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Opinions of Saturday, 30 April 2016


2016 Elections: Go out to register

Ghanaians who have attained the voting age of 18 and those who could not register during the last voters registration exercise will be given the opportunity to register.

The 10-day nationwide limited voters registration exercise, under the supervision of the Electoral Commission (EC), will allow first-time voters to exercise their franchise as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution.

According to the EC, all was set and everything was in place for the exercise, which is expected to get about 1.2 million young people and adults onto the register ahead of this year’s polls.
The exercise begins from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily and officially ends on Sunday, May 8, 2016.

However, for the exercise to end peacefully and successfully, it will require the collective effort of not only the EC and the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) but also all stakeholders, including the political parties.
This is the time for all hands to be on deck to make the national exercise a big plus to the country’s democratic growth and stature.

It will be prudent to remind the public that the new Constitutional Instrument, CI 91, has put in place stiff punishment for people who engage non-Ghanaians and minors to register and anyone found to engage in any such action will have himself or herself to blame.

The instrument also frowns on any infiltrators onto the country's voters register and it is hoped that the political parties in particular will help educate their members, supporters and sympathisers to do the right thing during the exercise.

This is because the heavy hand of the law will descend on anyone who perpetrates fraud or engages others to perpetrate fraud with regard to the exercise.

While the EC is encouraging eligible voters to register, it also warns that it will not be lenient with those who flout the law and register when they are not qualified to do so.

All in all, it is worthy to observe that the EC has intensified public education on the exercise lately and it is the expectation of the Daily Graphic that all stakeholders will whip up interest in the exercise by encouraging eligible Ghanaians to register to make the exercise a huge success.

It is good to note that the various political parties are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that their members register in their numbers.

Already, the flag bearer of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), President John Dramani Mahama, and that of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, have added their voices to the call on eligible Ghanaians to register.

Beyond this exercise, the Daily Graphic would like to encourage the EC, as it seeks new ways of fine-tuning the electoral process, to work towards a continuous voters registration exercise for prospective voters in future.
This, we believe, must do in concert with all stakeholders, including the political parties, to get their input for implementation.

After all, it is a shared responsibility to get a free, fair and transparent electoral process for the country.

At this stage, the Daily Graphic calls on all those qualified to participate in the exercise to go out in their numbers to register.