By: Kingsley Attitsogbui| Ho
The Coalition of District Assembly Aspirants (CODAA) has described the decision taken by the Electoral Commission (EC) to register 1, 350, 000 new voters at its district offices across the country as frivolous.
Addressing the media at a press conference on Tuesday, August 29, 2023 at the Volta Regional Press Center in Ho, the National convener of the group, Mawunyo Agbe said: “the coalition views the decision and the notice by EC as frivolous and one that falls short of promoting local governance in Ghana, especially in terms of participation in the district assembly elections by eligible voters”.
He explained that, the district level elections in Ghana are essential part of the nation’s decentralized governance system therefore, the coalition is bent on protecting and promoting it from the structural obstacles currently being deployed by the EC which would lead to a total collapse.
“Permit me to ask if it is not insensitive or absurd to demand from an 18year old who perhaps has just completed SHS to board a vehicle and embark on a 20 to 50 kilometers journey to District Electoral Office, to register for a voter ID card, under this excruciating economy, what will be the motivation of these young first-time voters to take the risk? he quizzed.
He observed that, participation level in successive district assembly elections are not encouraging adding that, in November 2019, the district assembly election figures showed less than 40% turnout across the country which was a very abysmal performance.
According to him, performance should be considered by the EC before arriving at its modalities, especially considering the decision of bringing the exercise to the District Offices to new voters to register.
He underscored, the registration, if done at the various electoral areas, whips up the enthusiasm in voters that districts assembly elections is beckoning and the only resultant effect in decentralizing the registration process only ends up with massive participation.
Mr. Agbe, said, the coalition is demanding that, the EC to quickly change its position and deploy electoral materials to each Electoral Area to achieve the needed proximity by cutting down costs, wastage of man power, loss of productive hours, congestion at the district centers especially taking into consideration the target of 1,350,000 and the associated risks for people to travel from far places to register at the District Offices.
He reiterated that, failure to rescind its decisions, the Coalition will consider other legal options.
The Electoral Commission on Thursday 17th August 2023, provided pieces of information on the upcoming voter registration exercise as well as the District Assembly Elections, and as part of the legal framework pursuant to regulation 2(1) of 2016 (C.I.91) as amended, the Commission would embark on a voter’s registration exercise in 268 District Offices of the Commission from Tuesday, September, 12 to Monday October,2, 2023 and hoping to register 1,350.000 new voters by the close of the registration exercise this year.