Ghana: Eligible Voters Patronise Nationwide Limited Voter Registration

13 September 2023

Long queues, quarrels and rain yesterday defined the limited voter registration which started at all 268 district offices of the Electoral Commission (EC) across the country.

The three-week exercise scheduled to end on October 2, 2023, started smoothly but with minor glitches, thereby making the process slow at many of the registration centres visited by the Ghanaian Times .

Yet, the eligible voters who swamped the registration centres to get their names on the electoral roll were determined to have their voter identification cards issued on the first day of the exercise.

Some of them defied the long waiting hours and midday rain to get their cards.

At the EC Head Office at Ridge in Accra, five districts; Korle Klottey, Ayawaso West Wuogon, Ayawaso Central, Ayawaso North and Ayawaso East were registering eligible voters, reports Jonathan Donkor and Claude Nyarko Adams.

Although the EC officials were ready by 8:00 a.m. few registrants and their guarantors had arrived, but soon the numbers shot up and crowded the venue, compelling the EC to erect more canopies for them.

As of midday, the Korley Klottey District had registered 37 voters; Ayawaso Central 40; Ayawaso West 25 with the others having similar number of registrants.

A registrant, Regina Essiam, said she arrived at 10 am with her guarantors from Ayawaso Central but because of the long queue one of them had left to run errands in town.

She urged the EC to create more centres so that the queues would reduce because not all guarantors would have the patience to wait for them in the queues.

Another registrant, Michael Tetteh, opted to return another day when the queue had reduced because he could not be at the centre for the whole day because of work.

There were short quarrels between some political party members over the ages of some of the registrants, but they were advised to challenge their eligibility through the right process.

At the Okaikwei South Office, the Deputy Electoral Office, Susana Quartey, said one of the two registration machines developed a fault, resulting in the late start of the exercise and registration of five persons as of 12:45 pm.

From Sunyani, Daniel Dzirasah reports that the registration exercise is taking place at the Sunyani Municipal electoral office rather than the regional office of the Electoral Commission.

Here two registration centres have been created to quicken the exercise when necessary. As at 10:58 am 26 people had registered, with a few people around waiting to be registered.

The Sunyani Municipal Electoral officer, Mr Ernest Opoku, in a brief interview told the Ghanaian Times that so far the registration process has been smooth without any hitches.

He said the people were beginning to warm themselves up to the registration exercise hence the low turnout on the first day.

Lawrence Markwei reports from the Volta Regional capital that the exercise started at 9:00 am at the Municipal Electoral Office peacefully with 39 first time voters registered as at 1:15 pm.

Speaking to the media, the Ho Municipal Director of the EC, Nana Oduro Numapau, expressed satisfaction about the attendance and said it was encouraging on the first day of the exercise.

He said the use of the online registration for the first time exposed those who had already registered. He said his outfit had targeted to register 300 people a day until October 2, when the exercise would come to an end.

From Kumasi, Kingsley E. Hope reports that the exercise took off smoothly in the Kumasi metropolis and beyond with 40 people registered at the EC office as of 12:30 pm.

At the Asokore Mampong Municipality, 50 people were registered and issued their cards as at 2:00pm.

At the two places the EC officials would not comment, but looking at the queues, it is believed by the close of the day, the registered could be in hundreds.

Rafia Abdul Razak, reported from Wa in the Upper West Region that there was low turnout.

In an interaction with the Ghanaian Times during a visit to their office to monitor the exercise as about 11:45am, the Municipal Director, Mr Ben Alaglo, said a total of 40 people had been registered so far.

The rest, he said, were in a queue waiting for their turn to register and get their details captured.

He said officials were not having challenges with their machines and urged all new voters to make good use of the exercise.

From Koforidua in the Eastern Region, Ama Tekyiwaa Ampadu Agyeman, reported that the exercise started at about 8am and 8:15am in the New Juaben South and New Juaben North Municipality respectively.

In the New Juaben South District, 38 people had registered as of 11am.

The Municipal Electoral Officer in charge of the area, Kofi Asante Owusu, told the Ghanaian Times there were no challenges, adding that all materials had arrived at the start time.

He said the turnout was encouraging and hoped that more people would come before the exercise ended.

In the New Juaben North Municipality, the EC Municipal Officer, Dorcas Akoto Donkor, said they had registered only nine people as at 1pm due to low turnout but hoped that the people would come in the subsequent days.

Technical hitches hit the start of the limited voter registration exercise in some centres in the Western Region, slowing down processes reports Clement Adzei Boye from Takoradi.

Centres affected included the Takoradi sub metro office, Effia Kwesiminstsim and the Essikado centres.

Again, complaints about minors imported by some groups to be registered also turned some centres into 'turf wars', disturbing the peace and order of the exercise.

At the Takoradi centre, some groups accused another group for allegedly transporting students from Ghana Technical Secondary School (GSTS), to register their names.

The Registration Officer, Prince Acheampong, told the Ghanaian Times that the technical issues had been resolved and processes were ongoing, adding that "as at 1.30pm, 30 people have been registered."

At the Effia Kwesiminstim centre, huge crowd had massed up to watch groups engaged in heated arguments and scuffles over minor issues.

Meanwhile, the equipment had stalled due to some technical challenges.

David O. Yarboi-Tetteh reports from Cape Coast Municipality that scores of eligible voters yesterday besieged the EC District office at Cape Coast to register.

Even though there were two machines available for the registration, the number earmarked for the exercise could not accommodate the enthusiastic crowd who were anxiously waiting for their turn to be registered.

However, there was some confusion at the venue halting the registration exercise for about 30 minutes, but the confusion was resolved.

The Cape Coast District Director of the EC, Richard Asenso, urged the enthusiastic crowd to be patient as they go through the process.

He said, there was no need for residents desirous of registering to besiege the venue on the first day since the exercise would be running for 21 days.

As early as 7: 00 a.m. yesterday, some of the eligible Ghanaians had lined up at the centre to go through the process of registration.

Dzifa Tetteh Tay reports from Kpone that in the Kpone-Katamanso Office, the exercise started at about 8:20am.

"I have always prayed to be 18 years so that I can vote and I am happy Insha Allah I will vote next year", an 18-year-old Senior High School graduate, Musa Ibn, said.

The limited exercise is for those who have now attained the eligible voter age of 18 years or those who are qualified, but could not register during the previous exercise.

It is being held despite a suit by some political parties, including the National Democratic Congress (NDC) praying the Supreme Court for an interlocutory injunction on the exercise.

According to the plaintiffs, the restriction of the exercise to the EC offices instead of electoral centres, would bring inconvenience to registrants, thereby disenfranchising them.

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