From Francis Owusu-Ansah, Sunyani .
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has expressed apprehension about the ongoing limited registration exercise by the Electoral Commission (EC).
According to the NDC, its agents at the various centres where the registrations are taking place could not verify whether or not names have been entered in the voters’ register.
The Electoral Commission, on Sunday September 16, 2018, started the Limited Registration Exercise in areas where the referendum to create new regions will take place.
In a press release signed by its General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, and sighted by The Chronicle on Monday, the NDC said, “Our agents could not verify whether or not names had been entered in the register before the commencement of the exercise.”
The party continued that “in the same vein, we could not ascertain that the record of names that had been captured as at the close of day yesterday remain the same at the beginning of the work today.”
The statement added that “our second concern is that the EC should have known that the areas affected by the registration are experiencing the rainy season. The resulting flooding has cut several communities from their district centres where the registration is taking place.”
Mr. Asiedu Nketia said that there are “serious infractions of the rules, coupled with other organisational lapses which are threatening to compromise the quality of the exercise occurred.”
He added that “to ensure that the EC’s registration officers do not, on their own, enter any additional names outside working hours,” various political party representatives should be made to verify the registration.
The NDC is, therefore, “demanding the issuance of the daily activities report from the EC officials to our agents in the registrations centres to avoid any further controversies at the centres.”
The limited registration exercise is to be implemented in two phases to offer an opportunity for Ghanaians who have recently attained the voting age of 18, and adults who for various reasons could not register during the previous registration exercise in 2016.
The Head of Communications at the EC, Mr. Eric Dzakpasu, has explained that as part of the exercise, the EC has divided the country into two zones.
According to him, zone one was made up of areas demarcated for the December 27 referendum to create the six new regions – the Oti area in the Volta Region, the Western North in the Western Region, the Savannah and North Eastern in the Northern Region, as well as Bono East and the Ahafo in the Brong-Ahafo Region.
There would 45 district offices in these areas, where residents who do not have their names in the electoral register would, from September 16 up to September 25, 2018, between 7a.m. to 6p.m, have the opportunity to register to vote.
According to the EC, after the registration exercise, the rest of Ghanaians would be offered the opportunity to also register.
The EC said the first phase is for only the areas zoned for the referendum, whilst the second phase would be for the entire country.
“After the registration, the voters’ register would be exhibited for people to verify their data in terms of name, age, polling station, and polling code,” Mr. Dzakpasu said.
The EC said the law requires that every year, the commission should revise the voters’ register by undertaking a limited voter registration exercise.