The nationwide new voters’ registration exercise, which commenced yesterday at various clusters of polling stations across the 16 regions of the country, took off smoothly, but with some reported cases of long queues and lack of social distancing among some prospective registrants.
This comes on the back of the assurance of ensuring strict adherence to Covid-19 safety protocols, given by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Jean Mensa, prior to the commencement of the exercise.
Mrs Mensa, in her address on Monday, had indicated that all people queuing to enter the registration centre would be required to wear nose mask.
“Temperature will be checked, social distancing will be enforced, and mandatory washing of hands observed. Hand sanitisers will also be provided,” she had stated.
In the Ashanti region, our correspondent, Benedicta Akplor, reported that the registration went on smoothly and successfully yesterday at many of the centres she visited.
According to her, the process was also peaceful, with a lot of people coming in with National Identification Authority cards, instead of passports, to prove their eligibility.
“Registration centres in the various constituencies were calm, with the exception of the Asawase constituency where the National Democratic Congress Member of Parliament, Muntaka Mubarak, alleged that some new polling stations have been created in the area, which he believes would be to the benefit to the New Patriotic Party,” she reported.
The MP also accused the NPP of bringing in non-residents into the Asawase community to register.
However, the Asokore Mampong Municipal Chief Executive and the Chairman of the Municipal Security Council, Mr Alidu Seidu, cautioned the Asawase MP to refrain from making unsubstantiated allegations. He warned that the MP would be held responsible for any disruption of the exercise in the municipality.
Generally, many of the centres visited, including the Freeman Polling Station, Danyame 2 and 1, Kumasi Central Police Command, with four polling stations, State Experimental, Bremang M/A and Kromoase M/A recorded smooth exercise.
Sunyani and its environs
From Sunyani, our correspondent, Richard Boahen, reported that the exercise took off smoothly at the various registration centres in the regional capital as scheduled.
Long, winding queues, with most of the expectant registrants adhering to physical distancing characterised the exercise in the various centres visited.
Most people started queuing as early as 06:00 am and by 04:00pm about 100 prospective voters had been captured at one of the centres located at the Sunyani Technical University.
At the Nyamaa Polling Centre ‘A’, the officer in charge, Kwadwo Donyina, told our correspondent that prospective registrants were issued with their Voter ID cards within ten minutes.
In the Eastern Region, the first phase of registration will last for six days across 387 polling centres.
There was massive turnout across the region when the Daily Statesman reporter, Mudasiru Abdul Yakeen, visited some of the centres.
He reported that, after visiting 14 polling centres in Atiwa East, Fanteakwa South, Abuakwa South, Suhum and New Juaben South and North constituencies, the registrants were all in mask and observing the various Covid-19 protocols.
He added that even though there were no security personnel at most of the centres, people were conducting themselves well.
In all, those registering took less than 10 minutes to go through the whole process.
Yaaba Yamikeh reported from the Western Region that, generally, the exercise went on well.
“At Shama, the exercise went on smoothly, in spite of two hours of delay at one of the centres due to break down of the machine. A total number of 465 potential voters had, as at 3pm, been registered in six centres. The Covid-19 protocols were also observed, except at the Methodist Nursery 2 Centre where some of the registrants were seen without nose masks,” she stated.
According to her, Joseph Amoah, the District Chief Executive, quickly rectified the situation by providing them with some nose masks.
She added that officials of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) went round educating registrants on the need to adhere to the Covid-19 safety protocols.
Agents from all political parties, including those from the National Democratic Congress, were around to monitor proceedings.
In a brief interview with journalists, the DCE said the registration exercise had been largely successful, on the first day, and expressed the optimism that many eligible voters would be registered.
Source: Daily Statesman