More Room For Improvement, EC
4/14/2012 4:35:23 PM -
The first phase of the biometric voters registration exercise ends today after which the second leg will begin tomorrow.
As normal with every new initiative, the exercise had been characterised by some teething problems, such as logistical challenges and lack of understanding of the process, especially during the first two days of its inception.
In some instances, people could not be issued with their voters ID cards after registration, others could not take their pictures, while yet some others had problems with the capturing of their fingerprints.
It must, however, be noted that as the days went by many of those challenges were addressed, leading to a marked improvement in the exercise.
It will, therefore, not be out of order to commend officials of the Electoral Commission (EC) for the manner in which they have handled the initial problems, although there is still more room for improvement.
Indeed, there are still a large number of qualified voters who are yet to be registered after days of joining long queues, and it is even doubtful whether many of them would be able to register by the close of the exercise in the areas today.
Be that as it may, what should be of serious concern to the nation are the reported pockets of violence at some of the registration centres across the country that nearly marred the exercise in those areas.
The swift response by the police and other security agencies to deal with those disturbances is also highly commendable, and it is the expectation of the DAILY GRAPHIC that the police will be more visible on the ground to send a clear signal to the troublemakers that they would not be tolerated.
It is in this vein that we find very laudable the visit by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and members of the Police High Command to some registration centres in Accra last week to monitor the exercise from the security perspective.
As the biometric voters registration exercise rolls into the second phase tomorrow, it is imperative to minimise the problems that characterised the first phase in order to ensure that all qualified voters who wish to register are able to do so.
In that respect, we call on the EC to ensure that adequate registration materials are made available to the various centres so as to avoid tension. It must ensure that the machines for taking fingerprints are in good conditions, apart from addressing other pertinent challenges.
We also urge the EC and the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) to intensify education on the processes and procedures for the registration exercise, given the observation that many people lack adequate knowledge of how to get registered and where to register.
Apart from the EC and the NCCE, the political parties also have a crucial role to play in educating their members on the registration procedures.
More importantly, the political parties have a cardinal responsibility to ensure that their members stay within the confines of the law and avoid fomenting trouble at the registration centres. They must remain vigilant in order to protect the integrity of the exercise.
The DAILY GRAPHIC wishes to advise unqualified people, such as aliens and persons under 18 years, to stay away from the registration centres so as to avoid any confrontation with the law. We urge all unqualified persons who are goaded on to register by political interest groups to help to expose such characters.
We urge all Ghanaians to endeavour to make the registration exercise peaceful and successful as we prepare for the December 2012 general election.
Ghana’s democratic growth has earned lots of respect from the international community, and we cannot afford to do anything untoward to undermine such confidence reposed in us and also derail the positive developmental gains made in the past as a result of the political stability in the country.