The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mrs Jean Mensa says Parliament is partly to blame for the Commission’s struggle to decentralise its registration process.

This, according to her, is due to the failure of the House to pass the new C.I that was presented for approval.

Addressing concerns and criticisms associated with the ongoing limited voter registration exercise, Mrs Jean Mensa said the Commission has been left in a very difficult place.

“As you are all aware, the Commission prepared a draft C.I for continuous registration in all district offices nationwide. This initiative started last year and the registration we were envisioning under the draft C.I was for a sustained long-term basis.

“Indeed, had the C.I been passed we would have had some six months this year to register voters at any time of their choice. Our 2023 budget and work plan were prepared along those lines. Our 2023 work-plan and budget were based on a continuous registration of voters in our district offices nationwide, we did not factor electoral area registration in our 2023 work plan and budget,” she explained.

Her comments during a press conference follow public backlash over the decision by the EC to register eligible voters at only its district offices.

Already, five political parties led by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have sued the Electoral Commission (EC) over the limited voter registration exercise.

The writ, filed on Thursday, September 7, 2023 at the Supreme Court has the NDC, the Convention People's Party (CPP), All People's Congress (APC); Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG); and the Great Consolidated People's Party (GCPP), demanding that the apex court restrains the EC from holding the Limited Voter Registration exercise at only district offices instead of electoral areas.

The parties are of the view that the decision by the EC to restrict the registration centres to their district offices has the potential to deprive many eligible voters of their right to be registered as voters and to vote in public elections. 

The parties have duly filed an application for Interlocutory Injunction to restrain the EC from proceeding with the limited voter registration exercise pending the final determination of the substantive matter. 

A private citizen has also filed a different suit against the Commission.

However, the Commission has gone ahead with the exercise with reports of long queues, faulty machines and network challenges recorded nationwide.

Reacting to this, Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo who is lawyer for Precious Ayitah who is seeking to cite EC officials for contempt of court, has slammed the Commission, accusing it of being lawless.

They are asking the High Court to commit Jean Mensa and her deputies to prison for disregarding the injunction application

“She admitted in her own statement that it was later that it came to their attention that they have been served. So what is the position that when you are served with a court injunction on the 8th of September and it comes to your attention, do you still proceed and when you are served with a contempt application and you are still doing the very thing that the contempt application is citing you for, then are you respecting the law? A lawyer for that matter?

“This should tell you the state of lawlessness that this lady is perpetrating in the name of being a commissioner.

“I have done this over a couple of years with regard to the NIA and she is the first person in my legal history who has been served with an injunction application, and having been served with a contempt application is still going on with the very conduct that she has been cited for. It is a shame, a real shame. This is the lowest that Ghana can ever come to,” he told JoyNews.

Meanwhile the EC says it has increased the registration stations in Tamale and will continue to do so in other places when the need arises.

This decision to increase the workstations in Tamale, according to Jean Mensa, is to ensure that eligible voters are not disenfranchised.

“We have increased the number of registration stations from 2 to 3 and in some cases 4. Faulty kits were also swiftly replaced with spares that were available in the region and so for instance the Tamale Metro office, we experienced issues with the kits sent there resulting in a registration of four voters only on day one. We quickly stepped in and replaced the faulty kits and the registration is going on there seamlessly. We have increased their registration stations from 2 to 4.

“I share these examples to demonstrate that as a Commission we are on the ground and working around the clock to ensure that every eligible voter who is desirous to register as a voter does so with ease," she added.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.