The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has accused the Electoral Commission (EC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) of plotting to illegally transfer the vote of an unqualified NPP aspirant to the Assin North voters’ register. The NDC claims that Charles Opoku, who intends to contest in the upcoming Assin North by-election, is not a registered voter in the constituency.
The EC has dismissed these allegations as unfounded and malicious, saying that it has not received any request from the NPP to change any voter’s details. The EC also clarified that according to the 1992 Constitution, a person does not have to be a registered voter in a specific constituency to be eligible to run for election there. The person only needs to be a Ghanaian citizen, at least 21 years old, of sound mind, and a registered voter. Additionally, the person must either be ordinarily resident in the constituency or have lived there for at least five years out of the previous ten years.
The NDC’s National Communications Officer, Sammy Gyamfi, issued a statement on Sunday alleging that Charles Opoku is not a registered voter in Assin North and that his name was being inserted into the voters’ register by the EC and the NPP. He said this was contrary to the requirement on the nomination form for the by-election, which states that a candidate must be a registered voter in Assin North.
The EC refuted this claim and stated that being a registered voter in a constituency is not a requirement for contesting elections there. The EC also expressed its displeasure with the NDC for constantly making baseless accusations against state institutions like them, which only serve to undermine and weaken Ghana’s democracy.
The EC assured Ghanaians of its commitment to transparency, fairness, and integrity in all its operations. It said that it has been the most transparent and accountable Commission since its inception, conducting its duties in accordance with the Constitution.
The EC also confirmed that it has set Tuesday, June 27, 2023, as the date for the by-election in Assin North following the Supreme Court’s ruling that annulled the election of James Gyakye Quayson as MP for Assin North. The court ruled that he was a Canadian citizen when he contested and won the seat in 2020 and ordered Parliament to expunge his name from its records.
Below is the full statement by the EC
RE: NPP AND THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION IN A PLOT TO ILLEGALLY INSERT THE NAME OF AN UNQUALIFIED NPP PARLIAMENTARY CANDIDATE INTO THE ASSIN NORTH VOTERS’ REGISTER
The Electoral Commission’s attention has been drawn to a misleading press statement attributed to the National Communications Officer of the NDC alleging collaboration between the NPP and the EC for the purpose of transferring the vote of one Charles Opoku to the Assin North Constituency to enable him to contest the upcoming by-election in the said constituency.
We wish to state that this is not true.
For the records, the EC has not received any such request from the NPP to transfer the votes of any person. This allegation is false and a figment of the author’s imagination. As usual, it is aimed at maligning the integrity of the Electoral Commission.
Per Article 94 of the 1992 Constitution, a person does not need to be a registered voter in a particular constituency to enable him/ her to contest an election in that constituency.
Per the Constitution, simply hailing from a constituency entitles a person to contest an election in that constituency so long as the person is
Twenty-one years and above
Of sound mind
And a registered voter
In the event that a person who wishes to contest in a particular constituency does not hail from that constituency, that person will be eligible to contest if he/she is ordinarily resident in that constituency or has been a resident there for a total period of not less than five years out of the ten years immediately preceding the election for which he/she stands.
We make this point to buttress the fact that a person who hails from a constituency per the Constitution need not be a registered voter in the constituency he /she wishes to contest in. Simply hailing from there is enough.
As such there is no reason to engage in transfers as alleged by the NDC Communications Officer.
It is a well-known fact that the current Commission has been the most transparent and accountable in its operations. The Commission has carried out its mandate in strict consonance with the Constitution.
To date, the NDC has not proved a single allegation they have made against the EC.
The continuous maligning of state institutions such as the EC by the NDC only weakens and undermines our democracy.
The EC will continue to uphold transparency, fairness, and integrity in all its operations. We urge the good people of Ghana to trust us to continue to deliver credible elections.