CODGHA calls for extension of biometric registration exercise
4/26/2012 5:00:25 AM -
Accra, April 25, GNA - The Coalition for the Development of Ghanaians (CODGHA) on Wednesday appealed to the Electoral Commission (EC) to reconsider its decision of not extending the Biometric Registration exercise.
"We believe that the process should be extended by at least a minimum of five days in constituencies that frequently experienced breakdown of biometric kit."
The appeal was contained in a statement issued by Mr Agyei Kwame Williams, Executive Director of CODGHA in Accra.
It said: "Like all well meaning civil society groups we are disturbed by the pockets of violence that has characterised the biometric registration exercise. CODGHA has been monitoring the process with very keen interest from the day it took off. We cannot help but bring to the fore of all well meaning Ghanaians our observations and recommendations on the exercise."
The statement said the exercise which had entered into its fourth phase could not be described as having been successful, left alone to say the process would be able to capture every eligible voter who presented him or herself at a centre and satisfied clauses in the Constitution.
"The exercise started with pockets of violence in some polling centres and sometimes in a whole constituency thereby distracting the process and consequentially preventing applicants from presenting themselves for registration.
"Per our observations in some constituencies, it became evident that some polling stations did not operate for more than two days and in some instances for about four days. Among some of the flimsy excuses that were given included: the shortage of ink-cartridges, breakdown of printers and scanners and sometimes absenteeism on the part of EC officials.
"The multi-million questions that we would have to ask ourselves; was it the fault of the applicant who presented him/herself to be registered but was not able to go through the process because of the above insubstantial excuses that were given on the part of EC? NO!
"Has the Commission acted in a way that has prevented applicants from registering? YES
"Would it therefore not be in the interest of EC to extend the process? YES."
The statement said the EC was supposed “To educate the people on the electoral process and its purpose”.
“However, prior to the commencement of the exercise, very little education took place nationwide not to talk of educating applicants in an electoral area as to which centre the registration team would be moving to in each cluster; hence the consequent misunderstandings that characterised the first, second, and third phases of the exercise, thereby leading to pockets of violence in some polling centres.
"We are therefore, calling on the EC to put in place the necessary measures that would help prevent some of these pockets of violence that aroused as a result of adequate information that were not made available to applicants as well as the... public.
“The EC must consider communicating to the ...public any agreements that would be reached at the Inter-Party Advisory Committee as to how the voting process would take place, and in an event of a possible breakdown of the verification machine the process that must be used in voting."
"We want the National Commission for Civic Education to step up their role in the electoral process as little has been seen of them in respect to educating the public on issues relating to the biometric registration exercise.”
The statement appealed to leaders on both sides of the political divide to exercise restraint with respect to inflammatory comments that might throw the country into a state of pandemonium.
"They must bear in mind we are one people from one country Ghana and we owe the next generation as a right to protect and preserve the peace we have in the country."