The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ghana has submitted a memorandum to the Parliament of Ghana calling for an amendment to the date of General elections in Ghana.
General elections are held on the constitutionally mandated date of 7th of December every four years. In 1996, the date fell on a Saturday and disenfranchised many Adventists who chose not to go to the polls on Sabbath. The 2024 elections will also fall on a Saturday and church leaders, in a proactive stance, are petitioning Parliament to consider an amendment based on grounds of religious liberty.
President of the Southern Ghana Union Conference,e Thomas Techie Ocran, making the submission in December, told a Constitutional Review Committee that the current inflexibility around the choosing and fixing of general elections, that sometimes operates against members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in particular, and other Christians in general, should be rectified through an amendment.
“An amendment as proposed above would make it possible for all Ghanaians to exercise their franchise and discharge their civic responsibility without being made to choose between their faith and civic responsibility,” Ocran said.
Ghana’s constitution vests the power to amend the constitution in Parliament and, for an entrenched provision, like one on election dates, Parliament is required to submit the Bill calling for a vote in a referendum of the amendment; at least 75% of Parliament needs to vote in support of it.
“It’s a long and daunting process, but as a Church, we must start the conversation and work to see it carried through with God as our helper”, said Ocran.