The Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana has described allegations that it prevented the main opposition National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) party agents observing the on-going voter registration exercise at the Prempeh College and Tepa SHS in the Ashanti Region from taking part in the exercise, as “calculated to discredit the registration process and bring the name of the electioneering body into disrepute.”
The EC, in a statement, said it “did not prevent any party agent from observing the registration exercise at the above-mentioned schools as is being alleged”.
According to the EC, in line with laid-down procedure, it informed the “political parties about the planned registration exercise and requested to have their agents at each of the centres in the various schools.”
The EC explained: “In the case of Tepa SHS, the Commission made available 16 kits for the registration on the school’s campus. As part of measures taken by the school to protect the students from contracting the COVID-19 virus, the school authorities limited the agents for each political party to two agents. Both the NDC and the NPP agreed to this arrangement.”
However, “Mid-way through the registration process, the NDC expressed dissatisfaction with the number of their party agents present. They consequently requested to have an agent monitor each kit. The school authorities opposed the idea as they felt that it would increase the number of persons present. In the wake of the disagreement, the school authorities called in the security agents who restored calm. The registration process continued thereafter. No person present was intimidated or brutalised as is being alleged.”
Regarding the registration at Prempeh College, the EC noted: “The agents of the NDC did not show up despite a notice to all political parties about the registration. In the spirit of transparency and accountability, the Commission delayed the registration till 1.00 pm, five clear hours after the approved start time of 7 am”.
“Representatives of the NDC came to the Centre at 5.00 pm, after only 129 out of over 1,000 eligible applicants had been registered. They called for the registration process to be halted due to the fact that their agents were not present. The process was halted to forestall unrest to the peaceful exercise.”
The EC continued that “the political parties were served with notice about the voter registration exercise scheduled to take place on the 18th of July 2020, in all senior high schools across the country. Additionally, the Commission put out a public notice on the exercise. The EC believes that the allegations are calculated to discredit the registration process and bring its name into disrepute.”
The EC further entreated “the general public to disregard the allegations and work with the Commission to make the registration exercise successful.”