VIAM Africa, has called on the Electoral Commission to consider extending the days for the limited voter registration exercise on the campuses of the various universities in Ghana.
The education think tank is worried about the bottlenecks students are facing in the ongoing voter registration exercise especially in major university campuses across the country, with fears a large chunk of eligible student voters may be disenfranchised.
A statement released and signed by the Executive Director of VIAM Africa, Dr Prince Armah said students constitute a large constituency of the voter population whose views and political choices cannot and should not be curtailed.
"We think that the students’ voice must be amplified and unmistakably heard in the 2016 General Election. There are over one million students in Ghana, most of whom are eligible to vote, meaning that as a voting constituency they are able to massively affect the outcome of November’s General Election, the statement said.
The following is the full statement
VIAM Africa calls for Extension of Voter Registration on Campuses
VIAM Africa Centre for Education and Social Policy has observed keenly the difficulties students of the various tertiary institutions are going through in respect of the limited registration exercise of the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana. Even though the problem appears to be prevalent across the educational institutions in the country including the second cycle schools, it is very profound at the various university campuses. The University of Ghana, University of Cape Coast, University of Education, Winneba and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology have one centre each to register new voters regardless of the huge number of potential registrants. Coupled with this problem is the fact that, the machines are too slow resulting in long queues on the various campuses at a time the students are writing their end of second semester examination. This could potentially discourage them from getting their names on the voters’ register and consequently get disenfranchised on November 7, 2016.
As advocates of the voice of students ahead of the 2016 General Election, we wish to remind the EC that students are key stakeholders in Ghana’s democracy. We think that the students’ voice must be amplified and unmistakably heard in the 2016 General Election. There are over one million students in Ghana, most of whom are eligible to vote, meaning that as a voting constituency they are able to massively affect the outcome of November’s General Election. This can only be achieved Anchorwhen eligible students are duly registered. Therefore, any action that seeks to disenfranchise them amounts to impeding their voice on various issues including what education and social policies they might want for their future. It is from this background that we find it very worrying to understand that several students may be unable to register to vote due to the highlighted problems on the various university campuses.
VIAM Africa therefore urges the EC to acknowledge the needs of students by setting up additional registration centres on the various campuses for the limited voters’ registration exercise. The Commission should equally consider extending the registration period on these campuses for at least a week to enable many students to get registered.
VIAM Africa Centre for Education and Social Policy is one of Africa’s leading progressive think tanks which provide independent reviews of education and social policies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our purpose is to conduct and promote research into, and the shaping of public opinion in crime and victimization, education and social stratification, education and climate change, education finance, governance, gender issue, corporate social responsibility and social policy (health & social care, poverty, welfare and social work).
Dr. Prince Armah