Why Only 14K of Deleted NHIS Registrants Have Reregistered So Far

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storyI don’t particularly care whether 2,000 or 14,000 of the 56,772 de-registered voters who used their recently proscribed NHIS Cards to vote in the 2012 election have reregistered (See “Only 14K Deleted ‘NHIS Voters’ Reregistered – EC” Classfmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 7/26/16).

I couldn’t care less because it is an open secret that the figures released to the Supreme Court by the Electoral Commission (EC) significantly pales in comparison to the reality of the number of voters who registered by the use of their NHIS Cards, documents that lacked authenticity as a reliable proof of one’s citizenship, because the mode of accessibility or issuance of the NHIS Cards was not strictly predicated on one’s Ghanaian identity or citizenship but purely on residence.

Then also, the stiff resistance put up by the Mahama-appointed Electoral Commissioner, Mrs. Charlotte Kesson-Smith Osei, on grounds that deleting the names of the NHIS registrants amounted to electoral elitism and the disenfranchisement of a significant percentage of underprivileged Ghanaian citizens, does not convince me that the piddling figure of some 57,000 NHIS registrants was really the entire number or figure at stake.

And now, we are being told by Mr. Eric Kofi Dzakpasu, the EC’s Communications Director, that with only two days to the deadline of the reregistration period, only 14,801, or approximately 25-percent, or a quarter of the deregistered voters have, so far, reregistered to vote in the 2016 general election.

Mr. Dzakpasu’s quite reasonable fear is that the dismal pace of the voter-reregistration exercise makes it almost certain that the overwhelming majority of deregistered voters would not have been duly reregistered to vote by the close of the deadline.

It is not quite clear to me why the National Voters’ Register could not be open to continuous registration of voters until at least the end of September, being that Election 2016 does not occur until the end of the first week in December. After all, we have all witnessed the Supreme Court allow Dr. Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings’ right to hold herself out as the legitimately elected National Democratic Congress’ candidate for the Klottey-Korle Constituency for Election 2016, although at the time that her name was placed on the ballot to enable her run in the NDC’s parliamentary primary, Dr. Agyeman-Rawlings was not a registered dues-paying and card-carrying member of the National Democratic Congress.

In other words, there does not appear to be any rigid regulations or laws governing electoral registration in the country. At the end of the day, what clearly appears to matter is that the deregistered NHIS registrants are registered in time to be able to vote in the December 2016 general election.

In sum, if I were any of the movers and shakers at the EC, I would be looking towards having the deregistered NHIS registrants duly registered to vote in Election 2016 within a reasonable period of time, rather than the clearly impracticable or unreasonable four-, or so, day period earmarked for the exercise.

Then also, quite a significant percentage of the NHIS registrants may expectantly have transitioned into eternity. This is where computerized reliable record-keeping at the country’s Births and Deaths Registry comes in handy. With no reliable system for tracking births and deaths in the country, it is very difficult for the Electoral Commission to determine the various reasons subtending the apparent failure of an overwhelming majority of the deregistered NHIS registrants to opportunely reregister to vote.

It would also be quite instructive if the EC could publish the regional breakdown of the percentages of deregistered NHIS registrants who have gotten their names and other vital statistics restored to the National Voters’ Register.

Regardless of whomever the EC declares as the winner of Election 2016, I am not holding my breath. I would, however, be utterly flabbergasted if the party that is flagrantly delivered the proverbial short-end of the stick receives the same lying supine.

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