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Opinion

Special voting saga

Chapter 7 of the the 1992 constitution is the REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE under which Article 42 grants every citizen of Ghana who is 18 years of age and above, of sound mind the right to vote and the entitlement to be registered as a voter for the purposes of public elections and referenda.

Do members of the security services who were disenfranchised yesterday fall in the category of people mentioned by the constitution to be of sound mind, 18 years and above and finally Ghanaians? Then “na who koraaaa” cause this massive disenfranchisement of the security services?

I will not blame the Electoral Commission alone for that.

Because we don’t do mainstream politics, our destiny as voters were in the hands of our respective administrations and high commands as security officers to ensure that our names are found on the voters register by working hand in hand with the Electoral Commission and respective political parties. For the fear of being accused by some of these unscrupulous politicians that the security services are riging the elections, we left it in the hands of Electoral Commission alone to do it and provide us with the list whilst we could have worked together with the Electoral Commission and all the political parties involved in preparing the list for special voters particularly with that of the security services.

It’s just the way issues of human rights are handled in the security services that led to this whole disenfranchisement of security officers. It’s about how the rights of members of security services are trampled upon in this country with much impunity in the security services and no one cares. Members of the security services are always taken for granted when it comes to issue of human rights particularly when it about voting and politics.

Our views and opinions do not matter. We are censored.

I don’t blame the Electoral Commission for whatever that happened but lack of constant engagements between the Electoral Commission and the security services to have teamed up with the political parties to ensure that every member of security service personnel who is of sound mind had his or her name captured on the voters roll and that of special list in particular. It’s the responsibility of the various administration in the security services to ensure that the names of their members are found on the register and no one else.

This is not the first time this is happening. In past elections, it happened so what prevented us from learning from the past if we really wanted to improve upon the situation?

As a young police officer who has taken part of previous election duties at the polling stations, I find it very difficult to point accusing fingers at our electoral systems that they can be used as a vehicle to rig elections if politicians are not mischievous at times. He who points accusing fingers at the Electoral Commission for disenfranchising the security officers just to rig the elections may be mischievous and far from the reality since no one can readily conclude that the numerous security officers who could not vote belong to party A or B.

Riging should be calculated and targeted but this situation seems spontaneous. What I see is various security services administrations sitting on the fence in the electoral processes building up to the 2016 general elections. They only submitted the list of their members and left the rest in the hands of the Electoral Commission. We didn’t really care much about it. Ours is just to keep the peace and for that matter ensuring that each of our members had his or her name on the special voting register is not our priority.

We are in a country that it is a crime to talk about politics if you are security officer so we cannot express our opinion and views on political issues which affect us directly or indirectly. Instead of us to take the appropriate steps to consolidate our much touted all inclusive democracy which suppress and oppress rights of members of the security services in areas of freedom of expression and voting rights, we have rather relegated them to the background for the fear that they will pick up arms and overthrow governments if given the chance. It’s a pity at times to be a security officer in this our country called Ghana.

Our democracy is not friendly to the rights of the members of the security services so it should not really be a problem at all if we are massively disenfranchised. It’s not the first time and certainly might not be the last too. There are a lot more issues of human rights in the security services that needs to be tackled on a grand scale and not only about disenfranchisement.

The truth is that members of the security services in particular do not have human rights so disenfranchising them should not be a big deal at all. Our prayers should be intensified so that come December 7, majority of the the civilian population should not be disenfranchised like what happened to the security officers. For them, they can’t demonstrate to press for their constitutional rights but the civilian will always do.

Should that happen, that is when we will realised that members of the security services have a big role to play to ensure that not only their members have their names on the voters register but every Ghanaian who is of sound mind and above 18 years so that we can continue to enjoy the peace and stability as a country. Should that happen, I wonder the number of press releases that the EC will issue to rectify the situation. It’s might be too late for us as a country.

In ensuring for free, fair and transparent elections do the rights of the security services really matter? We were all in this country when “the better human beings” embarked on various demonstrations to ensure that their names are found in the voters register in order not to be disenfranchised. What did we do to ensure that members of the security services who cannot demonstrate by virtue of the fact that they belong to class of workers known as essential service providers?

Our rights do not matter so we can be disenfranchised and trust me no one dares to complain. If you really want to complain, then resort to the long chains of command systems of addressing complaints in the security services by which time, the votes might have been counted and the winner declared whether you voted or not. It’s sad!

In as much as IPAC is not a constitutionally recognised body to address electoral issues, what prevented the heads of the security services to address issues concerning the special voting particularly that of their members on that platform? At this juncture, we only felt that the role of members of the security services to be on duty at the polling stations just ensure that there is law and order for members of the general public to vote in a situation whereby they themselves are heavily disenfranchised.

Compiling the list of special voters should not be a problem at all, particularly with the members of the security services. The various administration and high commands in the security services know the number of their members already so where lies the problem in compiling the list that exist already? It’s just the way things are done in this country as far as the rights of security services members are concerned. There are no human rights in barracks so we should not worry our heads over this. Let’s think about December 7.

The list should have been ready long ago and be given to the security services to check and double check, give it back to the EC for necessary rectifications before the master list should come out one or two months to the elections. We waited till the last hour before we started rushing the whole process just to meet December 1 and 7 deadline together with the Electoral Commission.

Here we are many security services members went to the various polling stations to cast their votes only to be turned away. For some, it’s not the first time they are being disenfranchised.

Hopefully in 2020 too, they will be disenfranchised whilst we look on unconcerned. Our beloved country Ghana, is just a problem country at times and we should admit it. Next four years too, definitely some will still not vote. If you like, mark my words on the wall.

I hear those disenfranchised can vote on Sunday though but how should we continue to have these frustrations just to elect political leaders who often take us for granted? I have just lost the interest in voting koraaaa.

Source: Ahanta Apemenyimheneba Kwofie III

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