June 14, 2021

Special Registration Will Be Conducted For Students, Prisone …

The Electoral Commission (EC) has announced that very soon the institution will conduct a special mass voter’s registration exercise to register qualified students currently in schools and inmates of prison establishments.

The Director of Elections at the commission, Dr Serebour Quarcoo, said even though a tentative date for that special registration exercise is not yet set but would be announced in the coming days.

“We are putting measures in place to go to SHSs and prisons across the country to register qualified Ghanaians there, and the two exercises will be rolled out together,” he said this in an interview yesterday.

Explaining further on how the exercise would be conducted, he said EC officials would move to the schools and prison establishments on specific days to register eligible people.

According to him, EC is not going to have permanent registration centres there, but what will happen is that our officials will go to those places, and based on the numbers, register the people and leave.

After easing of restrictions by President Nana Addo last month, final-year students in basic schools, final-year students and second-year Gold Track students in SHSs and final-year students in tertiary institutions have returned to school to complete their courses.

Also the EC has started the mass registration exercise last Tuesday, people have raised concerns over how these students who are 18 years and above will get the opportunity to register.

The Upper East Regional Director of the EC, Mr William Obeng Adarkwa, was reported to have said the commission had been unable to register eligible SHS students in the region.

He had indicated that all registration centres being used for the ongoing mass registration exercise had been gazetted and so there was no room for extra centres that could accommodate students in their schools

In addition, Dr Serebour said the EC had decided to do special registration on SHS compounds in order not to exclude qualified students. “The students will get an opportunity to register and get their names on the electoral roll when our officials go to the schools. But it must be noted that those centres will not be permanent,” he stressed.

Tackling on how the EC would handle the registration of prisoners, Dr Serebour said the law required that qualified Ghanaian prisoners be allowed to register and vote during elections.

“In 2012, the EC registered prisoners. We will go there this year again and register prisoners because the law mandates us to do so,” he said.

Under Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution, the Supreme Court, in 2010, upheld the rights of prison inmates to vote in general elections in Ghana.

That was after the Centre for Human Rights and Civil Liberties (CHURCIL), an organisation dedicated to the promotion of human rights and the protection of civil liberties, and Mr Ahuma-Ocansey, a private legal practitioner, had, in a consolidated suit, sought the court’s interpretation on the right of remand prisoners to vote.

“The EC, in 2016, registered 2,276 prison inmates throughout the country to participate in that year’s general election,” he noted.

Dr Serebour, speaking, assured Ghanaians that EC would go all out to ensure that no qualified Ghanaian willing to get his or her name on the electoral roll was disenfranchised.

He pleaded with stakeholders in the electoral process, especially the political parties, to collaborate with the commission to ensure that the registration exercise was conducted in a peaceful atmosphere. Adding that there’s a need for persons who turn up at the registration centres to adhere strictly to the safety protocols.

By: Queenel Delali Kukey / Kingdom 107.7 FM / Kingdom TV/ Kingdomfmonline.com / delakuki0@gmail.com / Ghana / 2020

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