The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has blamed the low turnout at a two-day registration exercise organised by the Electoral Commission (EC) at the Nsawam Prisons on the door steps of the commission.
Out of the possible eligible registrant population of 3,000 inmates, only a little of over 500 was able to register at the end of the exercise which started on Monday and ended on Tuesday.
The Member of Parliament (MP), Frank Annor-Dompreh, who belongs to the NPP, said the commission was to be blamed for the poor showing.
He argued the exercise recorded a low turnout due to restrictions placed on inmates by the commission. An eligible registrant was either asked to produce a national identification card or two guarantors.
Mr. Annor-Dompreh said the commission was supposed to know inmates have some of their rights restricted, so the demand for a national identification card was misplaced.
“The commission treated inmates as normal Ghanaians instead of treating them as persons with restricted rights,” he added that most of them were not visited by their relatives making it difficult to raise guarantors too.
He claimed that if the commission had given inmates enough notice, they would have duly notified their relatives. The MP therefore appealed to the EC to extend the exercise at the medium security prisons.
On his part, the ruling National Democratic Congress’ Eastern Regional Secretary, Mark Oliver Kevor, said he was satisfied with the work of the commission but there was room for improvement.
He said prisons have a large inmate population so any exercise there has to take into consideration the rights of the prisoners.
The exercise, he said, was faced with “slow capturing of data and the machine was slow” resulting in the low number of people who registered.
Despite the grievances of the two political parties, the Deputy Head of Communications at the EC, Yussif Ayuba, maintained they did a good work.
“It went well, the prison officers gave us the list of eligible persons who would be registering and we started that registration on Monday and ended on Tuesday. Those who could provide the necessary documentation were accordingly registered,” he said.
He said they duly notified prisons authorities to get their inmates prepared for the exercise, adding, they did their part.
According to him, if inmates had informed their relatives ahead of time they would have been duly registered.