SYPPA, a community based Non-profit organisation as part of it’s election 2020 project titled, “Ashaiman-Community Actions Against Violence in Elections 2020”, is calling on the Electoral commission to address concerns of voters in Ashaiman .
In a Press statement signed by the Executive Directpr Jonathan Apangabuno Aviisah, the organization is implementing activities in the Ashaiman constituency which has one of the largest voter population in the country.
Below is the press statement from SYPPA.
For Immediate Release:
4th June, 2020
EC MUST ADDRESS CONCERNS OF VOTERS IN ASHAIMAN BEFORE COMMENCEMENT OF BIOMETRIC VOTER REGISTRATION
SYPPA a community based not-for-profit organisation as part of its election 2020 project titled, “Ashaiman-Community Actions Against Violence in Elections 2020”, is implementing activities in the Ashaiman constituency which has one of the largest voter population in the country
With funding from the STAR-Ghana Foundation, SYPPA has undertaken some activities to assess the risks as well as prospects for the conduct of credible and peaceful elections in the municipality. SYPPA’s engagements with the electorate have unearthed some issues that require the attention of the EC and other relevant state institutions for a peaceful voter registration exercise.
Based on baseline studies and engagements, SYPPA has noted the following key issues of concern ahead of the commencement of the biometric voter registration as follows:
Most of the eligible voters in Ashaiman do not have passports and national ID cards Although the National Identification Authority (NIA) has taken details of people in Ashaiman, a sizable number of them have not received their cards. Apprehension over the potential of the registration exercise to increase the lateral transmission of the coronavirus among members of the community Potential of disputes due to challenges on eligibility and frustration of registrants due to delays and hold-ups especially during the last days of registration if most of the people have not had their chance to be registered Anxiety over equipment failures which can lead to frustration of voters Concern of women traders about leaving their wares and spending the entire day (morning to evening) seeking to get registered without success
Furthermore, SYPPA has keenly followed public discourse on the compilation of a new voter register without the acceptance of old voter ID cards as valid documents of identification of a qualified voter. SYPPA recognises the need for eligible persons without the two IDs stated are given the opportunity and not unduly frustrated when they resort to the use of guarantors to register.
SYPPA argues that for Ghana to maintain its record of conducting credible and peaceful elections, all eligible voters must be registered and therefore makes the following recommendations to key stakeholders:
Electoral Commission EC and NCCE should collaborate with CSOs to undertake intensive public education on the registration procedures to allay fears and doubts that the electorates have about the process.
Since some voters fall into the category of people without any of the required identification documents, the EC must put in place a parallel or simultaneous system to take care of such persons. Given the anxiety surrounding mass gathering due to COVID-19, the EC should open more registration points in constituencies with large voter populations such as Ashaiman in order not to disenfranchise some electorate who want to register. Women and other vulnerable groups such as PWDs and aged, should be given special privileges to register early
National Identification Authority The NIA should, as a matter of urgency, put in place a system to ensure the distribution of cards to registered persons in Ashaiman within two weeks. It will allow eligible voters to participate in the registration exercise easily. In that regard SYPPA advice the NIA to use courier system to distribute cards directly to the applicants using their given phone numbers and GPS codes.
Police The National Elections Security Taskforce should ensure that densely populated centres receive adequate security to enable people to register without intimidation. The National Elections Security Task Force should ensure that personnel deployed to provide protection are advised to act professionally and refrain from using cohesive powers to enforce the order. Instead, they should use dialogue and peaceful engagements to diffuse any tensions that may arise.
Political Parties Call on the two main political parties, the NPP and NDC to advise their agents to refrain from acts that will bring the registration process in some centres to a halt since that will undermine the process and disenfranchise eligible voters.
Health Authorities The Municipal Directorate of health should be resourced to carry out daily public education on COVID-19 protocols at key areas such as markets, lorry stations and the seventeen (17 ) electoral areas within Ashaiman Finally, we advise all eligible voters to adhere to COVID-19 protocols and especially electoral laws which forbids acts of violence. God bless Ashaiman! God bless Ghana!
NB: Media houses should kindly contact Mr Freeman Tsekpo, our Project coordinator on 0244 579 265.
Jonathan Apangabuno Aviisah
Source: AJNewsonline.com || Justice Ametepe