The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has moved to defend the Electoral Commission’s decision to set up registration centres in Secondary schools which were not already registration centres.
According to the Director of Elections and Research for the NPP, Evans Nimako, the move is was in no way breaching the constitution, as some in the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) seek to imply.
His comments comes after members of the NDC had raised concerns about the ECs decision to move registration centres to Secondary schools which hitherto were not registration centres.
This according to the EC was to enable Senior High School students who were 18 years and above and eligible to have the Voters’ card register without leaving the school premises in adherence to Covid-19 safety protocols for schools.
However, the NDC in reacting to the information stated that the new premises did not form part of the gazetted list presented to Parliament thus making it illegal.
According to the Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, the move by the EC is in breach of CI 91.
“This morning we heard the EC saying that they are going to create centers in SHSs to register the children. This is against the law.
“The CI 91 is very clear; if you want to create a polling station, you have to gazette it and inform parties within 21 days before the start of the registration,” Mr Mubarak said in an interview with Adom News’ Abednego Asante Asiedu.
They further explained that any registration exercise conducted on those campuses would be null and void.
But in defense of the EC, Evans Nimako stated that the move would rather prevent eligible Ghanaians in Secondary schools to be disenfranchised. And further explained that, the EC was only moving the registration centres to the Secondary schools instead of creating new ones as the NDC is suggesting
“As of the start of the registration exercise, the EC provided us with the movement schedule which comprises of all the 33,367 polling stations which will serve as registration centres. We all know that we are not in normal times so in previous registration exercises our brothers and sisters in the Senior High Schools move out to registration centres within the catchment areas of the school.
“In view of the fact that senior high students cannot move out, it becomes difficult for them to access the registration centres within the catchment areas. And so if the Electoral Commission comes out with the innovation that instead of students moving out, they will rather move their registration centre to schools for them to have their franchise assured, it beats my imagination if anybody wants to disagree with this arrangement.”
“The EC has the mobile registration team so it’s just an issue of the registration kits that will be moved to the campus to get them registered. They are also Ghanaians who are also eligible to vote under the law so do you want to disenfranchise them and say that because they cannot move out of the registration centre, you will deny them?
“Listening to the Electoral Commission, the reason I got from my General Secretary is that the EC is not creating new polling centres so if the EC is moving the registration kits there to have them registered I don’t think it flouts any law.”
Meanwhile, an official statement by the electoral management body issued today, Thursday, July 9, 2020, indicated that the two-day exercise which ends on Saturday, July 11, 2020, is scheduled to be rolled out in senior high schools which hitherto were not polling stations.
Thus students who are 18 years and above and are eligible for the card have been asked to present their National Identification Card (Ghana Card) or Ghana Passport for the registration process.