Ghana elections management body - Electoral Commission (EC) yesterday June 17, 2019, recorded a low turn out in its Limited Voters' Registration exercise currently ongoing nationwide.
The exercise follows the dismissal of an injunction application which sought to restrain the Commission from undertaking the exercise.
The limited voters’ registration was initially scheduled to begin on June 7 and end on June 27 but was stalled by a lawsuit.
A Ghanaian citizen Umar Ayuba, filed an application at the Supreme Court seeking to stop the EC from going ahead with the limited voter registration following a substantive suit he filed challenging the decision by the EC to hold the registration in its district offices and some selected electoral areas.
According to the plaintiff, the directive by the EC is without legal basis and hence unconstitutional.
In reaction to the injunction application deputy attorney General Godfred Dame representing the attorney general’s office which was sued as part of the defendants alongside the Electoral Commission described the application as incompetent substantially and procedurally.
However, following the court’s ruling, the Commission began the registration exercise on Monday. In a statement signed by the Chairperson for the EC, Jean Mensah announcing the registration, she said that “The Electoral Commission announces for the information of the general public that the Limited Voters Registration Exercise will now take place from Monday, 17th June 2019 to Sunday, 7th July 2019,”
The exercise is targeting new potential voters and others who have now attained the age of 18. The new registrants are expected to use this opportunity to be captured on the country’s voters’ register ahead of the referendum for the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and Districts Chief Executives (MMDCEs) and the District Assemblies Elections in November this year.
The exercise began smoothly across the country but low turn out was recorded in parts of the Eastern Region. For example, when the Daily Statesman visited the Asokore Basic Model Methodist School in the New Juaben North Municipality, only 51 people had registered as at 3:30 pm on Monday. At the Koforidua Technical University, the situation was even worse.
Some of the people who spoke with the Daily Statesman attributed the low turn out to poor publicity on the issue. They stated that the EC should have done some more publicity on the new date that was set after the court case.
However, the EC officials who spoke to us expressed optimism that the number will increase as the days go by.
On their part, the leadership of the two main political parties advised minuses to stay away from the exercise.
The NDC in the region, however, expressed worry about the presence of armed security personnel in the centers. Micheal Arkoli Ofoe, the Deputy Regional Communication Officer of the party in the Eastern Region pleaded with the Electoral Commission and the Elections Security Committee to revise their strategies in providing security for the exercise.
On his part, Charles Opoku, the Eastern Regional TESCON coordinator of the NPP, expressed satisfaction about the exercise. He encouraged potential registrants to avail themselves in the early days of the exercise to register rather than adopting the ‘last days’ approach.