CENSODEV holds town hall meeting at Bolgatanga to evaluate limited voters’ registration

A Regional Town Hall Meeting was on Thursday held at Bolgatanga, capital of the  Upper East Region for key stakeholders to evaluate the Limited Voters’ Registration for person who attained the voting age of 18 years and above, especially women and minority groups to register to vote in the December 2024 General Election.

One major concern was an appeal to the Electoral Commission (EC) to extend the 21-day exercise which comes to a close on Monday, although the EC at a press conference in Accra, had indicated that there was no cause for extension.

The Town Hall Meeting was organised by the Centre for Social Mobilization and Sustainable Development (CENSODEV), a non-governmental organisation based in Navrongo, under its Women Voter Mobilization project to sensitise eligible women and minority group to register and to vote.

The campaign is being led by the International Republican Institute (IRI) with funding from the United State Agency for International Development (USAID) Political Accountability Activity (POLA) project.

It was attended by more at least 70 participants drawn from the Ghana Hairdressers and Beautician Association, New Patriotic Party Smart Ladies, National Democratic Congress JM Ladies, Ghana National Tailors and Dressmakers Association, Weavers Association, Progressive Hairdressers Association, New Market Women’s Association, Mataba Women’s Group and Representative of Electoral Commission (EC), the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) and civil society organisation.

The Executive Director of CENSODEV, Braimah Sanjage, said the turnout of women in the electoral process since independence had been very low, as compared to men, even though the population of women was higher than men.

He said the project had “been strategically designed to whip up the interest of women to actively participate in the upcoming 2024 elections in order to bring the desired change in our communities.”

The Deputy Regional Director of NCCE, Mr Augustine Akugri, in her opening remarks, expressed gratitude to CENSODEV and its partners for their intervention to ensuring that “women participate actively and effectively in the general electoral processes.”

He admonished all those who were up to 18 years and above and are eligible to register, to avail themselves of the opportunity to contribute to the decision- making process of the country.

Mr Akugri lamented about the registration of minors which had been “a prevalent incidence” and admonished political parties to desist from facilitating minors to register.

The Deputy Regional Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Tegah Worlanyo Mensah, entreated all persons who were eligible to take advantage, and exercise their franchise.

He enumerated the eligibility criteria for registration as Ghanaian citizen by law or by birth, must be 18 or more with sound mind, reside in the electoral area, and must not be prohibited by law.

Mr. Mensah said the commission had plans to replace lost/missing voter Identity Cards (ID) after the limited registration exercise, and entreated all those who had misplaced their cards to maximize the opportunity to replace their Cards.

He also said  there would be an exhibition exercise after the limited registration and entreated everybody to visit his/ her polling centres to ensure that their data was correctly captured in the register.

Mr Mensah said few months to election, EC would roll out posters to educate Voters on how to mark ballots properly, to avoid the incidence of spoilt ballots.

During a panel discussion Mr. Maxwell Banu, The Deputy Chief Executive Officer of TEERE, lamented about the slow pace of the registration process which had been attributed to poor Internet connectivity and appealed to political parties to ensure that no eligible registrant was left out in the registration processes.

He said “The mandate of NGO is to sensitize and educate people to ensure that the un-reached is reached in hard to reach communities in order to get involved in the decision making process of the country through election.”

Ms Adongo A. Augustina from CODAC, a CSO operating in Bolgatanga, spoke about Climate change and its influence on women political participation, stressing that climate change issues affected the activities of women more than men.

She said women spent more time in the household and farm- based activities and that some cultural norms affected women’s participation in political activities.

The Director of Apexnewsgh, Mr. Stephen Chedgie, urged journalists to verify facts check every bit of information before putting it out in the public domain to avoid misinformation that could result into violent conflicts  

By Times Reporter

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