The Peace Council is worried many new voters in the Ashanti Region could be disenfranchised by party agents who are abusing the challenge process in the ongoing Limted Voter Registration.
Ashanti Regional Chairman of the National Peace Council, Professor Seth Opuni Asiama, observes party agents have been raising questions about the eligibility of applicants without basis.
“It appears that some of them goes to the polling station with a set mind to frustrate as many people as possible. So it’s like ‘anybody who come there, we will challenge’. So they keep filling in the challenge forms. Some agents of their opposing parties will object to the challenge that the other party was putting in. You may challenge someone; he is supposed to appear before a committee to have the issue resolved. What if he doesn’t turn up, having spent a lot of time registering and then some people could seem not to be bothered. And we think that that’s a sure way of disenfranchising some of them. We are infringing on their constitutional rights,” he said.
The Council is also alarmed by the continued presence of stoutly-built men at registration centers, in defiance of a Regional Security Council directive.
Four violent-incidents leading to the destruction of some materials belonging to the Electoral Commission forced the Regional Security Council to introduce some measures which included the deployment of police-military team to monitor the exercise.
REGSEC also banned the use of motorbikes within 100 meters of registration centers with only EC accredited agents allowed at the registration centers.
Council members have been monitoring the on-going limited registration exercise which enters the second phase on Wednesday. About 594 registration centers have been opened for the limited voter registration exercise in the Ashanti region alone.
Some of the centers the Council visited include Ahinsan Estate, Sepe-Timpom, Buokrom Estate and Dichemso in the Asawasi and Manhyia North constituencies respectively.
Professor Opuni Asiama tells Nhyira FM some party agents go to registration centers with the sole aim of challenging potential applicants.
“At the Sepe-Timpom registration center, we met some machomen, about 15 of them. It was quiet intimidating. If for us who were not going to register this was intimidating, you can imagine what the people who were going to register will feel; especially these are 18, 19 year old boys and girls and having these well-built machomen in their midst is very intimidating”, he said.
Meanwhile, many of applicants whose registration was challenged have been cleared as the protestors failed to provide evidence for their claims.
Regional Director of the Electoral Commission, Serebuor Quarcoe, has confirmed abuse of the system by party agents.