Minority worried about EC’s plan to reduce registration centres

The Minority in Parliament says it is worried about the decision by the Electoral Commission (EC) to phase out 6,300 of the 33,000 registration centres in the country. 

Should that happen, the caucus said Ghanaians’ right to vote as enshrined in Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution would be compromised. 

Addressing journalists in Parliament yesterday after officials of the Electoral Commission, led by its chairperson, Ms Jean Mensa, met the Special Budget Committee of the House, the Minority Leader and MP for Tamale South, Haruna Iddrisu, said the intended reduction in the registration centres was “a precipice for a grave threat to the sustenance of competitive multi-party constitutional democracy in Ghana.”

 “The EC’s decision troubles my heart because Article 42 of the Constitution will not be observed in essence though making available to the Ghanaian people legitimate and guaranteed rights they are entitled to under Article 42,” he said.

He said “Phase out registration exercise not absolute, not countrywide, not in every registration centre and not in the 33,000 gazetted polling stations. So it means that the number they are giving today contradicts what has been officially gazetted.”

The meeting was for Chairperson of the EC, Mrs Jean Mensa, to brief the Committee on the roadmap for the conduct of the December 7, 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections.

He said having listened to the chairperson of the commission after the three-hour closed door meeting “I felt profoundly troubled for the future of Ghana’s democracy.”

More worrying, Haruna Iddrisu said, was the fact that “the EC chairperson did not seem to understand the essence of what she described as data synchronisation and data harmonisation.”

“In her answer to a simple question, she stated that they (the EC) do not intend to use the data of the National Identification Authority. She emphasised that they would use (the Ghana card) only for the purpose of identity that you are a citizen of Ghana,” he said.

“So what will the EC do with the NIA identity card?” he asked. 

To this end, Haruna Iddrisu said he did not see a co-operation and collaboration even though that has been made an essential primary reference document. 

“Therefore, I feel very concerned about the future of that exercise,” the Minority Leader said maintaining that the caucus sees no legal or technical justification for a new voters’ register. 

“As a Minority, we remain committed to Ghana’s democratic journey, its values and ethos, and we recognise and emphasise repeatedly and we will do so continuously that a credible voter register remains a sine quo non to the conduct of credible, fair and free elections,” he averred. 

The EC, Haruna Iddrisu said admitted to have bought personal protective equipment for its staff to protect them against contracting the coronavirus (COVID-19) despite same not provided for in their budget.

“What is even more worrying is that they say they have procured a biometric voter management system, a biometric voter registration system and biometric voter verification system. They should make them available for inspection and our committee should take interest in the coming days to inspect them,” he said.

He said the Minority would continue to hold the EC accountable to ensure that the polls were free, fair, and transparent. 


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