The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) says the Electoral Commission (EC) should be held liable if there is a spike in Coronavirus cases as a result of failure to adhere to safety protocols within the various registration centres.
The Commission began its voter registration exercise on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, despite criticisms of a possible spike in COVID-19 cases in Ghana.
It assured that the necessary safety protocols will be put in place during the exercise.
But lack of social distancing at the various registration centres has been the major concern from stakeholders.
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show on Friday, July 3, 2020, the General Secretary of GMA, Dr Justice Yankson said the Association can only advise the Electoral Commission but can’t force it to implement the recommendations.
“We were very clear in our minds that as an association, we didn’t have the power to stop them (EC) because the Supreme Court that is actually clothed with the powers with all the issues that came up had actually given the EC the go-ahead so on that basis we don’t have any problem at all.”
“Our issue with the EC is that, in the process of executing that constitutionally given mandate, people are not made worse off in terms of the public health pandemic we have now. That is where our focus is because, now, we don’t have the power to stop them, but we will continue to advocate and point out the wrongs…and also ensure that where they [EC] refuses to respond to these things, they should be faced with the liability and where the law allows, they should be punished as well.”
The Association further urged Ghanaians to take their destinies into their hands and adhere to the laid down preventive measures to ensure their safety at the registration centres.
“…We will keep urging the people of Ghana to also take their destinies into their own hands and ensure they obey these rules as spelt out. The preventive etiquette is to save their own lives and the rest of us.”
Ensure EC complies with COVID-19 protocols – Minority to Government
Meanwhile, the Minority in Parliament has called on the government to ensure that the EC complies with the COVID-19 preventive protocols in the ongoing voter registration exercise.
The Minority in a press statement urged the government to urgently ensure the EC enforces the laid-down COVID-19 preventive protocols “and make more PPE and other logistics readily available to the health institutions to curb the spread of the virus.”
The Minority further accused the EC of delaying registrants in queues which puts them at risk of contracting the virus.
“More so, many willing Ghanaians who have availed themselves to register for the Voter ID card to enable them to vote out President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his government, have been left to queue in their large numbers at various registration centres to get their cards.”
“Unfortunately, they face a high risk of contracting the deadly COVID-19 at the centres because the EC has not put in place the necessary measures to ensure proper compliance with the COVID-19 protocols.”
Social distancing issues at registration centres improving
However, the Commission says compliance to COVID-19 preventive measures at its registration centres is improving.
The Head of Public Affairs at the Electoral Commission, Sylvia Annor in a Citi News interview on Thursday, July 2, 2020, said registrants will be required to form queues responsibly, amongst others to ensure that the COVID-19 protocols are not breached.
“We’ve had a few issues with social distancing, but it keeps improving by the day. Day 1, looking at the larger picture, for most places it was okay, but for some, we had to bring in the police to assist in that direction. We just hope and believe that in the coming days it is going to be better,” he said.