Community appeals for resumption of biometric registration

Members of the Kassena Nankana East Community in Brong–Ahafo at the weekend called for the resumption of the suspended bio-metric registration exercise in some parts of Upper East Region.

They asked the Upper East Regional Minister, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development and the Electoral Commission to ensure the exercise was continued at Atosale–Azaasi and Akunkogo–Abempingo electoral areas of the Kassena Nankana East Area in the Region.

The exercise in those parts was suspended after a group of persons prevented the Electoral Commission from carrying out the biometric registration there.

Speaking at a press conference in Sunyani, Mr. Maxwell Awekeya, spokesperson, said it was extremely important for the exercise to be resumed at the two centres to avoid disenfranchising the people.

He called on the government and the EC to deal with any possibilities that had the tendency to threaten the peace and development of the Kassena Nankana East Area.

The spokesperson explained that after the creation of Atosale-Azaasi and Akunkongo–Abempingo electoral areas, there had been maneuvers by some opponents to prevent the functioning of the new voting centres.

He alleged that “in the 2010 district assembly elections the DCE for the Kassena Nankana Assembly at Navrongo influenced the Electoral Commission to suspend voting in Atosale–Azaasi Electoral Area.

“The suspension of the bio-metric registration exercise at the two voting centres recently was as a result of the actions of two persons from Akurugu family who ordered the EC to stop the registration exercise at Atosale during the first phase of the exercise”, he said.

Mr Awekeya alleged this was done “at the instance of the Regional Police Commander, the Regional Minister,  and the DCE”.

He added that prompted by this, the EC was compelled to move to another location at Azaasi where they were yet again confronted by a group of people wearing red arm bands who besieged the voting centre to stop them from registering people at the start of the second
phase of the exercise.

The spokesperson said the two groups in question were members of the Akurugu family, who were against the change of the old name Akurugu–Dabo Electoral Area, to Atosale–Azaasi Electoral Area, claiming the former was the name of their family elder and the area was their ancestral heritage so they did not see why there should be a change of that name.

Mr Awekeya explained the group(Kassena Nankana East Community) petitioned the EC in a letter in 2008 for a new name for the Akurugu–Dabo Electoral Area and the Commission gave Atosale–Azaasi as the new name with subsequent approval by Parliament since the area did not belong to any individual neither was it for a family but for all the people.

“The new name of the electoral area does not bear any family’s name. It is the name of that electoral area. It is for the purpose of peace that we petitioned the EC for a new name”, he stated.

The creation of the two new electoral areas, he said, stemmed from the aspiration of the people of the area, including Sirigu, Mirigu, Nabango, Kandiga, Natugnia, Yua and other neighbouring villages for the creation of a separate district assembly to speed up development.

He said several representations had been made by successive governments to assess the feasibility of the creation of the new district, as well as a visit to the area by technical officials from the Electoral Commission recently to assess whether the area was qualified to be given a district status.

“In the recent past, government through the EC revised and created new electoral areas in our area to promote participation of the people in governance and increased development. Two new electoral areas, Atosale–Azaasi and Akunkogo – Abempingo were created. Following the creation of the new electoral areas, there have been manoeuvres by some people to prevent the functioning of the new voting centres”, he added.

He expressed surprise at attempts by people to link local governance and development issues with chieftaincy and land matters, adding, “we are indeed surprised that political leaders at the regional and district levels are not helping to ensure that citizens of these two areas perform their democratic rights to vote for their leaders.

“Instead, recent reports from the media are saying that the people have refused to register until the name of the electoral area is changed. This is false and is meant only to hide the truth”, Mr Awekeya stated.

The spokesperson alleged that the Upper East regional Minister and  the DCE had taken sides in the matter and not ensuring that justice  prevailed to promote democracy at the grassroots level and in local governance.

The group condemned the actions of the two persons implicated in the matter and called on the government to immediately intervene to help address the problem as soon as practicable to consolidate democratic governance in the country.

Source: GNA

1 Comment
  1. Atea Emmanuel says

    The issue of suspension of biometric registration in Akurugo-Daboo was based on the disrespect of some group of settlers to Landlords and chief of the area (Doba) .The change of name from Akurugo-Daboo electoral area to so called Atoasale/Azaasi electoral area without consultation of Doba Naba and his Landlords was the borne of contention here. As it was important to change the name with the reason that it was a family name,why then were the owners of the land not consulted. See the secret minds of claiming other people Land. This was what brought about the suspension of an assembly election in 2010 and subsequent biometric registration this year.

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