After a protracted brouhaha over the compilation of a new voters register for the December 7, 2020 polls, all is set for the Electoral Commission (EC) to conduct the mass voters registration exercise for a new electoral roll.
The exercise will be undertaken in five phases to cover 33,367 polling stations put into 6,788 clusters across the country.
In a press conference held yesterday, the Chairperson of the EC, Mrs Jean Mensa, said more than 44,000 staff of the EC had been deployed to carry out the exercise in the 38-day exercise which would end on August 6, this year.
Additionally, she said 8,000 biometric registration kits had been deployed for the nationwide exercise which will see an estimated 16 million eligible Ghanaians present themselves to be registered and issued with biometric voter identification (ID) cards.
She also said the commission had deployed 5000 technicians across the country to fix faulty registration kits.
The Ghana Police Service says it is prepared to provide adequate security for the voters registration exercise, reports Emelia Ennin Abbey.
The Police Administration said police personnel had been deployed to all the registration centres across the country to ensure law and order as well as protect registration materials and all stakeholders, including those who would go to the centres to register.
Earlier, the Deputy Commissioner in charge of Corporate Services, Dr Bossman Eric Asare, had told the Daily Graphic that the 8,000 biometric voter registration kits the EC purchased included backups to cover the 33,367 polling stations across the country during the exercise.
He said the registration team would spend six days at each cluster of five polling stations.
Dr Asare said the EC would deploy 6,700 kits at each phase of the registration exercise, with each district having a backup stock of kits.
He said each district would also have a mobile team to swiftly move to registration centres with long queues or a large number of people.
According to him, the EC had also set up district review committees to meet on a daily basis to review the challenges that might come up so that they would be resolved expeditiously.
“We will not wait for the end of the exercise to review the registration challenges. We’ll deal with them on a daily basis,” Dr Asare stated.
Ahead of the start of the registration exercise, the EC had implored all potential registrants to arm themselves with the required information to enable them to register smoothly.
While giving an assurance that the EC would ensure that all eligible Ghanaians were registered, the Director of Electoral Services at the Commission, Dr Serebour Quarcoo, said it was important for potential registrants to go to the registration centres prepared.
The vital information include the correct spelling of names; date of birth; current residential address; parents’ names, that is, mother’s name, father’s name; hometown; residential address in hometown and the district in which it is.
The principal source documents for registration is the passport or Ghana Card. In the absence of the two source ID cards, two persons who have already registered could guarantee for someone to be registered.
Dr Quarcoo added that persons who wanted to use their passport for registration must ensure it was valid “because the law says a valid passport so if it is expired, we cannot accept it.”
The Director of Electoral Services also stressed the need for registrants to adhere to the safety protocols put in place at the registration centres to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“All registrants must go to the registration centres wearing a face mask because if you do not do so, you will not be allowed access to the premises,” he said.
He added that personnel of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) would be at every registration centre to take the temperature of all registrants before they would be allowed entry.
“When you are allowed in, you will wash your hands with soap under running water and join the queue in the demarcated areas to go through the registration process,” he said.
As usual, the various political parties will deploy their agents to all the registration centres to keep an eagle eye on the registration process.
Civil society organisations (CSOs), the United Nations (UN) bodies and other non-state actors are also expected to keenly monitor the registration exercise.
Already, the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) has deployed 100 observers for the exercise, while entreating members of the public to play their part in ensuring that the registration exercise is peaceful and successful.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic on the preparedness of the police in terms of the provision of security, the Director of Public Affairs of the Ghana Police Service, Superintendent of Police, Mrs Sheilla Kessie Abayie-Buckman, said the police would provide strict security to ensure the exercise was successful.
She said all Regional Police Commanders were at the forefront of the security operations in their jurisdictions, while the Inspector
General of Police (IGP), Mr James Oppong-Boanuh, would be supervising the operations at the national level.
Supt Abayie-Buckman said the Regional Police Commanders would receive support from the National Police Operations Unit at the National Headquarters in terms of personnel and other logistical resources to enable them to provide maximum security at the various clusters to be used by the EC in the exercise, saying rapid response teams would be on standby.
Mrs Abayie-Buckman urged the public to collaborate with the police at the various registration centres during the exercise.
"As part of security arrangements and measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, all persons who visit the registration centres must put on their face masks," she said.
“We expect full compliance with the mandatory wearing of face masks, face shields or any other face covering that covers the nose and mouth completely," she added.
Supt Abayie-Buckman also called on the public and the media to publish "what they see and not what they have heard, because of social media people who can publish false information. They must know that publication of false information is an offence and anyone who does that will be arrested and prosecuted.”
The attempt by the EC to compile a new voters register for the 2020 elections was challenged by some political parties, CSOs and other groups.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC), which has been part of the Inter-Party Resistance Against New Voters Register (IPRAN), went to the Supreme Court seeking reliefs among which was to compel the EC to include the current voters ID card and birth certificate to the list of identification document for the registration.
The Supreme Court, however, ruled last Thursday that the EC should go ahead with the voters registration exercise in accordance with C.I. 126 which excluded the current voter ID card and birth certificate from the list of documents for the registration.