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General News of Friday, 25 September 2020


Voter registration was characterized by bigotry, exclusion - Mahama

Flagbearer for the National Democratic Congress, John Mahama Flagbearer for the National Democratic Congress, John Mahama

Former President John Dramani Mahama has posited that the voter registration exercise organised by the Electoral Commission (EC) was characterised by bigotry and exclusion.

He opines that they were many citizens who ”were crudely prevented from registering on the pretext that they were not Ghanaians. These acts of intimidation were perpetrated by the state security apparatus, which is now filled with vigilante elements loyal to the ruling NPP, with an impunity reminiscent of events at Ayawaso West Wuogon early last year.”

Addressing a press conference on Thursday, he said ”What was worse and a danger to our democracy, was that in spite of the glaring evidence available, the President of the Republic denied knowledge of the occurrence of these events. He has also failed to take any action to forestall the recurrence of such acts of political thuggery.

My brothers and sisters, I regret to note that these irregularities, inconsistencies and intimidations are generating anxiety among the Ghanaian public that the upcoming elections may not be free and fair. It is deeply troubling that the ongoing exhibition of the voters’ register has revealed significant omissions and in some other cases the deletion of the names of registered voters on a wide scale. There are also instances in which the gender, name and registration centre have been transposed.”

He continued: ”As an interested party in the December elections, we want to state and strongly that these alarming warning signs do not bode well for a free and fair election. To quote what many others have said in their commentary on the current developments on social media, of what use is democracy, if technicalities will be deployed to steal the mandate of the people?”

Mr. Mahama indicated that wondered why the concerns raised by the NDC has been described as an exaggeration.

He said ”…the EC and our opponents suggest that these concerns are an exaggeration. So, I would like to take some time, at this point, to walk you through just a few of the numerous examples available to us.

In the Binduri Constituency of the Upper East Region, many cases of omission have been detected. At the Narang-Saago Primary School, not a single person out of four hundred and forty-four (444) registered could find their names on the register. At both the Tempielim Primary School and Kumpalgooga registration centres, no name was found on the voters register despite the registration of 428 and 392 people respectively.

In 18 other centres in the same constituency, 6,341 names were omitted from the registration.

In Jirapa in the Upper West Region, a total of 2,057 names were nowhere to be found on the voters register in five centres.

At Klottey Korle in Greater Accra, 2,054 people who registered in some 12 centres, did not find their names.

In Krowor, also in Greater Accra, cases of duplicated card numbers were recorded in as many as eight centres and this affected 2,453 people.

In Ashaiman, the vigilance of our MP, Hon. Ernest Norgbey, and other NDC executives ensured the detection of the omission of over 21,000 names from the register, including that of the MP. In response to this, the EC presented a new register which was still short of 7,000 names, albeit this time with the name of the MP. In a clear case of subterfuge, the EC then presented another register with the name of the MP as though it was the earlier defective register.

In the Central Region, glaring cases of duplication of card numbers were also recorded in 14 centres in the Komenda Edna Eguafo Abrem Constituency. One such case involved my Running Mate, Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang.

In the Volta Region, significant numbers of names were missing on the registers in some Constituencies.

In Ketu South, 6,158 names were missing. In Anlo, 984 names could not be found. In Akatsi South, 426 names were omitted while in Ketu North, 260 names were not found.

Again, in Keta, 275 people could not find their names on the register.

In the Northern Region, instances of missing names have been recorded in Karaga, Tamale South and Tolon Constituencies respectively, which yield a total of 2,173 so far.

Yet another anomaly that has been detected, revolves around the appearance of additional names on the register which have served to swell it.

In Asawase in the Ashanti Region, 907 additional names have mysteriously appeared on the register. Ladies and gentlemen, I need to stress that these examples are but a fraction of the magnitude of the problems encountered so far with the exhibition exercise,” he added.