The Minority in Parliament has called on the government to ensure the Electoral Commission (EC) complies with the COVID-19 preventive protocols in the ongoing voter registration exercise.
But there has been criticism of the limited adherence to COVID-19 prevention protocols such as social distancing and proper wearing of face masks at some registration centres.
The Minority in a press statement urged the government to urgently ensure the EC enforces the laid down COVID-19 preventive protocols “and make more PPE and other logistics readily available to the health institutions to curb the spread of the virus.”
The Minority further accused the EC of delaying registrants in queues which puts them at risk of contracting the virus.
“More so, many willing Ghanaians who have availed themselves to register for the Voter ID card to enable them to vote out President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his government, have been left to queue in their large numbers at various registration centres to get their cards.”
“Unfortunately, they face a high risk of contracting the deadly COVID-19 at the centres because the EC has not put in place the necessary measures to ensure proper compliance with the COVID-19 protocols.”
Social distancing issues at registration centres improving
Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission says compliance to COVID-19 preventive measures at its registration centres is improving.
The Head of Public Affairs at the Electoral Commission, Sylvia Annor in a Citi News interview said beginning today [Thursday], registrants will be required to form queues responsibly, amongst others to ensure that the COVID-19 protocols are not breached.
“We’ve had a few issues with social distancing, but it keeps improving by the day. Day 1, looking at the larger picture, for most places it was okay, but for some, we had to bring in the police to assist in that direction. We just hope and believe that in the coming days it is going to be better,” he said.
Below is the Minority’s full press statement
MINORITY PRESS STATEMENT ON NON-COMPLIANCE OF COVID-19 PROTOCOLS IN THE ONGOING VOTER REGISTRATION EXERCISE BY KWABENA MINTAH AKANDOH, MP FOR JUABOSO (RANKING MEMBER FOR PARLIAMENT SELECT COMMITTEE ON HEALTH.
It is a privilege to address you on the non-compliance of Covid-19 protocols at the Electoral Commission designated registration centres across the country. It is fact that the Electoral Commission of Ghana on June 30th, 2020, commenced the ongoing New Voter Registration exercise after receiving a legal backing from the Supreme Court.
The EC has been adamant on the call from many social groups and public health experts against the registration exercise since many have warned that the exercise will pose the Ghanaian populace or registrants to high risk of contracting the Covid-19 virus.
The exercise as noted started with gross non-compliance to the covid-19 protocols to ensure public safety. The Electoral Commissioner and her team did not ensure proper compliance at many centers in the country and this is so worrying.
More so, many willing Ghanaians who have availed themselves to register for the Voter ID card to enable them to vote out President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his government, have been left to queue in their large numbers at various registration centers to get their cards. Unfortunately, they face high risk of contracting the deadly Covid-19 at the centres because the EC has not put in place the necessary measures to ensure proper compliance to the Covid-19 protocols.
This non-compliance was also demonstrated during the just ended NPP parliamentary primaries which confirm the fact that NPP is promoting the spread of the infection because they have prioritized elections over the safety of human lives.
Good people of Ghana, what is happening at the various EC registration centres have the tendency to escalate the COVID 19 infections in the country and must not be taken for granted at any time.
If this continues, there will be more morbidities and mortalities, which will overwhelm the health system in the country.
Although many institutions including the Ghana Medical Association have come out strongly to caution the EC and Government against the registration exercise, all efforts were to no avail. For this reason, the government and EC should be held responsible for any further escalation of the disease in the country.
We want to reiterate that, we the minority in parliament and the NDC party have been consistent in our position that, government has not managed the Covid 19 infection situation well as opposed to their self acclaimed glory. As at July 2nd, 2020, Ghana has recorded 17,741 cases, 112 deaths and recoveries/discharges were about 13,268.
The Government is therefore urgently required to take necessary measures to ensure EC’s compliance to the safety protocols and make more PPEs and other logistics readily available to the health institutions to curb the spread of the virus.
Besides, we are using this opportunity to congratulate the frontline health workers for their sacrifices and to urge the general public to strictly adhere to the COVID-19 protocols especially at the registration centers.