General News of 2014-08-11

Blame EC for registration violence – Gen Mosquito

The General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia says officials of the Electoral Commission (EC) must be blamed for the violence that has characterized the ongoing limited voter registration exercise.

There have been reports of violence especially in the Ashanti Region, prompting the Regional Police Commander to issue strong warnings to leadership of the two main political parties there, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the NDC to call their people to order.

Mr. Asiedu Nketia told Citi News that violence erupts at some centers because lawful means for agents to address challenges are sometimes blocked by registration officials.

He indicated that the only laws prevent individuals from challenging the eligibility of an applicant, but no one has the power to prevent another person from registering.

Mr. Asiedu Nketia stated that party agents feel helpless when “you have registration officers with not-too-holy intentions, and they are registering people who ought not to be registered, you cannot force those people out and you cannot also get forms to challenge that registration.”

He added that such a situation forces the party agents to resort to violence, “which is also against the law.”

The NDC general secretary maintained that the violence at the registration centers is caused by officials of the EC.

“They compromise themselves by whatever means,” he said; adding that their failure to follow laid down rules set by the EC instigates violence.

“I’m not justifying violence, but I’m saying that when peaceful means are blocked, that leads naturally to violence,” he clarified.

The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) agreed with Mr. Asiedu Nketia’s sentiments. The party’s national secretary, Kofi Asamoah-Siaw, in an interview on Citi News, urged the EC to devise other means through which party agents can effectively monitor the registration.

He pointed out that the attitude of registration officials has rendered party agents helpless to execute their duties.

Asamoah-Siaw recommended that the best way to avoid conflict at registration centers “is to have a national database for Ghanaians” to make it easier for the EC to verify the nationality and age of applicants.

“…So every month, you will know those who have turned 18 years, and you just migrate their data seamlessly,” he added.

Source: citifmonline.com
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