Use all 1,500 centres for voters’ registration exercise - Political parties urge EC
Political parties without representation in Parliament have called on the Electoral Commission (EC) to use the 1,500 gazetted offices of the commission for the upcoming voters' registration exercise instead of the 268 it announced for the exercise earlier.
The parties said the use of limited offices of the commission would affect the participation of eligible voters in the registration exercise and that could create unnecessary tension.
Besides, they said using limited offices would impose unbearable cost to individuals and political parties alike since most people had to travel long distances to register.
The parties included the All People's Congress (APC), Convention People's Party (CPP), Ghana Freedom Party (GFP), Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG), National Democratic Party (NDP) and People's National Convention (PNC).
Speaking on behalf of the parties at a press conference in Accra yesterday, the General Secretary of the GCPP, Citizen Ato Dadzie, said “We want to publicly call on the EC, through its Chairperson, Jean Mensa, to rescind its decision and make the process more accessible and painless to enable the average Ghanaian, who is eligible to exercise their right and entitlement to be registered as a voter.
“This will reflect in the EC's commitment to build a solid and credible institution to protect the strong and enviable record of Ghana as a beacon of democracy that will continue to be worthy of emulation across the continent,” he said.
Mr Dadzie said the EC, contrary to the earlier discussions at the Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC), made an announcement on the voters’ registration exercise with modalities which were not the consensus of political parties and civil society organisations who were present at the IPAC meeting on Wednesday, August 10, 2023.
He stated that at the said meeting, the EC informed stakeholders of its intention to begin the voters’ registration exercise on or between September 10 and 15, 2023 and promised to communicate the exact date to them when they finalised it.
Moreso, he said, the EC indicated that the registration exercise was going to be held at the 268 offices of the commission including the newly created district—the Guan District.
“All the pollical parties present and CSOs unanimously objected to the registration exercise being limited to the 268 offices of the EC as that was going to affect the participation of the general public, create unnecessary tension due to concentrated numbers which will bring unbearable cost to individuals,” he said.
Stab in the back
He said the stakeholders also opined that the replacement of lost ID cards should not be part of the registration exercise since they had all witnessed the abuse and potential re-registration that some unscrupulous individuals took advantage of in the past.
“The EC agreed with the unanimous position expressed and even indicated that it was not their interest to disenfranchise any eligible voter, therefore, they will meet based on our feedback and get back to us only for them to turn around within 24 hours to organise a press conference without any recourse to us as to why our views were not even considered,” he said.
The EC, at a press briefing addressed by its Chairperson, Jean Mensa, last Thursday announced that it had targeted to register about 1.35 million people in the 2023 Voters’ Registration exercise which will commence from September 12 to October 2.
The nationwide exercise will be conducted between 8:00a.m. and 5:00p.m. daily, including Saturdays and Sundays.