisoners have not been made to vote.

Fraser stressed that prisoners are also human beings and should therefore be allowed to exercise such rights.

Source:  Radioxyz

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