Voter Registration: Varsity Students May Not Register
Most of the over 20,000 students of the University of Ghana, Legon, are presently in a state of dilemma as to whether they should register on campus in the on-going voter registration exercise or to do so at their various hometowns.
The current state of indecision being suffered by the students follows the inability of the Electoral Commission (EC) to make it possible for the taking of photographs and the registration of the students to take place concurrently.
The students argued that by June, when they would be expected to report at their respective polling stations on campus for their pictures to be taken, they would be on holidays and could not travel back to the University for their pictures to be taken.
On the other hand they found it difficult to register in their hometowns because they might be necessary to be recalled from school for their photographs to be taken at a time when they would be busily preparing for their end of semester examination.
The worst affected group are the final year students who would be completing their courses by May 17, 2004.
One of them, Owusu Anane, from Tepa, in the Ahafo Ano-North district in Ashanti, explained to The Chronicle that he would have to travel home and register because by election time he would no longer be a student and could not travel to Accra to vote.
Anane, however, said he found it difficult to go because he could not go back home a second time for the photo exercise, should a date be fixed for that between now and May 17.
Other students stated that due to their current state of indecision they were not going to register at all.
They said they did not want to commit themselves by registering and later be compelled to travel up and down to authenticate their registration by taking photographs at their polling stations on campus.
"My friend, I'm still struggling to make my life in future and I cannot afford to risk my life by traveling up and down for just one registration exercise. If the Electoral Commission wanted us to register, it would have made the necessary arrangements to ensure that we as students are not inconvenienced in this national exercise," a student said.
Some students also wondered what would happen to the thousands of their colleagues who would be registering on campus but are not resident in Accra, should there be the need for a run-off in the presidential election in the December general election by which time they would be on Christmas holidays.
Most of the students who spoke to The Chronicle also criticized the EC, for delaying the registration process unduly.
They appealed to the EC to put in place appropriate measures to facilitate an easy registration by students especially those in the Universities and the polytechnics.
Earlier, the EC had advised students to register at their various campuses since the first semester of the 2004/2005 academic year would be in session at the time of the elections.
Meanwhile, a visit to three registration centres on the campus showed just a few people queuing to be registered most of whom said they were resident in Accra.