Two days ago, I checked into one of the registration centres in Cantonments under the La-Dade Kotopon constituency. I have voted in that constituency since 1996 except for the 2012 and 2016 where I voted in Trobu.
When the registration exercise began a week or so ago, I was somewhat jittery about partaking. This was mainly due to the obvious absence of COVID-19 physical distancing protocols in many of the centres reported in the media (electronic and print media)going to register. In any case, when I got there at about 2.00 pm, there were about twenty people present at the centre seated on plastic chairs very well spaced. All the registrants who were there were in face masks and were at various points in the process.
The area being used for the exercise had been cordoned off with a screen and caution tape. As I approached, I saw two Veronica buckets at each side of the entrance. I washed my hands and was guided by the police officer on duty to the first desk where my details were taken. The police officer was extremely helpful and deserves commendation. From there, I moved to a second desk where the details were imputed into the BVR machine. My ten fingerprints were taken alongside the photograph. Within a minute or two, the print-out was ready and handed to me to verify.
Once I expressed my satisfaction, I was made to take the form to a third desk for the ID card to be extracted and laminated for me. Here I was not too enthused about the manner in which the lamination was done. Without having any lamination equipment, he resorted to the use of a pen cover to roll over the card several times for the lamination to be properly done. I wondered whether the EC could have had a better way around this.
While waiting for the lamination, two gentlemen came over to me. Apparently, they had already taken my voter ID number and now wanted to take my telephone number. I asked them which party they belonged to and they responded, ‘NPP and NDC’. Well, I obliged and both of them hurriedly took the number down. I was actually impressed at how well the two collaborated at the centre. I also wondered where the other parties were since they appeared absent.
I got my little finger smeared with the usual indelible ink, took my ID card (nicely laminated) and moved out. I had gone through the entire process and out within some twenty minutes. Interestingly this time, they gave me a slip in addition to the ID. When I asked of its relevance, they explained that it was to be used in obtaining a new ID card should in case I lost the initial one.
Within ten minutes after leaving the centre, I got an SMS and it was from the agent of one of the two leading parties who had just taken my number….wow! Looks like some of our parties aren’t taking anything to chance in the upcoming elections.
Back at the office, I kept wondering why the same EC could ensure such an orderly process at my registration centre but could not do the same at other centres. The answer was not difficult to find. While the EC is the same across the country, the people involved ie registrants, security officers and temporary officials aren’t the same.
To you, my fellow Ghanaian, whereas the right to register and vote is a civic duty, it nonetheless is one which is solely exercised at the discretion of the citizen. If you find a good registration centre like mine, I’d encourage you to go out there and register so you can have a voice in determining who becomes your country’s leader from December. On the other hand, if you, unfortunately, do not get a good centre and choose not to risk the consequences and therefore do not register, you will have to live with the consequences of whatever outcome is derived from the thumbs of those who choose to exercise that right. Whichever the case, we’d live the consequences for the next four years.
IF YOU’D ASK ME, DEARLY BELOVED, PLEASE FIND A PLACE AND REGISTER, WHILE DOING YOUR BEST TO OBSERVE ALL THE COVID-19 PROTOCOLS.
My dear friend,