A grand demonstration was staged outside the forecourt of No.10 Downing Street, Richmond Terrace on the Westminster Street in London, on Friday 6th November, by a group that identified itself as concerned Ghanaians in the UK. Defiant to the inclement weather in London, Ghanaians in their numbers arrived at the venue, sheltered under brollies.
Some of them, ignored umbrella shelter, and enjoyed the cold Friday morning showers in soaked clothes. Clad in red head bands, and others in national colours, the demonstrators wielded placards, some of which read: Election 2016 Under Threat; Ghana Elections is for Ghanaians; New Voters Register Now; NDC and EC in Bed; There Will Not be Another Court Case; No Fair Elections No Peace, and many more.
Amid brass band music, the picketing party made the whole area colourful in red and black as the majority of demonstrators were in red clothes and head bands, others in red scarfs, or in national colours, danced as usual, chanting repeated songs and slogans for the Ghana E.C to change the bloated voters register.
Non-Ghanaian passersby, stopped and read the scripted messages on the placards, whiles others took down notes, as well as photos of the placards and the banners and others joining in the pump. Amongst attracted passersby were local and international Press personnel who hide around for news and events to, and from No.10 Downing Street and Whitehall.
At 11:45 GMT, the leaders of the demonstrators went through to the security checks at the gates to the Prime Minister’s residence and office at No.10 Dawning Street, following a pre-arranged permission, where they presented a big brown envelope, containing a written petition, and exhibits of images of multiple Ghanaian registrants, cross border registrants of mainly Togolese nationals, a few of Burkina, and Ivorian nationalities, as well as images of Ghana police brutalities recently meted on peaceful demonstrators against the existing flawed register in Accra.
Aside petitioning the British Prime Minister and the British government, the petitioners sent similar thick and heavy brown envelope to the gates of the British Parliament addressed to the Hon. Speaker of the British Parliament. Other authorities who received copies of the petition and supporting documents were the Commonwealth Secretariat, the United Nations UK representative, the European Union, the German Chancellor, through the German Ambassador in the UK, the Pope through the Vatican Pronuncio, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and several European governments through their Embassies.
The demonstrators cannot fathom why the E.C, through its Chairperson seeks to create fear and panic in Ghana as an excuse for avoiding the compilation of a new credible voters register for 2016 elections. The Chairperson of the E.C, Mrs. Charlotte Osei at the stakeholders forum organised, stated that “Ghana’s security might be threatened by any move to compile a new register”. This, the demonstrators wondered if the Ghana Electoral Commission is now a Security Intelligence Agency.
Below is a full text of the petition presented to the UK Prime Minister and copied to other international authorities.
6th November 2015
Our Ref: 001/COGEF/COGUK/06/15
The Right Honourable Prime Minister. 10, Downing Street
London SW1A 2AA.
Re: Petition in Support of Ghanaians Calling for Replacement of Ghana’s Current Flawed Voters Register.
We are concerned Ghanaians living in the United Kingdom, and we do hereby seek your indulgence, and the support of your government, in acting in solidarity with our compatriots in Ghana, who have stood up against the use of a flawed voters register, for use in the December 2016 General and Presidential elections.
We are dismayed with happenings and mis-happenings currently underscoring our Ghanaian democracy. We sense and feel serious mischievous simmering forebodings, currently in zygote stage of development, that if not earlier dealt with, can result in internecine carnage in Ghana within the next 12 months, and which requires immediate attention from our international partners and development communities, whom we trust, are in a better position to forefend it.
Our concerns have all been outlined in detail in an attached preamble, followed by our request in the form of a petition. Attached with our petition are sample exhibits of double and multiple registration which have been discovered in tens of thousands, cross border registrants from neighbouring Togo, Burkina and the Ivory Coast, also in several hundred thousand, who are transported, or allowed into Ghana by the ruling National Democratic Congress Party, as ‘voting mercenaries’ during general elections, to vote for them, and also Ghana police brutalities on peaceful demonstrators against the flawed register.
We hope our request will meet with your kind attention, for urgent action.
We have the honour to be Sir.
—— Signed ——-
(Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa)
For and on behalf of Concerned Ghanaians in the UK.
Ghana has been in democracy for quite a brief period however, the trend of our democracy in its current situation is raising serious matters of concern. There have been simmering electoral problems since the 2008 elections that were overlooked, but which collectively have given rise to on-going agitations in the country. It is equally appreciated that cheating in elections is equal to unlawfully subverting the sovereign will of the people.
A study of conflict in African Sates reveals two main causative factors – ethnicity and elections. In spite the various political and ethnic issues that underscored the conflict in Liberia, electoral rigging catapulted the nation into the carnage which disgraced Africa and humanity.
Electoral disputes have plagued Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Benin, Kenya, Zimbabwe etc. Most times, a notorious phenomenon of “power sharing” becomes the only perceivable “ad hoc” apology, yet this becomes a lingering canker, and that is not the best. Ultimately, Ghana can only stabilize and deepen democracy through an electoral system that will put results beyond dispute.
Ghana was at the brink of conflict in December 2008. Candidate Prof. Mills of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and subsequently President Mills warned that a Rwanda-style civil war was imminent. Heavily body built macho men became part of the process as candidates engaged their defensive services. Deaths occurred, several were maimed. Some Ghanaians looked for their passports and sought solace abroad, as many stored food against an expected “war”. Churches and Mosques were filled with panic-stricken prayer warriors.
Electoral reforms have become inevitably imperative in Ghana, most especially after the Supreme Court judgment on the Presidential Election Petition. Between 2013 and 2015, there has not been any move by the Ghanaian Electoral Commission to reform or review the electoral process which has been pregnant with controversies, which in fact led to the Post –Election Supreme Court Petition.
Ghanaian civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the Christian Council of Ghana, the Peace Council of Ghana, Catholic Bishops conference of Ghana, and opposition political parties have all submitted petitions to the Ghanaian Electoral Commission, to which the Commission has cast a blind eye.
A recent attempt by pro-democracy groups, LET MY VOTE COUNT ALLIANCE (LMVCA) to demonstrate in front of the premises of the Ghanaian Electoral Commission and to present a petition to them was met with police intimidations and brutalities with near fatal consequences. In this regard all internal avenues to agitate for reforms have been shut by the Commission, its agents and assigns- in this case the ruling political party the NDC and Ghana Police.
A foreboding doom therefore looms across Ghana in 2016, if the recommendations made by the Supreme Court, and appeals by civil society organisations are not adhered to, buttressed by revelations of anomalies in the current electoral roll that are not cured.
According to the Electoral Commission, in 2012, the total number of registered voters for both the parliamentary and Presidential elections was 13,628,817.
After the elections, the EC indicated and gazetted that the figure for the total registered voters for the Presidential election alone was 14,158,890. This triggered controversy, so whiles the controversy kept raging on, the EC explained that the difference in the numbers between presidential votes and parliamentary votes was due to overseas registered voters who were registered for presidential voting but not parliamentary voting.
Ghanaian overseas registered voters, according to the EC, do not vote in the parliamentary election because they are not deemed to belong to constituencies, though they all belong to constituencies in Ghana. They are however entitled to vote in the presidential election, he claimed. This explanation given by the EC is totally wrong and unacceptable, because they all hail from known constituencies.
The Electoral Commissioner initially refused to support its assertion with figures until they were compelled by an order of the Supreme Court to disclose the actual figures for overseas registered voters who were mainly people serving in missions or peacekeeping duties. Finally, the EC could only provide the names of 705 registered voters, out of the 241,000.
In the words of Dr. Afari Gyan, who was then the Electoral Commissioner, he said in a statement concerning Ghana’s 2008 voters register that:
“If our population is indeed 22 million, then perhaps 13 million people on our register would be statistically unacceptable by world standards. If that is the case, then it may mean that there is something wrong with our register,” he concluded. The EC Chairman appealed thus: “All of us as Ghanaians, if we think the figure is not realistic, we have a collective responsibility to try to clean the register. Such situation surely undermines confidence and must give way to a better system.”
If the statement issued by the Electoral Commissioner is anything to go by, then the 56.20% voter population in 2012 elections out of a population of twenty-five (25) million people must be equally unacceptable by world standards.
In ascertaining facts based on suspicion, recently a team of biometric facial recognition technologists have compared the Ghana voters register against our neighbouring Togolese register, and found matches of 76,000 names on both registers. These voters were recognised with the same names, with the same facial and other features on the voters registers of both countries.
On 31st July 2014, in a Supreme Court ruling in Abu Ramadan v the Republic, the Electoral Commission was enjoined to remove 700,000 names from the voters register, by reason of entries that they had already made illegally.
We hereby conclude our preamble with a statement by Mr Kofi Annan, former United Nations Secretary-General that the successfully adjudicated petition in court “must not blind us to the flaws in our electoral system that the judicial review has brought to light… All concerned parties need to work energetically to ensure that these flaws are addressed through the necessary institutional reforms. We have a bright future to build together as Ghanaian people. The future begins today”.
At a recent open forum, organised by the EC on the incredibly bloated voters register, the two major political Parties in Ghana, the NDC and the NPP, both concurred that the register was flawed, but they could not congree on what could be done to cure it. We the concerned Ghanaians in the UK, and across the world, believe sincerely that, creating a new one that is clean and transparent is the only way to bring confidence and credibility into the voting process, and also what can establish peace and tranquillity in Ghana’s democracy.
In view of the forgoing, we the Ghanaian community in the UK, under the banner of Concerned Ghanaians in The United Kingdom (COGUK), have followed the on-going electoral reforms debate. We do believe that the only best solution will be, to scrape the current bloated and incurable register for a fresh, clean, transparent and credible register, and seek your indulgence with a petition.
We the concerned Ghanaians in the UK, do hereby petition the Government of the United Kingdom, for your involvement and intervention in a situation that can potentially trigger internecine conflict in Ghana with the following actions below:
To support the position that calls for a new, credible, and transparent voters register in Ghana.
To use your high powered international influence and authority to directly intervene to forestall any future bloody conflict.
To support the people of Ghana in seeking justice in our electoral processes, and ultimately lasting peace and stability, by not necessarily maintaining the current voters register, as this may backfire in future into mayhem.
Finally, we wish to reaffirm our historical colonial background, our commitment to the British Commonwealth, and our trust and confidence in your international and diplomatic capacity to negotiate and resolve.
Ghanaians are fully committed to democracy, but not at the expense of any fraudulent electoral system that is capable of undermining to subvert the sovereign will and the choice of the people.
Democracy in Ghana is currently the last vestige of the existence of Ghanaians, an achievement that must not be allowed to slide back into the dark days of post-colonial autocracy and dictatorship. It is therefore our prayer that you analyse our cause, and lend us the needed support with the urgency that has been requested
Signed for and on behalf of Concerned Ghanaians against Electoral Fraud (COGEF) UK.
Source: CENAB UK Advocacy Group.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www. cenab.org