PRESS STATEMENT ON THE IMPENDING BYE ELECTION AT THE AYAWASO WEST WUOGON CONSTITUENCY

  1. Following the death of Hon Kyeremanteng Agyarko, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency, the Electoral Commission in consultations with the registered Political Parties in Ghana slated the 31st of January 2019 for a bye election to fill the vacant seat.
  2. In as much as we commend the Electoral Commission for responding to its call to duty and fulfilling its constitutionally imposed mandate of fixing a date for the bye election to replace the deceased Member of Parliament, we, as a youth development and empowerment organization, wish to express grave concern about the potential attempt to disenfranchise some young Ghanaian citizens in the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency who turned 18 years after the 2016 General Elections.
  3. The Electoral Laws of Ghana enjoins the Electoral Commission to revise the Voters’ roll every year while the Electoral Reforms Committee set up by the Electoral Commission in 2013 also recommended continuous voter registration to ensure that all young Ghanaians are captured on the voters’ roll at all times and prior to all elections. Article 42 of the fundamental laws of the land, the 1992 Constitution, also enjoins the Electoral Commission to register all Ghanaians who turn 18 years to prepare them to participate in all elections.
  4. Unfortunately, even though the Electoral Commission has been able to fix a date for the impending Ayawaso West Wuogon Bye Elections, the Commission has neglected its duty to enfranchise all the young Ghanaians who turned 18 years after the 2016 General Elections in the Constituency. In other words, there has been no registration exercise for the teaming young people who attained the voting age of 18 after 2016 and are now eligible to vote.
  5. As a youth development and empowerment agency, we are unable to sit idle
  6. while some young people are blatantly disenfranchised through the Electoral Commission’s act of omission or commission.  The situation is worrying because over the years, the Commission’s neglect of its constitutional duty to register first time voters (those who turn 18 after the previous General Elections) prior to bye-elections, appears to have been institutionalized as the norm rather than the exception. This act of negligence and dereliction of duty must never be countenanced as it indicts the commitment of the Commission to youth participation in the electoral processes of Ghana.
  7. We therefore call on the Electoral Commission to open a limited registration exercise for all the young constituents of Ayawaso West Wuogon who are eligible to vote and yet, have not been registered.
  8. We call on the Commission to treat this call as very important in promoting inclusion, and act on it with a sense of urgency in demonstration of its respect for the teaming youth and young voter population of Ghana. Failure to heed to this sincere and genuine call, may compel us to seek redress at the appropriate quarters.
  9. Long Live Ghana, Long Live Young Future Leaders of Ghana

Thank you

SIGNED

Seth Oteng

Executive Director