The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) has asked the National Democratic Congress and the New Patriotic Party to call their agents at centres for the ongoing limited voter registration exercise to order.
While CODEO makes the call to all political parties for order to prevail at the centres, it says agents of the two leading parties are particularly noted to lead in minor disorderly conduct on day one of the exercise.
CODEO issued the call in its Day One situational report of the Limited Biometric Voter Registration Exercise which started Thursday, April 28.
It said while the opening day had been largely successful, there were a few infractions and shortcomings that need to be corrected immediately, including “a few cases of registration officials wrongly applying the registration requirement rule.”
It said for instance that when it comes to the abuse of the Challenge Procedure, “there were a number of cases where the procedure was abused particularly by party agents. Some party agents, particularly those representing the NDC and the NPP, seemed to be outdoing each other by challenging applicants”, while in the case of party agent behavior, some agents, mainly of the NDC and NPP, “engaged in unacceptable practices at some registration centers with the agents initially collecting registration details of new registrants after they had gone through the process until registration officials intervened and curtailed the practice.
“CODEO also implores all political parties, especially the NDC and the NPP, to call their agents to order at registration centers”, the report said.
Below is the full situational report issued by CODEO and signed by its National Coordinator, Albert Arhin.
CODEO Situational Report on Day One of the On-Going Limited Biometric Voter Registration Exercise
The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) has been observing the limited voter registration exercise, which commenced today in all district, municipal and metropolitan areas of the country. CODEO can confirm that, so far, the registration exercise has generally proceeded smoothly, amidst intermittent rains in parts of the country.
CODEO makes the following specific observations based on field reports received from its observers stationed at selected registration centers:
Opening of Registration Centers
• Many registration centers were able to open on time, with some centers opening slightly later than the statutory 7:00 AM time.
• Most registration centers had all the required materials and equipment for the exercise.
• However, D.A. JHS Banda Registration Center in the Bonwieso East Electoral Area of the Krachi Nchumuru district of the Volta Region did not open.
Presence of Party Agents
• Party agents mainly from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) were present at most of the centers observed. The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) had agents in some few places.
Functioning of Biometric Devices and other equipment
• Registration devices and equipment have generally functioned well.
• However, there were a few instances of minor initial problems of malfunctioning equipment and consequent long delays at some Centers. At the Palnaba Registration Center in the Sarabogo-Deega Electoral Area in Pusiga in the Upper East Region, for example, a faulty printer caused undue delay in the registration process, with no registrant issued a voter ID as at 3:00PM today. This created a backlog of people in queue waiting to register.
Compliance with registration rules and procedures
• Registration officials largely complied with registration rules and procedures.
• However, CODEO observers reported a few cases of registration officials wrongly applying the registration requirement rule. At the Cholten Square, BOPP registration Center in Odumase-BOPP Electoral Area in the Mpohor District of the Western Region, registration officials were asking National Health Insurance (NHIS) cards from applicants for proof of eligibility.
• At the Jirapa Local Council Center in the Nayiri Electoral Area, Jirapa, Upper West Region, a Data Entry Clerk skipped the registration process by taking the photograph of the first registrant for the day, who had not gone through the interview process. The situation was however rectified by the registration team and correct procedures were subsequently applied.
• Most applicants lacked any form of ID and resorted to the use of guarantors.
Abuse of the Challenge Procedure
• Although the challenge process was generally observed in various registration centers, there were a number of cases where the procedure was abused particularly by party agents. Some party agents, particularly those representing the NDC and the NPP, seemed to be outdoing each other by challenging applicants. Almost all the 20 registrants who had gone through the registration process by 1:40PM at the Boadua Presby Primary School in the Boadua East Electoral Area in the Dekyembuor district of the Eastern Region, had their registration challenged by agents of either the NDC or the NPP. Similar incidents of abuse of the challenge process were reported at other registration centers such as the Enyan Maim Ahmadiyya Registration Center in the Enyan Maim Electoral Area in the Ajumako- Enyan-Essiam district of the Central Region.
Party Agent Behavior
• Some agents, mainly of the NDC and the NPP, engaged in unacceptable practices at some registration centers. Party agents were initially collecting registration details of new registrants after they had gone through the process at the Anglican Primary School in Prampram registration center in the West Lower Prampram Electoral Area at the Greater Accra Regions. Registration officials, however, intervened and curtailed the practice.
• CODEO takes this opportunity again to urge all qualified citizens of Ghana to use the remaining days of the exercise to get their names into the voters’ register.
• CODEO also implores all political parties, especially the NDC and the NPP, to call their agents to order at registration centers.
• CODEO calls on the Electoral Commission to quickly assess the conduct of today’s exercise and address the issues to help improve the conduct of the registration in the subsequent days.
CODEO’s observation of the registration exercise is made possible with the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
National Coordinator, CODEO
Dated: Thursday, April 28, 2016