Voters register, cost factor should not become a barrier – Asantehene

The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, says cost factor must not be allowed to become a barrier to the search for a more credible electoral roll that would be acceptable to everybody.

“I know that cost continues, as it always must be, to be a factor in our consideration of such matters but I dare suggest that this is so fundamental for the protection of our democracy, and ultimately the country’s peace of mind, that cost should not be a stumbling block in pursuing what is best and desirable.”

The Asantehene, who was speaking at the annual conference of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) in Kumasi, urged the association to offer its professional opinion on the state of the current voters’ register.

This, he said, was important considering the conflicting positions taken by politicians based purely on partisan political interest and considerations.

He reminded the lawyers that they had a stake in protecting the integrity of Ghana’s electoral system and the survival of its democracy.

The week-long meeting of the association is under the theme: “Rule of law, access to justice and sustainable development. The panacea to political and economic progress of a nation state”.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu noted that the nation could not seek fairness in elections, without seeking first the credibility of the process.

He made reference to the international community’s concern for the sustenance of democracy through credible elections and noted that they would “find it of greater value to help fund a credible process that delivered a fair and just result than to pay for the unpredictable consequences of flawed elections”.

He acknowledged that the big challenge that could face the GBA was whether the members could provide professional judgements “faithfully and truthfully without regard to any party considerations – it is the challenge of our time, the challenge of conscience and of professional integrity”.

The Asantehene rallied support for the new Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), to do critical analysis of the lessons learnt from the past and how best to proceed, going forward.

Former President John Agyekum Kufuor, described the bribery scandal that had rocked the judicial system as “perverse and abominable”.

He said access to justice and rule of law were essential vital to the promotion of sustainable development and underlined the need to ensure that mechanisms and institutions put in place to check corruption worked in the judicial service

Mr. Dominic Ayine, Deputy Minister of Justice, noted that the rule of law and access to justice could be achieved if there was judicial integrity.

He called for the expansion of the Ghana Law School, to allow more people the opportunity to receive legal education. GNA

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