Tension, fisticuffs characterise voters registration exercise in Cape Coast
The tensions were among elements of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) chiefly over suspicions, allegations and counter-allegations of registering minors.
The situation culminated in fisticuffs among the opposing parties.
The Electoral Commission’s office at the Cape Coast Metropolitan Assembly (CCMA) building would serve both Cape Coast North and South Constituencies throughout the 21 days process.
This has resulted in overcrowding at the centre.
To have a smooth process, the electoral officers have created two centres, one each for persons with Ghana Card and those using the guarantor system.
The exercise commenced around 0820 hours and as 1215 hours only 66 persons had been registered due to challenges with network.
At Centre A, where Ghana Card holders were being registered, 37 people had been registered while the centre B had registered 29.
The GNA observed that the guarantor system was the main cause of the tension.
Earlier, the process at Centre A was halted briefly over agitations to get the EC to send the exercise down from the second floor of the CCMA building.
But, the EC officials argued that they did not have the resources to undertake that action.
Mr stephen Asenso, an official of the EC in the Central Region, noted that they did not anticipate the huge numbers because the registration was supposed to be a walk-in exercise.
He also raised concerns about the sheer numbers of agents for the various political parties, saying a maximum of two each should suffice.
Mr George Justice Arthur, NDC Secretary for Cape Coast South, describing the exercise as “haphazard” and accused the NPP of registering minors.
“They are bringing underage people here and we are challenging them.
“So, we are asking the EC to be extremely careful about some of these things and keep their eyes on them,” he said.
He also expressed discontent with holding a part of the exercise on the second floor of the Assembly’s building, arguing that it could deprive differently abled persons.
Mr Arthur deploring the overcrowding maintained that the exercise should be decentralised.
“Look at how this place is crowded. There are people from Effutu Mampong far away, and they are complaining that they are not even getting money to take a car and come to this place to register.
“NPP people are very comfortable with what is happening here while the ordinary Ghanaians are complaining,” he said.
But Mr Alfred Ken Ghartey, NPP Secretary for Cape Coast South, refuted the allegations of registering minors and pointed fingers at the NDC.
“It is never true. If there are any minors, the EC is having a challenge form and so one can challenge the person.
“But as a party, we have not included any minor in this exercise,” he said.
For him, even though the exercise had been fraught with network challenges, he was generally content with the process.
Mr Ghartey disagreed with the calls to decentralise the exercise because it was only a limited registration exercise.
“I don’t see any problem with this exercise. The problem comes from us the parties. If we comport ourselves very well, the process will move on smoothly.
“I like the process and wish it continues to go smoothly for the 21 days,” he intimated.