Project lead for Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO), Paul Aborampah Mensah, has expressed disappointment in the violence recorded in some district offices in the ongoing limited voter registration exercise organized by the Electoral Commission.
According to him, such violent incidents shouldn’t find its way into such a limited exercise, considering the fact that it does not include scores of Ghanaians like the general elections.
He however revealed that among the three phases of electoral processes, the phase that always records most violence is the registration phase.
In light of this, Mr Mensah explained that entering into the “eight rounds cycle of election in Ghana in the fourth republic”, some of these occurrences should have reduced.
“… But even in limited voter registration exercise that is taking place in 268 districts, we are still witnessing some of these violence. Don’t forget what happened in 2020 where in some of the constituencies, to the extent that alleged sitting MPs were holding guns and shooting and other things.
“So, these same things are repeating for a limited voter registration that the EC is saying it is targeting 1.5 million [people], then the worry is still there and is deepened. We should be worried as a country.”Paul Aborampah Mensah
EC’s conduct of limited registration exercise
Furthermore, Mr Mensah stated that no specific individual can be blamed for the pockets of violence taking place at some district offices. He however stated that election registration periods are ones that the EC must be careful to ensure that security personnel are alert and based on intelligence, must deploy more men to these registration centers.
The CODEO project lead emphasized that this would ensure safe registration especially now that the EC is undertaking the exercise in very few centers.
To this end, he highlighted that one would expect that the security will differ because they have the numbers to managed just 268.
“I overheard some commentators saying because our registration is taking place in very few areas, that’s the cause of the violence. But when you look into our election activities, the election phase, voting day and the post-election environment, we always record violence during registration exercise…
“So, I don’t just buy into the allegation of few districts causing the most violence – it’s something that is associated with electoral phase, especially during voter registration and therefore, we expect security to be viewed in all registration periods.”Paul Aborampah Mensah
Commenting on his impression of the registration exercise so far, Mr Mensah revealed that per some news reportage, the patronage has been high. However, he indicated that it will be good to have a data breakdown as to the composition of people who are registering.
“Don’t forget the argument from the political parties and some civil society organizations have been the worry of our people at the rural areas, accessibility issues, cost issues, and therefore the fears were that they may not be able to travel to the districts to register. Yes, we are seeing the numbers, it will be very good for us to get the data as to where the people registering are coming from.”Paul Aborampah Mensah
Meanwhile, about 15 persons have been injured, with five hospitalized, after masked men attacked some residents in Okaikoi North in the ongoing limited voter registration exercise.
The unknown gunmen reportedly bolted away with GH₵11,000 in the incident and the victims were applicants who had stayed overnight at the center to avoid long queues in the morning.
The Okaikoi North National Democratic Congress (NDC) Chairman, Gregory Quarshie, who was present, said the incident has been reported to the police.