National Democratic Congress [NDC] says the ongoing limited voters’ registration exercise with its attendant challenges has vindicated the long-led position of the party that the processes and systems being deployed by the Electoral Commission [EC] would only result in the disenfranchising of hordes of Ghanaians.
These challenges according to the NDC had also exposed the operational inefficiencies within the EC and urgent steps needed to be taken to remedy the already deteriorating situation.
The NDC said “from our monitoring and observation of the various registration centers across the country, we have noticed with much concern that even though the EC originally planned to conduct the registration mainly as an online activity at its District centers, the online system failed miserably, and instead almost all the registration centers had been engaged in offline registration using the Biometric Voter Registration [BVR] machines. These are the machines which had earlier been described by the EC as obsolete technology and unfit for use for this exercise.”
Speaking at a news conference in Accra, Elvis Afryie-Ankrah, the Director of Elections of NDC, said it took the intervention of the political parties at IPAC to get the EC to agree to create the additional 1600 designated centers to engage in offline registration. He adds that the NDC’s position in this matter is vindicated.
The Director of Elections of the NDC says it is indeed shocking that what the EC had earlier rejected has now turned out to be their savior, stressing that “can anyone imagine what would have befallen this country if the EC had been allowed to proceed with only the online registration system?”
He said in the Lawra constituency for example, for the past three days only one person had been successfully registration online. Mr. Afryie-Ankrah adds that because the EC had no faith in the offline registration, for whatever reasons, it had failed to maintain and service the BVR machines properly and so their use also experienced some challenges.
In addition to the frequent malfunction and breakdown of printers [with some not working at all], the Director of Elections of the NDC says the incidence of registration machines printing out different dates of registration is rife in almost all centres.
He said the resultant effect of these basic and avoidable technical challenges is that despite the huge numbers of prospective applicants thronging the registration centres, the actual number of people who actually get registered had been very low, if not insignificant.
The former Youth and Sports Minister in ex-President John Mahama administration said, as a result of the reduction in the number of registration centres from 6,500 to 250, coupled with the terribly slow nature of the registration, many people who had travelled long distances to register, have had to spend several hours at the registration centres only to return to their homes without being registered.
The frustrations and disappointments that prospective applicants had been subjected to, in an attempt to exercise an inalienable right according to him is unimaginable. The cumulative affect all these challenges, Mr. Afryie-Ankrah, stated is that many people may end up being disenfranchised ahead of the December 2019 district assembly elections and referendum.
The EC, he said, needed to sit up and demonstrate some level of competence and hands on approach relative to this registration exercise.
Source: Adovor Nutifafa