In most of the centers, the COVID protocols were flouted -National Coordinator, CODEO
The National coordinator for the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO), Mr. Albert Kofi Arhin has indicated that the first day of the voter register compilation has been generally good, in spite of some few challenges which include lack of adherence to safety protocols and late arrival of EC officials.
Some observers from his outfit brought back word on the outcome of the exercise, and although there was a general tone of a smooth exercise, some challenges persisted.
He said, “from the report that we had from these forty observers, they are all saying that it was a very smooth exercise, except that a few centers had their assistants arriving late… I’m sure as time goes on it will pick up and everything will be fine.
“The only problem that they reported, and which is of concern to CODEO is that, in most of the centers, the COVID protocols were flouted”, with a report from some part of the Northern Region saying that there was disregard to the hand washing directive.
Additionally, a visit to some centers to ascertain the progress of the exercise proved worrying as there was disregard for social distancing protocols.
He stated, “I was wondering what we were doing because we are in a COVID era. So the registration officer was telling me that they have tried very much to convince people to respect the protocols, but nobody was yielding, and the policemen confirmed this”.
He further advised that the electoral commission should take a close look at and rectify the problems in subsequent days.
“It looks as if Ghanaians are not worried about the COVID; they are just doing their own thing. I visited a center where I saw people seated beautifully, and that was the only one... but from all the report that we received from the 16 regions from our people, it appears the COVID protocols is a major problem,” he said.
According to the National Coordinator, CODEO has guidelines in determining the outcome of such exercises, which includes the set up of the registration exercise, sufficient supply of materials needed, adherence to rules and regulations by the EC and their workers.
He stated that it was a smooth takeoff with fully functional equipments, as there was no report from his observers which indicated contrary.
Another worrying phenomenon for the CODEO coordinator was the palpable lack of knowledge displayed by some individuals over the registration centers and guidelines they are to follow, advising the electoral commission to indulge more in public education.
“I understand one village in the Volta region; they all trooped to come to the place only to be told that, it was not their turn and that they should go back. So I believe the public education has to be intensified… I believe with time the fm stations in the various localities can be reading out some of the electoral areas and their polling stations and the time people should actually go there to do the registration,” he said.