Suspend new voter registration exercise – CEGA

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Jean Mensa
Jean Mensa

The Centre for Ethical Governance and Administration (CEGA) is asking the Electoral Commission to suspend the new voters registration exercise in the wake of the recorded cases of coronavirus in the country.

This is because of the danger that such an exercise will pose to the lives of prospective registrants.

In a statement Monday, March 16, 2020, CEGA said information it had received indicated that, “some of the vendors and equipment contracted by the Electoral Commission are coming from Europe, where the Coronavirus infection has been declared a pandemic, in this regard the Electoral Commission is being called upon not to take any steps that will jeopardise the life of any single Ghanaian in the pursuit of their entrenched position in re-registering Ghanaians into the new but needless Voters Register.”

“Some Ghanaians living outside Ghana would have preferred travelling to their various polling stations in Ghana to be registered” however, with the “current pandemic nature of the Coronavirus infections almost all flights have been cancelled denying these Ghanaians the opportunity to register and fulfill their civic responsibility of voting,” the statement further said.

The statement again said it will be medically unsafe for Ghanaians abroad who may want to come to Ghana and register.

“It will also be medically unsafe for Ghanaians abroad seeking to be registered to come to Ghana. This means that the intended Registration Exercise will exclude many Ghanaians living outside and even those within the country will not find it safe to join long queues which will result in body direct contact to register.”

It then called on president Akufo-Addo and his entourage who recently visited Norway and other European countries, to quarantine themselves.

“The President, government officials and individuals who travelled to Norway and other European countries recently should immediately stop all public engagements and proceed on a self-quarantine in the public interest.”

Continuing, the statement said the group “has noted with despair and anguish that, soon upon arrival in Ghana, the entire government machinery including most of the officials who returned recently from Norway moved to Kumasi to celebrate the National Independence Day on 6th March 2020.”

Touching on measures announced by the government yesterday to curb the spread of the disease, the statement called on the “Electoral Commissioner to cancel the impending registration exercise and the National Identification Authority to immediately freeze all registration activities until it is medically safe and serves the public good.”

The statement also called on the Ministry of Health “to expand their contact tracking to Kumasi in a bid to properly contain the virus.”

While calling on media houses to “take steps to make sure all their workers are protected and equipment such as microphones used by staff and the public are absolutely safe for use at all times,” CEGA also wants political parties to put measures in place to prevent crowd activities.

The Electoral Commission has indicated that, as part of its drive to compile a new register, it is readying itself to undertake a mass registration of voters on April 18, 2020.

As a result, the EC has served notice that it will discard all the current biometric registration equipment and procure a new set of equipment. In fact, the election management body has already awarded a contract for the new biometric equipment.

But unfortunately, Ghana recorded its first two coronavirus cases a couple of days ago and that number has since tripled, forcing President Akufo-Addo to ban mass gathering, among other measures.

By a ghanahotissues.com writer

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