The Coalition of Northern Savannah Civil Society Organizations (CNSCSOs) has called on the National Identification Authority (NIA) to extend the on-going mop up registration exercise for the Ghana card by one month in all five Regions of northern Ghana.
The extension according to the CSOs would enable the high number of unregistered population to register for the card for purposes of accessing the full benefits of the card including; registration to vote in the 2020 elections.
This was in a statement issued by Mr Bismark Adongo Ayorogo, the Executive Secretary of the CNSCSOs and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga. “Our call is informed by results from field monitoring of the mop up exercise, which showed late start of the exercise, malfunctioning of the registration equipment and network challenges resulting in slow registration process of the high numbers gathered at various centres,” the statement said.
According to the Coalition, data from the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) showed that the five Regions in northern Ghana had a total population of over three million aged 15 and above.
It added that a source from the NIA indicated that prior to the mop up exercise, only about 1.2 million people representing 42 per cent got registered.
“Given the seemingly insurmountable challenges faced by the NIA in the on-going mop up exercise, the Coalition strongly believes that without an extended period of the mop up exercise, a good number of persons aged 15 and above in northern Ghana will be denied the opportunity to register for the card and those aged 18 and above further denied their right to register and vote in the 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary elections.”
The statement also expressed worry that the ruling by the apex court in the case between the Electoral Commission and the National Democratic Congress was silent on COVID-19 preventive measures during the exercise.
“No clear judicial directive was given to the EC to ensure provision of adequate facilities for hand washing and sanitizing as a way of minimizing the spread of the virus that is increasing at an alarming rate on daily basis.”
“In the opinion of the Coalition, the apex Court in the determination of the case, just as Parliament did in the passage of CI. 126, failed to acquaint itself with the realities on the ground, in respect of COVID-19 Protocols by making critical examination and proper assessment of the issues as seen in the NPP primaries and the on-going NIA mop up exercise where a number of the protocols were and are being violated with impunity.”
Mr Ayorogo in the statement called on all Ghanaians, especially the people of northern Ghana to participate in the NIA registration and subsequently the new voters’ registration exercise, saying the cards constituted strong basis for most policy decisions on national resource allocation for social and economic development.
The CNSCSOs is a group committed to advocating good governance and accelerated socio-economic transformation of the Northern Savannah ecological zone.