Of Young Registers

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What is it about the voters’ register that it continues to evoke emotions among both proponents of its replacement and those in opposition?

The mention of it sends fears down the spines of those who do not want it replaced. That is why someone remarked recently about the subject, “there should be something in it which makes its maintenance, regardless of its flaws, favourable to some politicians.”

From Accra to New York, it has triggered agitations among Ghanaians in the run-up to next year’s polls. Last week the voters’ register flame landed in Paris when President John Mahama spoke about it, refuelling what is already an inflamed subject.

With no finesse in his presentation, he left his audience and those at home in no doubt about where he stands in the argument over whether or not to change the voters’ register. Until then nobody knew his position, we can bet.

He appeared to be singing from the same hymnal with the Head of the Electoral Commission when he said that instead of presenting their proposals to the election management body, one party had chosen to be going on demonstrations. Whichever that lone party is, we are unable to fathom, given the fact that the ‘Let My Vote Count’ pressure group does not represent any of the political groupings. It is rather, we think, made up of Ghanaians with varied partisan lineages.

 Charlotte Osei had earlier remarked that she won’t be intimidated by the noise of the ‘Let My Vote Count’ pressure group. It is a brusque statement which corresponds with the President’s demand that the EC be allowed to work. We wonder who is sitting on the torso of the Commission. Asking for the replacement of a compromised voters’ register cannot constitute harassment.

Since the President’s remarks—the first direct intervention in the raging polemics—he has offered more fuel for the discourse.

Ghanaians are not as forgetful as he once referred to them. If he says he does not interfere in the work of the EC, how come during the last polls he asked the Commission to extend the voting period so that those who were unable to vote could do so and for the verification to be ignored since it was creating some challenges in many polling stations? This, according to analysts who have jumped into the fray, is ample evidence of non-independence of the EC.

But perhaps the most outstanding aspect of the France discourse was the age factor. For the first time since the replacement of the voters’ register assumed the status of a national conversation, the President has added a new chapter to it—the youthfulness of the document.

Young voters’ registers are not replaced, they are cleaned. It ties in with the EC boss’ announcement that a yet-to-be-announced IT company has been engaged to examine the queries raised about the register. When replacement ensures acceptability of the outcome of the polls, why not? Interesting times!


Source: Daily Guide
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