The Member of Parliament for Bunkpurugu, Dr. Abed Bandim, has lamented about a very worrying scenario that he faced with when he and a team toured the electoral registration centers in the North East Region.
At one of the centers, Dr. Bandim said he was saddened on hearing that there were young ladies who had been living in very unsanitary conditions for days because they had come from far and could not return home, just because they needed to complete their registration process.
The MP, devastated by this situation, said that some of the ladies had to stay without bathing for the period.
“I was confronted with one issues that was so disgusting and I was so saddened, because we realised that some of the young girls who got themselves to the registration centers had to stay there for, sometimes, three days, in order to be registered. They don’t have anywhere to bath, they can’t change their clothes and some of them, excuse my language, had their menses while there.
“We got to know this when our women organisers told us that some of the young ladies approached them asking for sanitary pads and we had to assist with monies for sanitary pads to be provided for them while there. It’s so bad. So, I think the EC should have considered all of these and, at least, decentralise, if not to polling station levels, but to electoral levels so that we can get all these people registered, but that is not the case on the ground,” he said in a phone interview with GhanaWeb.
Dr. Abed Bandim further charged the Electoral Commission to do more to get people to be registered without having to go through so much stress.
He added this is important because should the EC fail to do so, it would be infringing on the rights of eligible voters, as well as trampling on the constitution.
“So, the Electoral Commission has a lot to do. They have to consider expanding it so that it can get everyone captured on the electoral roll, because, if they don’t do that, they’ll also be violating the constitution by not allowing people to register and exercise their franchise.
“We therefore want to make an appeal to the EC to immediately take steps in extending it for everyone to be able to get on the electoral roll,” he added.
“Another challenge is poor education. People at the local just don’t know what is going on at all. There are people who are already on the electoral roll attempting to register and where the network is working, then they are able to detect that early, but where they go offline, these people are able to get through with the process. It is later that they’ll realise that they are already on the system.
“So, if there was proper education that they only needed to replace their cards, they would not be trooping to the centers to register. But because there is no education whatsoever in the local communities, these people are not doing the right things. The EC does not advertise. If they are doing it, they’re doing it only in Accra. They should let their people go around. They should partner with the Commission on Civic Education so that they can get the people educated at the local level. They have enough money, at least, as far as we know, they have not complained of budgetary constraints, so we don’t know why the EC will not do the proper thing,” he stressed.
Dr. Abed Bandim, together with other executives and leaders, visited places including Sagnarigu and Tamale North constituencies, where they both shared a common registration center; Mion, Yendi, Bimbilla, Wulensi, and his home constituency, Bunkpurugu.