General News of Wednesday, 26 September 2018
The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) has revealed that minors have registered in the just ended limited registration exercise.
The exercise which began on Sunday, September 16 and ended Tuesday, September 25 was in preparation towards the creation of the six proposed new regions by the government. It took place in all districts which would be located within the proposed regions.
According to CODEO, its roaming observers witnessed the minors attempting and successfully registering in three of such districts–Juabos in the Western Region, Krachi West in the Volta Region and Sawla-Tuna in the Northern region.
“In the Juaboso district, many of these suspected minors went through the registration process while political party agents looked on, and sometimes defended the ages of such persons as being eligible,” said CODEO in a statement documenting its observations.
In view of the observation, CODEO has thus recommended, “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.”
CODEO further observed that the EC’s system for online registration of voters was intermittently slow in some of the districts observed.
“This 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. The situation was even more discouraging for persons who had travelled long distances from their communities to get registered,” said CODEO.
Political parties, mainly the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), observed CODEO, “took high interest in the exercise by deploying their agents, including local party executives to the registration centres” visited by its observers.
“CODEO observers spotted the mobilization of people to registration centres by NPP and NDC supporters. Given that registration centres are several kilometres 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 centres.”
Noting that the exercise was generally calm, CODEO further recommended; “The EC must take steps to improve its IT infrastructure supporting such exercises in the future; 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 and the EC makes the exercise more accessible by increasing the number of registration centres within districts.”