Politics of Tuesday, 16 August 2016
The eligibility of some 171 voters has been challenged on the electoral roll of the Ho West constituency in the Volta region.
Agents of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the area raised objections to the said names during the just ended nationwide Voters Register Exhibition exercise, on the basis of the persons not being ‘residents’ of the communities in which they registered, as stipulated in the Public Elections Regulation, 2016 (C.I 91).
One, Godwin Adinyirah objected to 72 of the names in Avatime-Gbadzeme, while 58 of them were challenged in Togorme by Moro Bamba, with the rest, being challenged at Tsibu and Kpedze communities.
Starr News has, however, learnt that, efforts by the District Electoral office to verify the residential status of the challenged persons proved futile as none of them appeared before the Review panel, despite posting the challenge notices in their respective electoral areas.
Resort to Court
The EC thus resorted to the law court for an order to delete the names of the challenged persons in Gbadzeme and Togorme.
The magistrate court at Dzolokpuita in the Ho West constituency of the Volta region Monday began hearing of the case, challenging the eligibility of the said voters on the Electoral roll in the area.
During proceedings the Ho West District Electoral Officer, Ms. Regina Tachie told the court that, aside the posting of the challenge notices, further interactions with residents and traditional leaders indicated that, the said persons are unknown in the Gbadzeme and Torgome communities.
She, however, could not readily produce any evidence to that effect, when the court requested for it.
This prompted the court to adjourn proceedings to Friday, August 19, in order for the EC to furnish it with prove of such notices or a sworn affidavit to that effect to enable it adjudicate on the matter.
Again, none of the affected persons turned up, during the hearing of the case in court but rather, top functionaries of the governing National Democratic Congress from the constituency, including the Ho West MP, Emmanuel Bedzrah, Deputy Petroleum minister, Benjamin Dagadu, Former EOCO boss, Mr. Mortey Akpadzi as well as the DCE and constituency executives were present to observe proceedings.
The MP, Emmanuel Bedzrah told Starr News after the hearing that the party was interested in the case because, it borders on the fundamental rights of some of his constituents and added that, he was also in court to observe the procedure used in the application of the CI 91, which they passed in parliament.
Lawyer for the two NPP agents, Emmanuel Ohene is confident his clients followed due process in challenging the eligibility of the 130 voters, who they strongly believe are non-residents of their respective communities.
“The C.I 91 was clear, that before you register as a voter, one need to be a resident or ordinarily resident in an electoral area. But these people after registering cannot be identified in the polling stations they registered. So we are hopeful the right will be done.”