‘Yenpene’ demo hits Kumasi to compel EC to drop new register
Thousands of protesters kicking against the acquisition of a new voter roll have hit the principal streets of Kumasi in Ashanti Region to compel the Electoral Commission (EC) to drop the plans.
Clad in red attire, headgear and armbands, the aggrieved groups involved in the march carried placards, some of which read: “Nana Addo, we still need more hospitals, roads, schools, electricity and potable water for our communities”,” We don’t need a new voters to register”,” Sakawa Akufo-Addo, We don’t want new voter register, UPP”,” Nana, drop the register”.
Tuesday’s march dubbed “’ Yenpene’ demo” is the second of a series of protests and follows the “Tikusayi demo” in Tamale about a week ago.
The aggrieved persons are fighting the acquisition of a new voter roll less than a year to the presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for November 2020.
To justify the proposal, the EC said a new register was critical for the 2020 polls as they need a new Biometric Voter Management System to replace what they say has become obsolete. The EC subsequently requested and parliament approved about GH¢400million for the exercise.
However, opposition parties forming the Inter-Party Resistance Against a New Voters’ Register (IPRNA) finds it unnecessary since the same register compiled in 2012 was used for the last two general elections, the referendum to create new regions and the local government elections to elect assembly members of the various assemblies and unit committee members in 2019.
From the Aboabo School Park, the march proceeds to the streets of Asawase Police Station and then to Asare Original Pay All Office, Central Mosque, Asanteman Senior High School, Kumasi Zoo Traffic Light, Pampaso to Wesley Methodist Roundabout, Pioneer Office, Melcom Traffic Light to Aseda House.
They will continue to A Life Supermarket through the Asafo Interchange and Labour Roundabout and finally end at the Jubilee Park.
Deputy General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Peter Boamah Otukunor said their action is to “stop the EC from compiling this needless [and] useless register”.
He revealed that members of the IPRNA “will continue to demand the dropping of the idea of compiling a new register and we know that we will achieve results”.
Meanwhile, the National Chairman of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Bernard Mornah, has stated that: “We are not going to accept any try and error new voter register and therefore the EC must listen to wisdom and allow the citizens peace”.
The next protest is scheduled for January 28, 2019, in Accra.
Members of the IPRNA include the All People’s Congress (APC), National Democratic Congress (NDC), Eagle Party, United Peoples Party (UPP), United Front Party (UFP), People’s National Convention (PNC) and United Progressive Party (UPP).
A coalition of eighteen Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) have also kicked against the decision of the EC and collectively rejected reasons provided by the EC for the new voter roll.
The CSOs include the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), IMANI Africa, SEND Ghana, Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) and Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF).
But some 12 political parties including the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) have thrown their weight behind the EC pushing for a new roll.
The EC says it is determined and will go ahead with its plans despite the short duration to the elections.