The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) has noted that majority of suspected minors who attempted to register in limited registration exercise conducted by the Electoral Commission (EC) in preparation towards the creation of six (6) new regions proposed by the government, were successfully registered.
CODEO in a statement indicated that it deployed observers to monitor progress of registration and it was clear that in the various districts, especially Juaboso in the Western region, Krachi West in the Volta region and Sawla-Tuna in the Northern region, many minors were registered whilst in the Juaboso district, many of these suspected minors went through the registration process while political party agents looked on.
The statement signed by Albert Arhin, National Coordinator of CODEO, he mentioned that party agents also defended the ages of such persons as being eligible, hence their registration.
“In the Sawla-Tuna district, some persons who were suspected to be non-Ghanaians had their registration applications challenged,” he stated.
“CODEO observers spotted the mobilization of people to registration centers by NPP and NDC supporters. Given that registration centers are several kilometers away from many communities outside the district capitals where the exercise took place, many people ‘took advantage’ of the resources (transportation) made available by these political parties to the registration centers.”
CODEO’s roaming observers visited some registration centers in some selected districts including, the Nkoranza North and South districts in the Brong-Ahafo Region, Krachi West in the Volta Region, Juaboso district in the Western Region and the Sawla-Tuna and Chereponi districts in the Northern Region.
Although turnout of prospective registrants for the exercise was low at the start, the situation improved as the exercise progressed.
CODEO said, some districts, such as Juaboso in the Western region were able to register as high as 215 persons on Sunday, September 23, 2018 alone whilst the EC’s system for online for registration of voters was intermittently slow in some of the districts.
This, according to CODEO affected prospective applicants who had to wait several minutes in queues.
“In the Krachi West District in the Volta region, for instance, scores of applicants waited in queues at different points in times as the network connectivity was slow.”
It said, Political parties, mainly the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), took high interest in the exercise by deploying their agents, including local party executives to the registration centers visited by CODEO observers.
In its recommendations, CODEO called on the EC to take steps to improve its IT infrastructure supporting such exercises in the future and Political parties and their agents must desist from prodding persons suspected to be unqualified from registering.
“Instead, they should resort to the formal challenge processes. The EC makes the exercise more accessible by increasing the number of registration centers within districts; and The EC, together with the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), other non-state actors and the media, should intensify voter education, especially for minors, on the illegality and implications of attempting to participate in such exercises.”
According to the coalition, although there were such recorded incidents, the exercise was generally calm and assured the public of its commitment to observe electoral activities and to help draw attention to relevant issues requiring action.
The exercise, which commenced on Sunday, September 16, 2018 and ends on Tuesday, September 25, 2018.