The Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana has started the compilation of a new voter register ahead of the 2020 parliamentary and presidential election. The exercise which was expected to be seamless has recorded a series of challenges over the country.
Speaking with correspondents of Happy 98.9 FM around the country on the station’s political talk show, ‘Epa Hoa Daben’, hosted by Afrifa Mensah, they (correspondents) laid to bare challenges they had witnessed in the voter registration exercise which was meant to be smooth.
A predominant report which was of concern to all the correspondents was the utter disregard for social distancing policy during the registration exercise.
The station’s Greater Accra regional correspondent, Joseph Nii Ankrah reported that many areas in Accra, especially registration centers in the Jamestown and Chorkor enclaves had disregarded the social distancing policies. And when he inquired from citizens why they were risking their health and lives, unprintable words were used on him. “The only directive most people were practicing was the wearing of face masks and washing of hands policy but everyone was ignoring the social distancing policy which is of high concern,” Nii reported.
In the Western Region, the station’s correspondent, Eric Nana Gyatua also reported that the predominant problem being faced in the region was not only the social distancing policy but also the issue of “no show of EC officers at registration centers.” He noted that, the EC selected some registration centers for the exercise but they were not present to register citizens unto the new voter roll today. “The EC didn’t show up at some of the registration centers they listed for the exercise in the western region today.”
Technical failures of the EC’s machinery were also recorded. There were areas in the Ashanti, Western and Greater Accra regions where technical failures halted the registration exercise. In some areas, the EC officials were able to register only four people
“In the Shamma constituency in the western region, the machine broke down and EC officials used over 3 hours to fix the machine,” Nana Gyatua reported.
“As at 2:15pm today, the Odorkor Central One (1) registration center had registered only four (4) people. The registration halted because the machine was not working,” Nii added.
Speaking to the founder and leader of the United Front Party, Nana Agyenim Boateng on the show, the politician alleged that he had visited some registration centers where system generated numbers were questionable.
“I went to some registration centers where the first person to register received a card numbered 23 and not 01. This is a great suspicion on the electoral commission,” he said.
The voter registration exercise received a lot of criticism and backlash from opposition political parties and some civil society organizations. The exercise which started today will continue for the next 38 days.