No blanket mop-up after registration — EC

BY: Timothy Ngnenbe
Electoral Commissioner (EC), Mrs Jean Mensa
Electoral Commissioner (EC), Mrs Jean Mensa

The Electoral Commission (EC) says its planned registration mop-up exercise will be directed at selected areas on need basis.

That means that the exercise will not be a blanket one.

The Chairperson of the EC, Mrs Jean Mensa, who made this known in Accra last Monday, said the commission would rely on information from its field officers in deciding on centres that would benefit from the mop-up exercise.

"By and large, the mop-up will focus on areas and centres which still have a good number of citizens who were unable to participate in the main registration exercise," she said.

Let the Citizens Know

She was speaking at the sixth episode of the "Let the Citizens Know" series, an initiative by the EC to bring its activities closer to all Ghanaians.

The initiative serves as a platform for the EC to keep citizens abreast of the work of the commission in the run-up to the December 7, 2020 general election.

The sixth edition was used to provide updates on the ongoing mass voters registration exercise which has entered the fifth phase.

The updates at the event focused on the performance of the biometric voter registration (BVR) kits, performance of EC's field officers, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) protocols at registration centres, the guarantor system, statistics on the number of persons registered so far, gender dynamics, persons with disability (PWDs) and first time registrants.

Mrs Mensa indicated that 12,371,651 persons had been registered across the country as of July 26.

Mass registration

The mass voters registration exercise is currently in the penultimate phase.

The final phase will end on August 6, 2020, with a projected 15 million eligible Ghanaians expected to present themselves to be captured on the electoral roll.

As has been the case with such registration exercises, some eligible persons might not be able to go through the main registration exercise for varied reasons, which is why the EC would create a window for them to be registered during the mop-up exercise.

Pole position

Mrs Mensa said at the current rate of registration, the EC was in pole position to register all eligible Ghanaians that would make themselves available during the main exercise.

She said although some areas of the country had been burdened with heavy concentration of registrants, the EC responded swiftly to address that challenge by deploying mobile registration teams to augment the work of the main registration officers.

"By this measure, we have been able to reduce the pressure on such centres, so if the eligible citizens avail themselves, the process we have put in place will take care of them," she said.

The EC boss, however, said if at the end of the main exercise, there were still unregistered eligible persons, the opportunity would be given to them to register in the mop-up exercise.

Field officers

She commended the commission's field officers for their commitment to duty so far and urged them to keep it up and end the exercise on a good note.

"Available data shows that our data entry clerks register an average of 150 persons a day as against 70 in previous registration. In some places, they even used six minutes to register people," she said.

That notwithstanding, she said the commission had to withdraw some registration officers whose activities undermined the rules and regulations governing the registration exercise.