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22.10.2008 Politics

Voter Exhibition Created Public Awareness

The Director of the Civic Forum Initiative (CFI), Dr Kwadwo Appiagyei-Atua, has said despite the low turn out during the exhibition of the voters register, the exercise created public awareness of the responsibility of achieving credible elections.

He told the Daily Graphic that mobilisation of a considerable number of people to check on their correct details in the register was achieved in certain areas, despite reports of low turn out in others.

Dr Appiagyei-Atua, who is also a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ghana, Legon, said the CFI would meet political parties to dialogue on how to enhance the credibility of the voters register, after the end of an exhibition exercise it described as having achieved “limited success”.

The CFI is a coalition of civil society organisations with the primary aim of making the country's voters register credible for the December 7, 2008 elections.

The coalition was formed last month in response to calls for help by the Electoral Commission (EC) after the limited registration of voters that was widely claimed to be flawed because the number of people estimated to have turned 18 and eligible to register and vote for the first time almost doubled after the exercise.

According to the EC, its estimation was that at most one million people would be registered, but the number soared to 1,835417, increasing the voters roll from 10,987,057 to 12, 822,474.

Dr Appiagyei-Atua attributed the low patronage of the exhibition exercise to the lack of commitment, mainly by the political parties which did not live up to expectation during the voters registration exercise.

He said a mechanism to make it possible for people to prevent voters whom they suspected to be underage from voting on election day was required if the exhibition exercise could not completely achieve a complete purging of the roll.

The CFI was also planning to meet with the EC to dialogue on finding acceptable ways to monitor the voting process to prevent those ineligible to vote from doing so, he said.

Dr Appiagyei-Atua also said the CFI was broadening its base to include more civil society organisations and community-based organisations (CBOs) to advocate initiatives for credible elections.

A couple of sensitisation programmes, he said, would also be rolled out to sensitise all to the importance of ensuring credible elections.

Story by Caroline Boateng