The Principal Public Relations Officer of the Electoral Commission (EC), Sylvia Annor, has disclosed that the controversial continuous registration of voters that was being carried by the Commission was put on hold by its Chairman, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan.
She could however, not tell who authorized the exercise.
Nonetheless, she said the statement released from the EC informing the public about the continuous registration exercise was signed by its deputy Chairman in charge of Operations, Amadu Sulley.
Ms. Annor made these observations during a telephone interview with host of Si Me So Program, Kwaku Owusu Adjei Frimpong, Tuesday, May 19, 2015.
On Friday, May 15, 2015, the EC through its deputy Chairman in Charge of Operations served notice it has commenced a ‘Continuous registration of eligible voters’ in accordance with Regulation 9(1) of the Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations 2012, C.I. 72.
The exercise, it said, was to take place at all the District Offices of the Commission throughout the country.
But the directive has since been criticized by almost all the major political parties, noting that their attention was never drawn to the exercise.
They accused the EC of acting unilaterally; something they claimed was an affront to the regulations governing the registration of voters.
Regulation 2(3) of C.I.72 stipulates that “the Commission shall at least 14 days before the first day of the national registration of voters, inform Political Parties and the general public by publication in the Gazette, Radio, Television, or any other medium of mass communication, of a place it designates as a registration Centre”.
Regulation 8(1) of C.I.72 also states that “the Commission shall make available to the interested persons or parties at the District Office, the names of persons it proposes to appoint as Registration Supervisors, Registration Officers and Registration Assistants for the Centres, not later than 14 days before they are appointed.
Further to that, Regulation 10(3) of C.I.72 states “the names of Agents of Registered Political Parties shall be communicated to the Commission not later than 7 days before the start of the registration”.
None of the above mentioned Regulations, according to the political parties, was carried out by the EC, provoking them to call for the immediate suspension of the exercise until an Inter Party Advisory Committee meeting was held to discuss the matter.
The EC has in a statement signed by its Ag. Director of Public Affairs, Christian Owusu-Parry, on behalf of the Chairman heeded to the call made by the Political Parties.
“The Chairman of the Electoral Commission has directed that though continuous registration of voters is a facility under the law, the formal resumption of the registration must be put on hold pending a thorough discussion of the matter with IPAC”.
“All District Officers of the Commission and the general public are to take note of this directive and comply”, noted the EC in the statement which was released in Accra on Tuesday.
Ms. Sylvia Annor commenting further as to why the EC did not engage the Political Parties before going ahead with the registration exercise said “since the event has been put on hold, any concern over the matter would be addressed at the IPAC meeting”.
Curious about the whereabouts of Dr. Afari-Gyan since speculations were rife that he had proceeded on leave ahead of his retirement, the host inquired from the Principal Public Relations Officer whether it was the Chairman who influenced the decision of the registration exercise.
Ms. Annor, however, could not say yes or no except to say that “the first press release was signed by the deputy Chairman of the Commission in charge of Operations while Dr. Afari-Gyan authorized the suspension of the registration exercise”.
When pushed further for full disclosure about the brain behind the registration exercise, her telephone line suddenly dropped.
It was not clear whether the incident was due to a technical hitch or a deliberate attempt by the Principal Public Relations Officer to avoid being probed further on the subject matter.
IPAC is expected to meet Friday, May 22, 2014 to deliberate over the issue.
By: Stephen Odoi-Larbi/kasapafmonline.com/Ghana