Saturday, August 9, 2008

Registration exercise still plagued by lack of logistics, security

Mayor of Accra, Nii Stanley Adjiri Blankson on Friday assigned security officers to registration centres in Accra as the exercise continued to grapple with lack of security personnel and logistics.

Accompanied by the Deputy Greater Accra Regional Police Commander Bright Oduro and a team of policemen, he detailed four policemen to each centre to beef up security and maintain law and order. Long queues, disorder and commotion characterized the exercise at the various centres visited and policemen had to calm nerves for the registration to proceed.

Nii Adjiri said his tour of the centres was not to interfere with the work of the Electoral Commission (EC) but to see to the maintenance of law and order at the centres. He called on the EC to provide enough logistics to the centres to help improve the situation and ensure that people were not disenfranchised.

On extension of the exercise he said the EC was in a better position to do so adding, "the EC knows better and we will leave them to revisit the issue and do what they can do best".

At Awudome Centre, the Electoral Registration Officer, Nana Adawa Boateng, said the centre had registered over 1,200 people since the start of the exercise and 50 as at 0945 hors on Friday. She said those who slept at the centre and those who came in the early hours of the morning were given numbers to enable them to be served on time.

Nana Boateng called for the extension of the exercise and more police personnel to beef up security to help maintain law and order. She also called for an increase in the number of registration officers to enable them to register as many people as possible. Expressing her frustration to the press, she said: "It is very stressful and we need a top-up of the police because the only police officer here is overwhelmed by the numbers making it difficult to control the people."

At Mukose, North Kaneshie Assemblies of God Centre, the registration officer, Yakubu Hamidu said there was pandemonium when an Assembly Member for the Area disrupted the exercise because the party agents in agreement with the EC agreed that two volunteers be allowed to help speed up the exercise because the centre had witnessed one of the longest queues since the start of the exercise.

He said the Assembly member therefore ordered that the volunteers be excused thereby infuriating voters who were of the view that the volunteers were doing a great job and helping to serve prospective voters in the queue. Attempts to get his side of the story were futile because he could not be traced.

At Bubii SDA Electoral Area, the registration team of one officer, one shader, one laminator and one photographer had run out films thus slowing down the process. The Registration Officer, Samuel Tagoe also asked for security personnel and logistics. 8 Aug. 08


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