Limited Voter Registration: Jean Mensa’s action unconstitutional – Ablakwa

Member of Parliament for North Tongu constituency, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has strongly criticised the actions of the Electoral Commission’s (EC) Chairperson Jean Mensa, concerning the ongoing limited voter registration exercise.

According to him, Jean Mensa’s decision to restrict the voter registration exercise to only its district offices is autocratic and an unconstitutional move.

Mr Ablakwa explained that though Parliament has approved the EC’s budget, he expressed disappointment in the Commission’s claim of being handicapped.

He urged civil society groups, the clergy, and all concerned citizens to raise their voices on this matter.

Mr Ablakwa said this during a press conference held in Battor where he launched a “movement plan” to facilitate voter registration for first-time voters in his constituency.

This involved transporting young graduates from high schools to the district electoral office in Battor for registration.

He aimed to register at least 3,000 youths and assist others who had never registered before.

Mr Ablakwa said that although the EC might succeed in going ahead with the exercise despite the legal suit filed by the National Democratic Congress and other political parties to halt the exercise, he warned the EC that legal challenges would not deter the opposition, as they had a secret “Plan B.”

The North Tongu MP’s actions were prompted by the constituents’ threats to boycott the registration exercise unless the EC established voting centres closer to them, especially in Juapong and Torgome, where residents faced significant travel costs.

Additionally, the challenging telecom network conditions in the region ensured that some registrants had to sleep overnight and continue the registration process the next day.

The District Electoral Officer, Paulina Rolland Agbo acknowledged the network challenges but assured they were being addressed.

During the tour with journalists, Mr Ablakwa said he considered the EC chairperson and her team’s actions as disrespectful to his constituents.

He criticised the EC’s lack of understanding of the challenges faced by rural communities, emphasising that Ghana encompasses not only urban areas like Ridge and Accra Central but also the smaller villages whose contributions and taxes also supports the EC’s operations.

The North Tongu MP expressed concern that his focus on youth registration might affect other initiatives in his constituency, including providing one-month free accommodation and free laptops to newly posted nurses.