CSOs urge EC to provide face masks at registration centres

The Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Platform on Good Governance, led by NORSAAC, has called on the Electoral Commission (EC) to provide face masks to all citizens, who report to registration centres to get their names on the electoral list.

The group also called on political parties to advise their agents to adhere to the COVID-19 safety protocols to ensure that the registration centres did not become breeding grounds for the disease.

This formed part of the CSOs Platform on Good Governance preliminary observation report on the ongoing voter registration exercise from the northern part of the country.

The report was signed by Alhaji Alhassan Mohammed Awal, Chief Convener of CSOs Platform on Good Governance, and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Tamale on Monday.

CSOs Platform on Good Governance dispatched a team of observers to 30 registration centres in six constituencies across three regions during the first and second phases of the ongoing voter registration exercise.

The team observed the exercise at Sagnarigu, Tamale Central, Tamale North and Tamale South Constituencies in the Northern Region, Damongo and Yapei Kusawgu Constituencies in the Savannah Region and Bunkpurugu and Nalerigu/Gambaga Constituencies in the North East Region.

The CSOs Platform in its preliminary report said there was no adherence to the COVID-19 protocols at the voter registration centres in the constituencies the team visited.

“It is sad to observe that the assurances the EC gave including having health workers on stand-by, provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) among others prior to the exercise have been largely disregarded,” the CSOs Platform on Good Governance said in its preliminary observation report.

It said “There are worrying actions at the centres from the EC, political party agents and the general public that expose all to the rapid spread of the COVID-19.

“It is serious to observe that in almost all polling stations, majority of the citizens were not in any appropriate personal protective attire.

The electoral officers and security personnel at some registration centres were operating without PPE at the Tamale South, Tamale North and Nalerigu/Gambaga Constituencies,” It said.

It said social distancing was absent at all the centres, describing the situation at the polling stations as “akin to market scenes with some actually maximizing the opportunity of the crowd to do their business.”

Besides, it said, the registration centres had also become rallying grounds for children, who usually trace their parents when they miss them at home.

The CSOs Platform on Good Governance, therefore, suggested the provision of face masks to citizens who turned up at the registration centres to ensure safety at the centres, whilst affording them the opportunity to acquire voter cards to exercise their Constitutional rights to vote.

The group also urged citizens to take personal responsibility in protecting themselves against the pandemic.

Source: GNA

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