Sunday, August 10, 2008

200.000 REGISTRATION FORMS TO CENTRES IN ASHANTI (PAGE 17)

THE Ashanti Regional Directorate of the Electoral Commission (EC) has sent more than 200,000 registration forms to the various registration centres to meet the increasing number of people eager to participate in the exercise.
Before the exercise, the commission had projected that about 160,000 would have participated.
However, the continuous long queues at the centres, especially in Kumasi and adjoining towns, had convinced officials that the projected number would be exceeded.
The Deputy Director of the EC in the Ashanti Region, Mr Lawrence Sarpong, told the Daily Graphic yesterday that his outfit would not want to be overwhelmed by the renewed interest in the exercise.
Consequently, they had ordered for more forms from the EC head office in Accra to meet future challenges.
“Initially we did not believe the 160,000 forms would be fully exhausted but what we are witnessing now is the opposite,” he said.
Mr Sarpong stated that the situation in some districts was not as hectic as was being experienced in Kumasi and other areas.
As a result, his office had asked districts with low patronage to send forms to areas with high patronage.
The deputy director said the first three days of the exercise witnessed a number of challenges.
The challenges, he noted, centred on the age and non-resident status of the people who had come to register.
Mr Sarpong indicated that at the end of the day, a committee would be set up to go into the challenges as quickly as possible.
Responding to allegations by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) that people of northern extraction were being prevented from registering, Mr Sarpong said the only complaint that had come to their attention was on Tuesday.
According to him, a group of people from northern Ghana reported to the regional office of the EC that some people had prevented them from registering.
Mr Sarpong said the allegation was brought to the notice of the regional police commander who happened to be at the EC offices, and gave the assurance that he would ask his men to ensure that sanity prevailed at all centres.
He urged the electorate to use the challenge procedure rather than physical confrontations.
On why only the NPP and NDC agents were visible at the registration centres, Mr Sarpong said all the political parties were invited for the exercise but only the two parties responded.
He was happy that the security situation had improved at the centres.

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