Political party agents have been absent at exhibition centres since the exhibition of the voters register begun on Sunday, October 5, 2008.
Their absence at most exhibition centres to monitor and observe for the successful cleaning of the voters’ register to rid it of the names of minors, aliens and the deceased, have raised questions on their commitment to making the voters register clean for the December 7, 2008 polls.
Their absence is particularly significant now because they were visible and active during the registration exercise about a month ago where there were reports of their active participation in facilitating the registration of some voters who had turned 18, according to a Senior Research Officer of the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG), Mr Peter Fiamor.
Briefing the Daily Graphic on provisional reports sent by observers of the Civic Forum Initiative (CFI) deployed nation wide to monitor the exercise, he said in most exhibition centres no party functionary or agent had ever visited to observe what was going on, unlike the registration exercise when they were present and active
"It shows their lack of interest in helping to clean up the register and motivation," he said.
Generally, with regards to sensitising Ghanaians and mobilising all to object to the inclusion of the names of minors and aliens in the register and taking from it the names of the deceased, observers of reported certain inhibiting factors in achieving this.
For instance the sensitivity of the issue of death made it difficult for some come out with information on their dead relations particularly when exhibition officers insisted on some sort of evidence like a death certificate or tried to probe to verify.
The observers reported a slow start of the exhibition exercise with the general absence of the political parties nation-wide.
CFI observers at the Kpong Katamanso constituency of the Greater Accra Region reported that on the first day of the exercise, the provisional register of the recent registration exercise was not exhibited.
In other areas such as the Northern Region, CFI observers noted that some exhibition officers of the Electoral Commission did not seem to know what to do.
For instance, some were reported not to know how to go about filling the objection forms, while some parents were reported to be checking on the details of their children, who are apparently minors.
With no agents of political parties present to scrutinise and insist on the right thing, exhibition officers could only rightly check the details in the register, provided a card was presented.
On a positive note, Mr Fiamor reported that some remote areas in the Northern Region had seen an impressive turn out.
For instance, the Kotilgle exhibition centre had recorded about 108 people coming in to check on their details on the fourth day of the registration exercise.
He said with these provisional issues from observers, there was the need for civil society organisations to increase their sensitisation programmes and get citizens to turn out fully and help clean the register before the exhibition ends on October 12.
Currently, CFI, a coalition of civil society organisations in support of ensuring a clean register for the
December 7, 2008 elections is working in regions and districts to sensitise people on the need to help clean the EC register that has been bloated from the last registration exercise.
When contacted, the National Organising Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, said the NDC had its agents on the ground.
These agents, he added, were not stationed at the exhibition centres, but went into villages and towns to encourage people to go to the exhibition centres to check on their details.
Mr Ofosu-Ampofo also said he had received incidents of widespread transfer of votes in the Asutifi South, Asunafo North and the Attebubu districts all in the Brong Ahafo Region, as well as Ejura in the Ashanti Region.
He said this was a breach of the electoral laws as the Electoral Commission at an Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting set out the dates for the transfer of votes somewhere in November.
Party functionaries of the other parties could not be contacted as none picked up their telephone calls.