A/R: Minister joins campaign for new voters’ register

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Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah

The Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah, says the continuous use of the current voters’ register for the 2020 general elections and any other elections will be an act of condoning and perpetrating illegality.

According to him, should the Electoral Commission (EC) resort to the current register for the general elections, then it would be regenerating the same questionable register and “we won’t achieve any difference.”

He stated that a lot of illegalities have been carried by the EC in previous elections which must be corrected.

He said this last week during a media briefing in Kumasi.

The Regional Minister cited examples such as the illegal transfer of votes, a situation that happened with the connivance of Amadu Sulley, a dismissed Deputy Chairperson of the EC, as some of the reasons to have a new voters’ register.

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“The EC’s own comments that Mr Amadu Sulley made some illegal transfers, creation of new polling stations and registration of voters: this may result in gerrymandering, hiding of voters’ identity and bloating of the register. All these and others must be corrected,” he said.

Nothing new

He noted that the compilation of new voters’ register is not something new to the country as it was done in 1996, 2004 and 2012.

“The current register elected President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, current assembly members and unit committee members to power, why then change it? Truth is that since 1992, any register that has been changed brought the President whose time a new register was compiled to power.

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“For instance, President J J Rawlings in 1996, President J A Kufuor in 2004 and President JEA Mills/ John Dramani Mahama in 2012″, Mr Osei-Mensah added.

He further stated that even the creation of new regions requires the EC to create new voter registration verification codes to register their residents.

He therefore appealed to the general public, especially eligible voters in the Ashanti Region, to come out in their numbers and register in fulfilment of their constitutional rights for a credible voters’ register.

Nationalistic

Again, he stated that the exercise should be free of any religious, ethnic and partisan undertones, adding that the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) is going to provide adequate protection for all during the period.

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Qualified applicants are required to show proof of citizenship by either a Ghanaian passport or Ghana Card, or as proof of identification have two guarantors who have already registered as voters so they can register.

The Electoral Commission has carried out a two-day pilot voter registration exercise to test run the kits it would be using to compile the new voters’ roll, to identify any hidden flaws and get these fixed ahead of time.

The mass registration of exercise is expected to start before the end of June, 2020.

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