A CREDIBLE REGISTER is a prerequisite for successful and peaceful elections, Mr. Daniel Nii Okai, Chairman of the Odododiodioo constituency of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has stated.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra on Friday, he noted that a lot depended on the National Electoral Commission if the country was to avoid the violence and acrimony that had characterized elections in other places such as Kenya.
He said executives of the NDC in the constituency had petitioned the Electoral Commission (EC) to remove some registration and polling centres in the area to ensure that the electoral register in the area was without blemish, adding that, “all traces that could be used to rig should be removed to make the results of this year's election acceptable to all”.
Mr. Okai indicated that the continuous presence of 18 centres in the Central Business District was against the guidelines for the placement of polling and registration stations.
He noted that as the name implied, the Central Business District was not a residential area but purely a business and commercial centre made up of offices, shops and markets.
“Since elections had to do with residence that is captured in the registration forms and had nothing to do with business, the existence of these polling stations was untenable and had to be removed,” the Odododiodioo NDC Chairman stated.
Mr. Okai recalled that an earlier petition on the same issue on 9th March 2004 did not receive attention, and urged the EC to revisit the concerns raised and delete the 18 centres from the list of polling and registration centres.
He noted that because the earlier one did not receive any favourable response, registration created a host of problems including violence during the exercise.
Mr. Okai pointed out that it was the decision of the party to co-operate with the Commission to resolve the matter that saved a nasty and embarrassing situation and the people were registered and transferred to their places of residence en-mass without anybody losing the right to vote.
The NDC Odododiodioo Chairman stated that the executives did not stop there but compiled a list of people who had been registered but were not eligible to be registered in the constituency and forwarded the findings to the district and regional offices of the Commission during the voter register exhibition period, which also did not yield any positive result.
He appealed to the Commission to take action on the petition to avoid the unpleasant situation that developed in 2004 during the registration exercise to improve the electoral process, saying the party was prepared to help in resolving the issue before this year's review of the voters register.
“The constituency has 10 markets and people from all walks of life flood the area daily to transact business and so those without fixed addresses in the area far outnumbered residents,” he said.
“People who registered in these centres were of no fixed addresses, which contravened the provision that one should either be resident or ordinarily resident in an electoral area,” Mr. Okai pointed out.
He noted that these same people went to their proper places of residence to register again using their proper identification and particulars.
“The fact that people from other localities are in the constituency most of the working week did not mean that they can vote in the area. People should give truthful and accurate information about their residence to qualify to vote in the area,” the NDC Chairman stated.
He identified the centres to be removed to include the AMA Head Office Registration and Polling Centre, Independence Avenue JSS, Water and Sewerage Yard No one and two, State Insurance Company number one and two, Fire Service Yard numbers one and two, Ayalolo 6 and 8 Primary School one, two and three, Railway Yard numbers one A and B and Number two registration and polling centres. GNA