A Ghanaian citizen resident in the Atwima Mponua constitutency is appealing to the Electoral Commission to reconsider its decision to site registration centres at the district capitals.
IBRAHIM ISSAHAK in a petition addressed to the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission fears many new registrants will be disenfranchised considering the long distances from various spots in the Constituency to the district capitals.
“It will take for instance, new or potential registrants living in Kasotie community to make a journey of about 150km just to get to Nyinahin, the district capital where the District Electoral Commission Office is located.”
He is suggesting however that registration centres be sited in the various electoral areas in order to make the exercise successful and cover majority of new registrants.
PLEASE READ THE FULL PETITION BELOW:
13TH May, 2019
PETITION FOR AN EXTENTION OF THE UPCOMING LIMITED REGISTRATION EXERCISE TO ELECTORAL AREAS IN THE ATWIMA MPONUA CONSTITUENCY- ASHANTI REGION.
I write as a Ghanaian citizen, a resident and a voter at Nyinahin -Zongo CMB Shed Polling Station (F090104) in the Atwima Mponua Constituency of the Ashanti Region of Ghana with the voter’s ID number 570403022.
The Atwima Mponua Constituency is located in the South-West part of the Ashanti Region covering an area of approximately 2,411km2 (931sqm) representing 7.7 of the entire Ashanti Region. The second largest constituency in the Ashanti Region. The constituency has 310 communities, 171 polling stations and 45 electoral areas.
The constituency shares boundaries with (8) eight districts, principally in the South with the Amansie West District, Ahafo Ano South to the North, Atwima Nwabiagya in the East, and Bibiani- Awiaso –Bekwai District in the Western-North Region.
The topography of the constituency coupled with the bad transportation network makes movement within the constituency quite challenging. The case in point includes the following localities;
It will take for instance, new or potential registrants living in Kasotie community to make a journey of about 150km just to get to Nyinahin, the district capital where the District Electoral Commission Office is located. This implies that, a jobless new registrant has to move from Kasotie to Kusikrom, which is about 15km apart either by trekking down or by a motor bike, then walk about another 20km from Kusikrom to Naboko in the Asunafo-South of the Bono-South Region, then board a vehicle from Naboko to Bibiani in the Bibiani- Anwiaso- Bekwai district of the Western- North Region, then get on board another commercial vehicle from Bibiani to Nyinahin in other to get registered.
Additionally, new young registrants who live on ‘by-day job’ from Afepaye community will have to cover about 130km to the district electoral office for the voter’s registrations exercise. That is, new registrants will have to either swim to cross river Offin or luckily cross with the aid of wretched wooden canoe at the peril of their lives to Amansie in the Amansie-West, then from Amansie to Kejetia-Kumasi, then from Kumasi to Nyinahin, the registration centre or office. There is clear tendency that the registrants may after this treacherous journey get to Nyinahin when your offices will already close.
Not just the above cases, prospective registrants from Apremadi community in the constituency will also have to cover about 120 km by moving from Apremadi to Mankraso in Ahafo Ano South –West of the Ashanti Region, then proceed to Kumasi-Kejetia, before connecting to Nyinahin the constituency registration office. This long distance with the associated travelling and financial burden will serve as a huge disincentive for jobless new registrants and hence, may lead to apathy in citizens’ participation in this all important democratic exercise.
Madam Chair, I further make a case that eligible candidates from Kwabenakwa will also cover almost long distance of about 120km from Kwabenakwa polling station to Nyinahin where the commission’s district office is located. That is to say, prospective registrants will have to travel from Kwabenaakwa by trekking down almost 10km to Anansu where there is only a one-way commercial route to Bibiani in the Bibiani-Anwiaso-District in the Western-North Region, then get on board another bus from Bibiani to Nyinahin, where the commission’s district office is situated.
Madam Chair, clearly, the difficulty and meandering nature of the traveling network within the Atwima Mponua Constituency will simply require that you carry out the registration exercises at the electoral areas to be able to attend to all these numerous potential disincentives that have been occasioned by the natural circumstances of the people of Atwima Mponua Constituency.
It is against these backgrounds that; I make a passionate appeal to you to reconsider your decision to create the registration centre at the District Office at Nyinahin instead of electoral areas. I wish to further remind you that your decision if not reconsidered, has the potential to disenfranchise majority and eligible candidates from getting registered as voters not because they are unwilling, but due to the difficulty in accessing the registration centers. Hence, establishment of registration centres at the electoral area is required to be able to address these genuine concerns.
I anticipate that you will take the necessary steps to address all my concerns, and to allay all my fears.
ATWIMA MPONUA CONSTITUENCY
The District Election Director
The Regional Director, EC
The Speaker of Parliament
The Minority Leader
The Peace Council of Ghana
All Media Houses