Challenges facing limited voter registration persist

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The ongoing limited voter registration exercise is fraught with technical hitches amidst static queue.

Generally, the process has been seamless but technical challenges which have marred the beauty of the entire exercise continue to slow the process.

The exercise starts 7am and ends at 6pm including weekends.

The Finder reporters who visited some of the centres observed  challenges and frustration of prospective registrants.

Ashaiman District office

At the Ashaiman Electoral Commission (EC) district office, the registration process was smooth, despite the incessant breakdown of the equipment.

The EC district director, who gave his name only as Reynolds, told this paper that so far, the process has been quite good since the registration started and that a technician has been called to fix the biometric machine.

Aside that, he also mentioned that the offline and online registration are going on well except that in the morning, the online machines were inactive due to network challenge.

According to the EC District Director, about 421 people were registered on Sunday June 23, 2019.

Yahya Tahiru, the Deputy organiser of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), said that this year’s exercise has been peaceful process and less chaotic.

The centre has three offline registration points and two active online points out of three.

Tema District Office

At the Tema District Office, registration was ongoing but there were long queues at different registration points.

The District EC Director, Nana Oduro Numapau, told The Finder that the different queues represented various constituencies under Tema which are Tema East, Tema West, and Tema Central.

He also stated that the process was going on smoothly because of the arrangement by different constituencies.

Due to the arrangements, he said officials of the EC together with party agents educate the people every morning before the process begins.

According to him, the number of people registered both online and offline from Monday to Sunday were 104, 229, 306, 485, 503, 516, and 681 respectively.

He added that the online registration process was inactive as compared to the offline system and about 90 percent of registration was done offline.

The Director cited few instances of double registration where about 15 to 20 people were detected by the online system.

According to him, some of the people engaging in double registration are the elderly, hence some selected elderly are asked to register online so that the system can detect double registration instances.

So far, the party agents, according to the director, have been cooperative and they are able to handle issues on the registration grounds themselves unless his presence was needed.

Clement Kofigah of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) also, said he was not happy about the long queues and the inability of some people to register, indicating that people come as early as 12 am to sleep at the registration centre in order to register.

“If the registration is done at the various polling stations, people will came at the appropriate time for the registration. Late comers are also registering in the name of protocol,” he bemoaned.

Assistant Party Secretary for Tema Central, Prince Nuamah also lamented about the large numbers, saying “they are using one machine per constituency and some will have to go home and come back the next day”.

One of the registrants, Emmanuel Benson, told The Finder that he has been reporting to the centre since Thursday, but was unable to register, adding that “today, I came here with my friends at 2am but I didn’t meet many people. As at that time, my number was 42 but now my number is 177 because of protocol and skipping. Yesterday too, there was chaos in the queue because of protocol. Some even pay money in order to skip queues”.

He also lamented about the slow pace of the process and attributed the long queues to their tortoise-like pace.

The registrant further said “this dawn, my friends and I had a misunderstanding with an officer whom we were told is among the EC officials. She even told us that she will not allow us to register”.

EC Headquarters

At the time The Finder reporters arrived at centre located at District EC Headquarters, the District Electoral Officer had left.

This paper observed the crowd was thick and stagnant mainly because the premises was housing about five constituencies.

There was an air of despondency among the registrants. This paper could not get the actual number of people who have been registered.

Augustine Ofori, an agent of the NPP noted that everything was going on smoothly.

He pointed that the major challenge has been busing people to the registration centres, noting “as politicians we have to take it upon ourselves to help people register because there are some people who don’t know the essence of the voters card”.

According to him, it is impossible for EC to open all the centres because of the cost involved.

The reason for the limited registration, he added was to ensure that those who were not 18 years at the time of the last registration are registered in addition to those who couldn’t register in 2016, and so opening up all the centres was a complete waste of money.

He blamed the slow pace of the process on poor network

“If care is not taken, all the people you see in this thick crowd can’t register within the given time frame,” Mr Ofori noted.

An agent of the NDC Alhaji Sanni, intimated that the first eight days of the process has been peaceful but said the only challenge has to do with busing people to the centre and that it comes at a cost to the party.

Source: The Finder

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Kennedy Mornah is an Award Winning Ghanaian Journalist with over two decades of experience in the Ghanaian Media landscape spanning the electronic, print and digital media. He is a Media Consultant, a Corporate MC, Radio and TV Host, Founder and Publisher of the Maritime and Transport Digest Newspaper, Businessman, a Go getter and an optimist. He has worked for renowned media organizations including Diamond Fm in Tamale, Luv Fm in Kumasi, Oman Fm in Accra and Starr Fm in Accra In 2017 he received the Reporter of the Year Award at the Ghana Shippers Awards in Accra, Ghana.

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