Feature Article of Monday, 1 October 2012

Columnist: Sunkpa, Dramani

7000 Eligible Salaga Voters Threaten Demo Is A Haux.

I write on behalf of the honest and law abiding citizens of Salaga constituency to assure Ghana and all who feel alarmed by the daily graphic story of Friday 28th September, 2012 captured as “register us now”. This story was also carried on the electronic media. There is no such group as the East Gonja Civil Society Association in Salaga or anywhere around the District. Let me start by putting the records straight.

Firstly, the so called Association is perhaps ad-hoc and has no legal existence. When the EC announced the Biometric Voter Registration exercise throughout the country from Saturday, March 24, to Saturday, May 5, 2012 it was the duty of every citizen to as a matter of right per-take in the exercise. Political parties and their agents were in the forefront whipping interest among the citizenry whilst Assembly men did same for their respective communities. I happen to have been around kpambu during this period as part of my student exercise of information collection for my M Phil programme in Norway. I noticed the exercise went around the area even though not in the township as at the time of my presence. It must however, be noted that this year because of the biometric exercise not all polling stations were registering as two or three polling station were put together at one location for convenience sake because of logistical constrains. Some citizens refused to take part because of ques.Whilst it’s worth noting the ques,important again is the fact that this exercise started around the farming season so many farmers and the youth could not exercise the patient to take part. The negligence of individuals should not be blame on the Nation and the electoral commission.

Secondly, according to report from the previous registration in 2008 only 500 people were registered in the area.2012, 600 were registered which is 10% so how can the number jump to over 100% and what are the basis for this jump? How did they arrive at this number?.It’s important for our brothers at home to know that we will not need any form of intimidation and tensions in Salaga.Salaga is already a conflict spot and we wish to conduct this election without any form of molestations and accusations.

There are reports that the decision to place this information in the Public domain was orchestrated by the MP and the DCE who are both candidates and aspirant respectively. Apparently according to report the division of the constituency has spark this anxiety as majority of the voters happen to be concentrated in the capital of the constituency as opposed to the Abromase area which is home to the MP where all these communities are located.Salaga alone has a population of 10000 so how can small hamlets accommodate this numbers? As a native of this area, I will like to caution the EC to do all the necessary investigations before taking any decision. There are also reports that the District Electoral Officer Mr. David Acheampong puts up with the MP in the same house. It has also been alleged that he was promised a job with the West Africa Gas pipe line if he assisted the process of facilitating the registration process. There are looming dangers as there are counter demonstrations been planned by three political parties as at Saturday the 29th September, 2012. Other reports are that people are being mobilized from Accra Nima, Tamale Hausa Zongo, Asawase Kumasi, Tame Polytechnic, Yeji and Atebubu to register during this re-opening period. Issues that arise from the press conference is why would a civil society group go to hold a press conference from the office of the District Chief Executive? This neutralizes the political neutrality of the group.

I am calling on the EC and all its members including opinion leaders and key stake holders to dialogue on the matter before it escalate into violence.EC is constitutionally established therefore must not bow to pressure in other to erode its credibility. We are prepared as citizens to co-operate with all whose decision matter in this regard.

Dramani Sunkpa. mahasaak@mail.com