Over 33,000 ‘NHIS voters’ have been disenfranchised as far as this year’s general elections are concerned, following their failure to avail themselves of the opportunity provided by the Electoral Commission to get re-registered.
The 10-day exercise ended on Thursday July 28. According to the EC’s numbers, only a little over 24,000 out of the over 57,000 NHIS voters whose names were deleted from the register of voters on the orders of the Supreme Court, turned up to get re-registered. This effectively means those who could not get re-registered cannot vote in December.
Meanwhile, the election management body has said it will not extend the date for the re-registration exercise.
The low turnout during the exercise has been blamed on low publicity, a situation that caused some politicians including Mr. Sam Pyne, Ashanti Regional Secretary of the NPP and Effutu MP Alexander Afenyo-Markin, for an extension of the exercise.
But at a news conference in Accra on Friday July 29, the EC’s Director of Communication, Mr. Eric Dzapkasu said the low turnout could not be attributed to the low publicity of the event because there was adequate publicity done on the exercise. “…It cannot be the case that the low turnout was caused by low publicity.
The message was well disseminated; if people actually wanted to get registered, they could have done so within the 10 days. There is no evidence that when an extension of the date is granted, the remaining people will come out of their houses or communities and get their names re-registered.”
He added: “In the considered opinion of the [Electoral] Commission, the re-registration exercise could not be extended. Apart from the fact that the exercise was extensively publicised, the decision not to extend the exercise has been informed by a number of additional substantive reasons. [These are]: we are required by law to exhibit the provisional register of the persons re-registered. Due to the deployment of additional registration kits to some heavily-populated districts, it necessarily follows that the data captured must be processed.
This means we will require some time to be able to do that in order to be in the position to exhibit the provisional register for the re-registrants from 5 to 8 August 2016 as agreed at the IPAC. The process of the data will include configuration of data of all persons who registered with BVR kits and that takes not less than two weeks”.
Mr. Dzakpasu continued: “There is the need to set up district registration review committees to adjudicate all challenges to the re-registration of some of the affected persons. In this regard, regulation 20 (1) A B C of CI 91 provide that the district registration review committee shall within seven days examine the grounds for the challenge.