Politics of Saturday, 30 June 2012
Action for Sustainable Development (ASUDEV), an NGO, has revealed that a number of minors are likely to exercise their franchise during the December polls in three constituencies in the Upper West Region.
According to the NGO, the minors took advantage of the Biometric Voters’ Registration (BVR) exercise and in the Sissala West Constituency, eight registration centres recorded registration of children under the voting age, six centres in Sissala East recorded similar incidents and three in Wa East.
In all these cases, party agents seldom filled challenge forms and rather argued with registration officials who tried to probe the ages of the minors.
This came to light when ASUDEV launched its BVR Report on the three constituencies in Wa.
The monitoring exercise was carried out by the NGO with support from STAR Ghana, a multi-donor pooled entity under a project dubbed: “Election for Peace and Development,” in the Sissala East, West and Wa East constituencies of the region.
The project seeks to employ multi-dimensional strategies to mobilise citizens and enhance their capacities to demand accountability, free, fair and peaceful elections in the target constituencies.
Mr. Nashiru Kanton, Grants Manager of ASUDEV who presented the report said in stances where a minor’s eligibility was challenged, parents and guardians refused to fill the guarantor form and yet insisted that their children were of age.
He alleged that some political leaders and parliamentary candidates were seen offering unspecified amounts of money to registration officials at various centres during their monitoring activities.
“The intentions behind such gestures cannot be easily ascertained but these actions are not good for free and transparent processes”, he stated.
He also revealed that despite the Electoral Commission’s education on the registration exercise, significant proportion of the voter population were unaware of the BVR process and schedules of movement for the 40-day exercise.
ASUDEV recommended that all political parties should be encouraged to actively participate in the electoral processes in order to minimise the direct competition between the New Patriotic Party and National Democratic Congress, which is creating tension in the country.**