The Dynamic Youth Movement of Ghana (DYMOG) has described as “not only untenable but authoritatively reprehensible”, the calls by senior legal practitioner, Sam Okudzeto on the compilation of the voters’ register.
Mr. Okudzeto had earlier asked the Electoral Commission (EC) to start the voters’ registration exercise in places that have not been affected by the President’s restriction of movement’s directive.
“Our cases of the Coronavirus is not as dramatic as it is in many countries which means that we only have few pockets in the two big municipalities and few of the smaller ones. So since the lockdown is not the whole of Ghana, the EC should start the registration in areas where there is no lockdown,” he said.
But DYMOG, in disagreement with his assertions said that “the disappointing suggestion in addition, is sharply at variance with the directives of the President banning all public gatherings aimed at containing the pandemic.”
“This irresponsible call, if adhered to by the EC amid this lethal pandemic will create an auspicious ambience for the astronomical spread of the deadly virus,” the group said in a statement.
They are therefore urging the EC to “vehemently reject this condemnable preposition from the Counsel of State Member”, adding that “the need for a new voters’ register or otherwise should not be achieved at the expense of the health and wellbeing of the general citizenry. The right to good health is equally an inalienable right just as the right to vote.”
The new register
The Electoral Commission is supposed to organize the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections on December 7.
Prior to that, it was seeking to replace its biometric machines to better address verification challenges that could occur during the elections and scheduled for that to be done on April 18, 2020.
But the EC has had to suspend the planned compilation exercise over the ban on public gatherings and a partial lockdown of some parts of the country as part of efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease that has bedevilled the country.
No new date has been announced following the suspension.
NIA, EC bashed after decision to continue with activities
The National Identification Authority (NIA) came under intense criticism from the public after going ahead with its Ghana card registration in the Eastern Region despite the announcement by President Akufo-Addo for social distancing to be observed as part of efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.
In the same period, the Electoral Commission was also courting public disaffection over its stance to proceed with a voter registration exercise despite the outbreak of the disease.
As at that time, only Greater Accra and Ashanti regions had recorded cases of the novel coronavirus.
The NIA insisted that its decision to carry on with the Ghana Card registration exercise was not violating the directives concerning public gatherings.
This was despite reports indicating that citizens looking to register for the card were massing at some registration centres in contravention of expert advise for curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus.
But it finally suspended the exercise after an interlocutory injunction application filed at the High Court restraining the Authority from continuing with it.