• Politics

    Approving SDA’s change of election date petition would open a floodgate – Prof Gyampo

    Political Science lecturer at the University of Ghana, Prof Ransford Gyampo believes that it will not be advisable for the Electoral Commission to grant the request of the Seventh Day Adventist Church (SDA) to change the date for the 2024 general elections.

    Speaking on Newsfile on JoyNews, he explained that agreeing to change the date, December 7, which falls on a Saturday, to another day can open a floodgate for equally similar requests in the future.

    “With the greatest of respect to them, Ghana is our constitution that guarantees the free expression of our religion. At the same time, the constitution says we are a secular state. And so if it is a secular state, people have the right to exercise their religion, but this must not be exercised in a manner that sort of projects their religious beliefs and faith and ideals over those of the other people who also have different religious beliefs and faith and ideals.”

    “So the point is that given that it is a secular state any day is fine. Otherwise, if we allow this tomorrow if election day is on Friday, Muslims will tell us that, well, they go to the mosque on Friday and go, we shouldn’t. If it falls on Sunday, you have a ponderance, majority of Ghanaians being Christian, they may say that it is going to disturb the day selected to worship their God.”
    Prof Gyampo said that although voting is a national duty, it should be a choice for people to decide whether or not they would vote or choose to exercise their religious duty instead.

    “So long as the fundamental laws of the land says you’re a secular country, we should be careful not to allow all religious beliefs and sects to also come in making pleas and demands.”

    “Today it is SDA if it is granted, tomorrow it will be Harikrishnas, Muslims, Christians and it creates a state of confusion and a state of factionalism in the body politics. It’s not something that we should encourage.”

    This comes after the Seventh-day Adventist Church made a case for an amendment to the 2024 December 7 election date which falls on a Saturday.

    The church, in separate petitions, first to the Electoral Commission, recommended the elections be moved from the conventional December 7 because the date falls on a Saturday, which will conflict with Sabbath, a holy day dedicated to the worship of God.

    The church says the first or second Tuesday will be more convenient to promote inclusive democracy.

    Additionally, the Church is taking steps by sending another petition to the Attorney General and pushing for an amendment of the constitutional provisions which restricts the period of organizing parliamentary and presidential elections in Ghana.


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