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The country has been thrown into a prolonged state of confusion between the two major political parties and some civil society organizations with regards to the compilation of a new voters register which will replace the old one.
The argument degenerated into series of accusations and pointing of fingers at the Electoral Commission Chair, Mrs. Jean Mensah and her deputies. Whiles the major opposition party the NDC have argued on why the EC doesn’t have the mandate to compile a new register when it can actually clean up the old register for use come December 7th presidential and parliamentary elections, many organizations especially the Ghana Medical Association and well-meaning health experts have expressed worry about the exercise due the escalating figures of coronavirus cases we keep recording each day.
Not that they may be against the compilation of the register but as health professionals; they ought to be skeptical about the modus operandi of the EC and how the EC intends to carry out the exercise in the midst of the pandemic. The free way was given to the electoral commission after the Supreme Court ruled that the EC has the constitutional mandate to compile a new register as and when it deems necessary and that the EC was not acting in contravention to the established laws that bind it.
The Electoral Commission set up June 30th as the commencement date for the exercise and series of questions keep boggling the minds of Ghanaians as to how the EC intends to protect and guard the interest of its staff who are going to be the frontline workers of the exercise. The health status of every Ghanaian matters especially in an era where not only Ghana but the entire world is battling with a pandemic that has become an albatross on necks of countries and in effect crippling global economies and unleashing hostile health ramifications on vulnerable people. In fact, while the EC has outlined its program for the 38 days period it will be conducting the exercise, there must be the need to also map out strategies and feasible measures that will safeguard the health interest of its workers.
The Ghana Medical Association before the exercise kickstarted yesterday had emphasized on the need for the EC to ensure that enough PPE materials have been fully supplied to the registration centers and the enhancement of the existing Covid-19 protocols with the basic one been social distancing is also held paramount.
The EC must protect its frontline workers because they are the ones that are going to deal hand-in-hand with the masses and in order not to jeopardize their health conditions by being exposed to patients or individuals suspected to be having symptoms of the virus, it will be imperative that they get a full protection in that regard.
In fact, it will be recalled that in April during one of the usual COVID-19 address by the President, the first gentleman of the land made some pronouncements with regards to some benefits that will be going to frontline health workers with the idea of motivating them to give their best in this era of COVID-19. Key among them was an Insurance package, with an assured sum of GHS350,000 (approx. US$60,345).
It is on this score that we strongly believe that the Electoral Commission must provide a similar insurance package for its 42,025 Electoral Officers who will be leading this registration exercise, revision of the register and the general election; to at least protect them in the event that they contract the deadly coronavirus. It is still not too late to get such a package for these valuable human resource of the Commission for a stitch in time saves nine.
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