The Ashanti regional branch of New Patriotic Party (NPP) is calling for extension of the Electoral Commission’s limited voter registration exercise across the country.

According to the NPP, the system created by the Electoral Commission for the registration exercise is not favoring the majority of applicants who have converged at the various registration centers across Ashanti due to malfunctioning of equipment and inconsistent internet connectivity.

The NPP Ashanti regional Communications director Paul Kwabena Yandoh is convinced the electoral commission may not achieve its projected target of about 1.5 million of Ghanaian population who have turned 18 years as of now to enable them participate in elections 2024.

The electoral commission chairperson Jane Mensah ahead of the commission’s 21 days voters limited registration exercise across the country disclosed the commission expects to register at least 1.5 million Ghanaians particularly the youth who have turned 18 years as of now.

Ashanti region with 47 constituencies which is the highest in the regions is expected to contribute at least 17 percent of the 1.5 million registrant.

At the close of registration on Sunday 24th September 2023, the region had only registered 80, 622 registrants 51.1% are male with female representation stood at 48.9%.

However, 14 days into the 21 days registration exercise which commenced in early September 2023 the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) is confident the EC may not achieve its intended target.

Therefore, the party in Ashanti is calling for extension of the exercise to enable the majority of Ghanaian youth to participate in the up coming district level and 2024 general elections.

Paul Kwabena Yandoh in an exclusive interview with GHone News disclosed ” When you are on grounds there are a whole lot of people who want to be registered but the system created by the electoral commission is not favoring them. One of it is the network fluctuations slowing the pace of work at the various centers. So I can say averagely the turnout is not encouraging in Ashanti region.

This means the EC will not be able to meet the projected target of 1.5 million registrants across the country. So I will wish the electoral commission extends the 21 days already announced for the exercise to cover more people’’ he suggested.

Responding to the concerns of the New Patriotic Party in Ashanti, Dr. Frank Amaokohene Ashanti regional secretary of NDC accused the NPP of rather supervising the unfortunate development throughout the exercise.

“ The electoral commission projected at least they will register about 1.5 million people at the end of the exercise this means at the end of every week they were expected to register over 500,000 people which isn’t the case. As we speak we are on day 14 and the total national figure is a little over 500, 000 people. In ashanti region if you look at the EC’s estimated figures of 1.5 million Ashanti contributes to 17% of the national voter population as par the 2020 national population census. So for as in the Ashanti region we were look at between 250, 000 registration per a week but as at day 13 of the registration exercise we have registered a little of about 80, 622 people this means it will take a miracle to capture about 250,000 people in the region as we project within the 21days period ’’ he explained.

Dr. Frank Amoakohene further accused the electoral commission for failing to listen to opposing views of other stakeholders interested in the limited voter registration exercise.

“this means the EC failure to listen to our advice is on course to disenfranchise majority of Ghanaian Youth who have turn age 18 before September 2023 and other who couldn’t register in the last limited voters registration exercise. Currently, MPs and other stakeholder have to sponsor movement of applicants from electoral areas to district EC offices to under through the registration which could have been avoided if it was conducted at the various electoral areas’’ he said.

He further mocked the NPP who are calling for extension of the limited Voters registration exercise 21 duration days of being the architect behind the fiasco registration exercise.

“ The NPP and the electoral commission are working together they are one. So I don’t see where that call is coming from they have both failed in the decision they took. Instead of they advising the EC to eat the humble pie they are not trying to isolate themselves from the blame as if they are not part of the earlier decision now want to call so that the people will feel that it’s the NPP that calling for the extension. We the NDC are saying that the people can’t spent as much as Ghc. 100 on registration’’ said.

EC’s Ashanti regional director’s reaction

Director of the electoral commission in charge of Ashanti region, Benjamine Banor-Bio while speaking to GHone news described the figures recorded so far as very satisfactory he explained why.

Admitted the Commission encountered minor systemic break down on the first they that the exercise commenced in the region however, the problems were rectified on the following day therefore, the commission can’t be blame for deliberate delay of the exercise process.

He disclosed as closed of the day 13th which is Sunday 24th September 2023 into the 21days registration period of the exercise the region have registered 80, 622 registrants 51.1% are male with female representation standing at 48.9%.

Mr. Bannor Bio- disclosed that, “who were not up to 18 year as at 2020 constitute 86.4% whiles those who above 18% constituted 13.6%. So far 670 applicants have been challenge. 437 were challenged on under age grounds while 93 were challenged on alleged non citizenship grounds. 138 have been challenge for being not residents. Two other applicants have also been challenged on unsound mind. 43.4% of the applicant used Ghana card to prove their nationality while 0.3 used passport to prove their nationality and them 56.3% used the guarantors to register’’ he explained.

He described the exercise with as violence free across all the 46 registration centers across Ashanti so far ” we are happy with the comportment of the registrants and their centers. All registration materials we had issues with have been replaced. So at the moment we are no longer receiving complaints of systemic failures from any of the centers again so thing are going well. The political party have also been give the opportunity to reach out to us any time they have issue at any of the centers for redress. So far Offinso Municipality is leading with the highest registrants of over 2600 people as at Sunday 24th September 2023 and then Adansi Akrofrom district with the least of registrants of about 750 registrants.

Explained the commission have about 6-7days to end the registration exercise across the region with all the kits available and that all the challenges they have on the first they are no long an issue at the moment because we have available backup kits so when there’s the need to replace we do. So its is too early for the NPP to call for an extension of the 21days registration period let they should exercise patience with us. You can’t say we can’t achieve our target ’’ he assured.

He added’’ that the 2020 census data projected that about 1.5 million people will turn 18 by now it doesn’t mean that the commission was targeting 1.5 million people during the limited registration exercise period. Registration is not compulsory in Ghana so we don’t expect all these people to come and register. What I can say is that the commission has availed itself to register any person who turn up to register’’ he assured.