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A youth group calling itself the Youth Bridge Foundation, wants the Electoral Commission to immediately conduct a limited registration exercise in the Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency ahead of the by-election in the area.

The group said the move will allow residents who have attained the age 18, to exercise their franchise during the by-election.

In a statement, they said many residents will be disenfranchised if the Electoral Commission ignores the call.

“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,” the group said in a statement signed by its convener, Seth Oteng.

The by-election slated for January 31, 2019, has become necessary following the death of the Member of Parliament of the constituency, Emmanuel Kyeremanteng Agyarko.

The Youth Bridge Foundation commended the Electoral Commission for efforts put in place to hold the by-election, adding that the Commission is enjoined by electoral laws of Ghana to hold such limited registration exercises in order not to “disenfranchise some young Ghanaian citizens…who turned 18 years after the 2016 General Elections.”

“As a youth development and empowerment agency, we are unable to sit idle 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 before 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,” the group added in a statement.

Ayawaso West Wuogon has a voter population of about 60,000.

The EC says it will use the 2016 voters register for the conduct of the election.

EC sued over Jan. 31 Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election

The Constituency Chairman of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Ayawaso West Wuogon, Bismark Aborbi-Ayitey, has already dragged the EC to the Supreme Court challenging the January 31, 2018 date set by the Electoral Commission for the by-election in the area.

According to the suit, which has the Electoral Commission and the Attorney General as defendants, the 31st January 2019 date exceeds the 60-day period as stipulated in the constitution.

“A declaration that the decision of the 2nd defendant to conduct and supervise the bye-elections in Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency on January 31, 2019, and not before or on January 26, 2019, is inconsistent with and in contravention of Article 112 (5) of the Constitution, and is therefore null and void and of no effect,” Bismark said in his suit.

Article 112 (5) of the constitution states that “Whenever a vacancy occurs in Parliament, the Clerk to Parliament shall notify the Electoral Commission in writing within seven days after becoming aware that the vacancy has occurred; and a by-election shall be held within thirty days after the vacancy occurred, except that where the vacancy occurred through the death of a member, the by-election shall be within sixty days after the occurrence of the vacancy.”

He, therefore, wants the court to order the Electoral Commission to organize the by-election before or by January 26, 2019.
Source: Ghana Web

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