The Deputy Communication Officer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Upper East Region, Benjamin Atuasi, has raised concerns over what he perceives as a deliberate act to deprive rural residents of their right to obtain voter cards through the limited registration exercise.
According to him, the Electoral Commission and the governing party (NPP) are deliberately seeking to deprive first-time cardholders of their rights, especially those in the rural areas.
“At this time of the year, we experience heavy rainfall and flooding in several communities within our region. This is a well-known fact rural folks, who are often cut off from urban centres, will find it exceedingly difficult to travel to the designated registration centres, which are often situated far away from their villages. For instance, in the Bawku West area, and Pusiga, some people will have to cross river bodies before getting to their district offices to register. And do you think they will agree to risk their lives?”
“In fact, no one should have to risk their life to exercise their fundamental right to vote. It is unfair and unjust to subject our rural people to such dangers,” Atuasi emphasised.
The Deputy communicator, who spoke on A1 Radio, noted that the proposal has always been that, “The best way to handle this situation would have been to allow the various electoral areas to organise the registration exercise themselves. This way, the process would be more accessible to everyone, regardless of their location, and it would also reduce the risk of exposure to harsh weather conditions.”
The concerns raised by Mr. Atusa echo worries from other political stakeholders and civic organisations who believe that the current timing of the limited registration exercise disproportionately affects rural voters and is an attempt to disenfranchise eligible voters.
Meanwhile, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Jean Mensa, at a press conference held on Monday, September 18th, 2023, in Accra, debunked claims suggesting that the Commission was aiming to disenfranchise eligible voters based on conducting the exercise at the District offices.
She noted that her outfit was instead working around the clock to ensure that every eligible voter could register with ease.
“We take pride in the fact that we have the second-highest number of registered voters in the whole of Africa except for Cape Verde which has a national population of just about 600,000 and a voting population of 55.33 percent,” she said.
“We have heard of allegations from the various quarters that the Commission is disenfranchising eligible voters. This is false,” she added.
Source: A1Radioonline.com|101.1Mhz|Moses Apiah|Ghana