Some stranded Ghanaians in South Africa because of the novel coronavirus pandemic are concerned that their prolonged stay abroad may disenfranchise them in the upcoming election.
They believe their inability to partake in the registration exercise due to the closure of the border is an infringement on their rights.
The Ghanaians, who have been asking the government to evacuate them, say the ongoing process makes a compelling argument as to why the borders should be opened.
In an interview with Citi News, a spokesperson for some of the stranded Ghanaians in South Africa, Kingsley Dunyo called on the government to come to their aid.
“We want to partake in this voter registration ongoing right now and, per the way things are happening, I don’t know how soon we are going to get back to Ghana,” he lamented.
Mr. Dunyo further raised concerns about the costs associated with being evacuated and being quarantined upon return to Ghana.
The government’s pre-condition for evacuation was that the stranded citizens bear the full cost of their 14-day mandatory quarantine in some high-end hotels when they arrive in the country.
But he feels the costs are keeping them from returning even if the opportunity arises.
“It means that they are trying to drive us from coming back to Ghana to come and register because if we don’t have the means to be able to pay for those hotel bills now, it means that we can’t come and register and get a voter ID card and vote.”
Petition to the EC
A group called aRTICLE 42 has petitioned the Electoral Commission (EC) on the very concerns of the stranded Ghanaians in South Africa.
It is asking the EC to extend the upcoming voter registration to eligible Ghanaians outside the country.
The petition was filed on behalf of Ghanaian citizens abroad.
The petitioners insist that the compilation of a new register without Ghanaians living or staying outside Ghana “will amount to a violation of our constitutional right to vote and our legal entitlement to be registered as voters for public elections and referenda purposes under Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.”