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Voters’ registration: NDC considering lawsuit over changes in EC’s movement plan

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) says it is considering possible legal action against the Electoral Commission for allegedly changing the schedule for registration at some centres across the country.

Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, the Director of Elections for the NDC speaking at the NDC’s press briefing on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, said the change of schedules from the gazetted schedules is causing inconvenience to Ghanaians and its lawyers are considering the issue.

“The EC has been inconsistent in following its own schedules for the ongoing voter registration. The schedules, that were published to the general public have been changed on the grounds resulting in a lot of confusion which is adversely affecting the registration exercise. It is not for fun that the schedules were published in a gazette which is a legal document that states areas where the registration will be taking place.”

“So you publish your schedules in a gazette and subsequently, you start varying the plan and making people move from one place to another to register only to get there and the ground on the schedule has changed and there are legal issues and we are speaking to our lawyers about that but beyond that, it creates a lot of inconvenience and uncertainty and people don’t know what is going on.”

The NDC also warned that there could be far-reaching consequences if the Electoral Commission does not enforce COVID-19 safety protocols at centres in the ongoing mass voter registration exercise.

“There has been total chaos. Ghanaians will recall that one of the major concerns of the NDC, CSOs and medical superintendents, and health workers, lecturers and ordinary Ghanaians raised about the compilation of the new voters’ register was the risk of exposing Ghanaians to the further spread of the novel coronavirus. Our predictions were right. The EC despite the assurances by the Electoral Commission that they will ensure the observance of COVID-19 safety protocols, they have lost total control over the process. From the beginning of the exercise, we have witnessed complete disregard for COVID-19 protocols. While we observe that the wearing of face mask is being strictly enforced, upon entry at the registration centre, social distancing and washing of hands are not been observed.”

Meanwhile, the Director of Elections and Research for the governing New Patriotic Party, Evans Nimako responding to the allegations by the NDC, debunked the claims saying political parties were duly informed.

According to him, after phase one, the EC informed the parties that instead of starting with phase two, the EC will do the batch two of phase one before starting phase two.

“Before the commencement of the voters’ registration started, the EC gave us the movement plan for registration as they have done in the cluster. We only knew that after the batch one of phase one, we were going to the phase two but the EC quickly came back to inform us that instead of phase two, they are going to do the batch two of phase one and so that is what we have been monitoring and in all the registration centres the batch one, we are aware that they did about 10.1 percent of the 33,367 polling stations which is not too different for the batch two of the phase one and so for us in all the registration centres and our agents are there, the party leadership is there to monitor and give us feedback. So far, I will say that the exercise has been very successful looking at the enthusiasm with which Ghanaians have poured out to register,” he said.

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