Ashanti Regional Communications Officer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Nurudeen Abass, has told Electoral Commission (EC) Chair, Jean Adukwei Mensa to pick lessons from people who know more about elections in Ghana to avoid ‘basic’ mistakes.This comes after many centers, on Day 1 of the ongoing Limited Voters’ Registration Exercise, faced several challenges including extremely long waiting periods, ABC News Ghana can report.
Speaking in an interview on United Television(UTV) and monitored by ABC News Ghana, Mr. Abass stated that the EC Chair, Jean Mensa ought to take a cue from people like the NDC’s Johnson Asiedu Ntekia, whom he insists are ‘well versed’ in election-related matters.
“Asiedu Nketia is the only general in Ghana politics. He understands the electoral system in Ghana more than anybody so if he says something about election and you don’t listen, you will face huge disgrace. The things Asiedu Nketia has learned in politics, she should humble herself and learn so she will know but if she decides to be all knowing, and too big, her disgrace will be bigger than what she is seeing now,” he said.
According to him, the process in the Ashanti region particularly, was riddled with huge challenges, due to the EC’s decision to make the process an online one.
“The registration didn’t go well in the Ashanti Region and I hope when Dr. Bossman Asare and Madam Jean Mensa sleep, they will think when they go to bed because they’ve been proven wrong. You see, we made them understand that this is a mass Registration, you can’t make it online for it to be possible. Unless you use offline then you can use BVD devices which can capture everyone. But the woman says she won’t listen, she says EC is independent, Bossman Asare even said we NDC’s are a threat to Ghana’s democracy so they won’t work with what we said.”
“But you know, about 70% of the centers today had a system jam during the registration and couldn’t work because you can’t use online to do a mass registration, it’s so basic but we don’t blame Jean Mensa because she doesn’t know anything about Electoral processes and she has decided not to learn, hence her disgrace,” Nurudeen Abass added.
Abass Nurudeen further detailed some happenings in the Ashanti region on Day 1 of the EC’s registration exercise.
“When you go to a place like Atwima mponua, as at 5pm, they had not even registered a single person due to system jam. Most of the people are coming from far places to register so if they are unable to register in their first try, they won’t come again. It looks like the EC boss is intentionally disenfranchising people” he said.
According to him, contrary to views that the NDC dislikes the EC Chair, their concern as a party is mainly about her actions which according to him, is an exhibition of her lack of understanding for the electoral system in the country.
“NDC as a political party’s disagreement with the EC boss doesn’t mean we don’t like her but her actions demostrates lack of understanding for electoral processes. This is her third activity she has supervised as a commissioner and she has failed in each of them. Her first test was Ayawaso West Wuogon, which is the only bye-election held in the country with 19% voter turnout, it means she fails miserably. Her second test is the IPAC meetings where she is fighting with the likes of Asiedu Nketia” he said.
The comminications officer added that the challenges that characterized the first day of the exercise was a huge disgrace to the Electoral Commission as an institution.
“It is a huge disgrace for the electoral commission as an institution. That the major systems used in our registration have failed completely so imagine if it was a big election and she refused to listen to us, and there was complete system failure like this don’t you think it will bring problems in the country” he added.
The EC has come under heavy criticisms following decision to hold the Limited Voters’ Registration exercise in only the District offices of the commission against calls by the NDC to include all electoral areas so not to disenfranchise new voters.
The Limited Voter’s Registration Excercise which commenced yesterday, 17th June was characterized by regular system failure.
EC’s assessment of Day 1 of Limited Registration Exercise
Challenges with the network resulted in a switch from the agreed online service to an offline in some centers. and a switch to offline machines in some centers.
But Speaking on Starr News in a report monitored by ABC News Ghana, the head of protocol for the Electoral Commission, Silvia Annor, described the ongoing excercise as largely smooth in most of the centers.
“Let me say that in terms of monitoring, it has been so far so good, we’ve not had any report such that we cannot work on the issues at hand. it’s immature to draw any conclusions yet but so far so good, let me say that for now” she opined.
The Protocol Head also explained that the swift shift from online to offline in some of the registration exercises was to tackle ‘unpleasant eventualities’.
“Initially, in the early hours of the day, we had some problems with some of our registration exercises, specifically with the online aspect of the registration so quickly, for those centers we shifted to the offline registration system, we have monitors all over the country and the purpose of monitoring the exercise is nip any unpleasant eventualities in the bud for example if we had problems with the online registration, we quickly shifted to offline, so that is the purpose of the monitoring, to right the wrongs, to correct the anormalies within the system” she detailed.
She however assured that effective measures will be put in place, moving forward, to minimize challenges experienced in parts of the country.
“We have regional directors on the ground, we have monitors from headquarters here in accra, we have the district officers as well, our eyes are on the ground so that if there are any problems, I can assure you that all those problems will be taken care of by the Electoral Commission of Ghana” she stated in the interview.