Member of parliament for Builsa South, Dr Clement Apaak, has criticized the Electoral Commission (EC) in its defense of conducting the limited registration exercise in districts only.
According to him, the EC’s view regarding the injunction filed by some political parties and individuals to contest the decision is not the best.
He recounted that the same court had previously stated that “the EC boss didn’t have to testify in the 2020 election petition”.
“The EC has the audacity to defend its conduct because the court is making it difficult for citizens to seek redress. Does it make sense to give a date for an injunction after the exercise is over?”Dr Clement Apaak
Meanwhile, President for IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe, has equally criticized comments made by the EC regarding the cost of the registration exercise.
He stated that it seems absurd for the EC not to count its cost before proceeding on undertaking the registration exercise.
“The EC chair says she and her commissioners did not factor in the cost of ensuring limited registration in all electoral areas in their budget. Nonsense!!!!!!”Franklin Cudjoe
The Chair of the Electoral Commission (EC), Jean Adukwei Mensa, during a press conference revealed that her outfit did not receive any notice of injunction prior to the start of the 2023 limited voter registration exercise.
She stated that the Commission became aware of the notice on Wednesday, September 13, a day after the exercise had taken off.
EC elaborates on challenges encountered in registration exercise
Mrs Mensah questioning the timing of the injunction noted that the EC had “known for a long time that we had registration, so why wait till a day before the exercise to serve on a Friday when there is a lot of field activity going on?”
Furthermore, she indicated that it has been almost a week since the registration exercise started and so far, it has been satisfactory.
Prior to the start, there was stiff opposition from some civil society groups and political parties led by the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Additionally, two suits were filed against the EC over the exercise being conducted at the district level. The parties wanted the exercise in electoral areas.
One of the suits was a High Court injunction by a first-time voter, Precious Ayitah, who is resident in Otsebleku, near Afienya in the Greater Accra Region.
Commenting on this, the EC boss insisted that the suit came in late. She explained that as a Commission, when documentation is brought in, it goes through steps, a recording process, and “so sometimes it does not end up on the desk of Commissioners for some two, three days”.
In light of this, she expressed that it was after the start of the registration that the EC became privy to the injunction that had been served on it.
Moreover, Mrs Mensah denied claims that it is seeking to disenfranchise voters in the ongoing limited voter registration exercise.
Reacting to the National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) accusation that the Commission is making it difficult for first-time voters in the party’s strongholds to register by deliberately sending faulty registration machines to those areas, she maintained that the issue of faulty devices was faced across all 16 regions except Savannah.
Jean Mensa indicated that the allegations are untrue although she conceded that there are challenges that have been addressed and that the registration is going smoothly.
She further explained that the restriction of the registration to its district offices will not in any way disenfranchise voters.
To this end, she indicated that the Commission plans to hold continuous registration in the district offices as well as mop-up exercises in hard-to-reach areas before the 2024 elections.