26.03.2004 Politics

EC closes down registration centres

26.03.2004 LISTEN

Agona Swedru (C/R), March 26, GNA- The Electoral Commission (EC) has closed down two registration centres at Bontrase, following persistent refusal of the chiefs and people in the town to register. Mr Serebour Quaicoe, Agona District Electoral Officer announced this at the Heads of Department meeting on Thursday at Agona Swedru. The meeting afforded the heads the greater opportunity to access their performances last year, and adopt new strategy for this year. Mr Quaicoe said the closure of the centres followed a visit of the Regional Electoral Officer Mr Mark Ayimadu on Saturday, March 20, to assess the situation there.
The District Electoral Officer said at the time of closing down the centres, only four people had registered, adding that this compelled the Commission to pack all registration materials and also withdraw the registration officers from the town.
Mr Quaicoe said the chiefs and people of Bontrase have declared that they would not allow officers from Agona District to register them and that Bontrase is under Awutu-Efutu-Senya District.
They therefore appealed to the EC to send officials from the Awutu-Effutu-Senya district to conduct the registration exercise there.
Mr Quaicoe said apart from Bontrase, the exercise was going smoothly in all the registration centres in the Agona district. He stated that as at Tuesday, March 23, each of the six centres in the Swedru township had registered more than 1,000 prospective voters, and assured the heads of department that there would be no shortage of registration forms in the district.
Mr Quaicoe also explained that since the EC expected the physically impaired, especially the blind to exercise their franchise, it had come out with what it called "taatal" ballot papers.
He explained that the specially designed ballot papers would enable the blind registered voters to identify candidates of their choice on the ballot papers
Mr G.B.L. Siilo, Agona District Co-ordinating Director who presided over the meeting, told the heads of department to refrain from taking partisan decision that will thwart productivity.
Mr Siilo urged the heads not to allow their subordinates to take active part in party politics, adding that public and civil servants are not allowed to wear party T-shirts during office hours.
He noted that the District Assembly would ask officers who were occupying government bungalows to sign tenancy agreements to compel them to pay their utility bills.
Mr Siilo said the reason for the agreement was that some officers occupying bungalows refused to pay their electricity and water bills, thereby creating inconveniences for in-coming officers.

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