Mr Albert Kofi Arhin, Coordinator of the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO), has expressed concerns about the huge number of eligible people who could not register in the Electoral Commission’s limited voter registration exercise, especially in tertiary institutions like the University of Ghana.
He has cautioned the EC to heed to calls for another registration exercise to be conducted at the university since refusal to do so will amount to disenfranchising the students.
He held the view that in the event that affected persons drag the EC to court, it would mar the election calendar and the EC would be the loser, so, the right things should be done without delay.
Mr Arhin, who was speaking on XYZ Breakfast Show on Thursday May 12, told the host Kweku Vander-Pallen that: “Refusal means a lot of people will be disenfranchised and somebody will take you on. It could derail electoral processes and expose incompetency and inefficiency on the part of those who manage elections in Ghana.”
The number of students at the University of Ghana, alone, who registered for the exercise, which came to a close on Sunday 8 May, was less than 20 per cent, the President of the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the university, David Ohene Fobih, had earlier indicated.
“By the close of registration on Sunday, we had 1,552 students, which is less than 20 per cent of the number that we expected to register,” he stated in an interview on Tuesday May 10.
There was only one registration centre at Ghana’s premier university when the exercise started, until calls by students and the opposition NPP’s vice presidential candidate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, forced the EC to double the number, which was still not enough to capture all the students who had wanted to have their names on the electoral roll.
Mr Arhin said: “During the district elections, the challenge was that the EC was not prepared to listen and that is why somebody took them to court and it caused financial loss to the state. Even if the commission is independent, the EC must listen to this wise call and open the process again to make sure everybody registers,” he admonished.
To him, the EC must identify “some of these problems and make sure that it does not degenerate into confusion and cause chaos as we head for elections”, he added.
He added that, IEA debate will be prudent for all Presidential candidates to contest together than selection. Singling out candidates will be discriminating and undemocratic.