The Member of Parliament (MP) for the North Tongu Constituency in the Volta Region, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has urged critical voices of society to call the Electoral Commission (EC)to order.
According to him, the silence of civil society and the clergy was too deafening as many first time voters risk being disenfranchised in the ongoing exercise.
“This is because the decision by the commission to limit the registration to its district offices has become a de-motivator to first time voters who have to travel several kilometers including crossing rivers to access the registration centers,” he said.
MrcAblakwa made the call in an interview with journalists after touring some voter registration centres in his constituency on Thursday.
“When the NDC was in power, we saw that a more active moral and civil society was the voice of the voiceless. Who is speaking up for these 18-year olds today? The advocacy for the EC to expand the frontiers of registration should not be left to the political parties who have done everything including going to court but clearly there seems to be a collusion with the Apex Court to make sure that this grand agenda to achieve voter suppression succeeds,” he said.
“I’m quite disappointed in the leadership of moral and civil societies over their silence on this decision by the EC to limit the registration to district offices but it is not too late for them to speak up,” he said.
The tour took the legislator to Torgorme, Fodzoku and Juapong where registrants would have to travel more than 60 kilometers in some cases to access the district office of the EC in Battor to enroll onto the voter’s register.
The journey include a twenty-minute ride by canoe on the Volta Lake from Volo to Battor before another five kilometers to the registration centre.
For a registrant in Torgorme and Fodzoku and its adjoining smaller communities, they would have to part ways with GH¢30 to get to Juapong, GH¢25 to Volo before having to pay another GH¢20 to use a canoe to cross the river and finally GH¢20 for the services of motor cycle to the district registration center.
At the time the team got to the registration centre at about 3pm, the exercise had come to a halt because there was network challenge and after two hours of wait, the over 100 registrants who were in a queue, including students, apprentices and noticeably a disabled young man in wheel chair, who had come from far and near were told to go home and come the following day.
This cost, risk and inconvenience, Mr Ablakwa said was discouraging to first time voters who in the absence of a Ghana Card, would have to go with two guarantors and the EC must be made to rethink its approach to the registration exercise.
“Why do we put young people through this ordeal when they only wanted to have a voter identity card so they can exercise their constitutional right enshrined in the 1992 Constitution.
It is however, not too late for the EC to revisit the calls on it to open more center to ease things up at the centres,” he stated
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Publish date : 2023-09-21 11:29:05