The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has intensified its sensitization campaign to get first time voters and eligible Ghanaians to register in the limited Biometric Voter Registration exercise.
The Electoral Commission’s limited voter registration exercise The NCCE has as its core mandate, to educate Ghanaians on their civic responsibilities.
The exercise which started on April 28 will end on May 8, 2016.
The NCCE is mandated by the constitutional to educate Ghanaians about their civic responsibilities.
The Director of Communication and Corporate Affairs at the NCCE, Joyce Afutu told ghanadecides.com that the sensitization campaign started immediately Constitutional Instrument was released (CI) to ensure the estimated number of Ghanaians register.
She the Commission’s regional offices have been conducting community outreach programs to inform and educate more Ghanaians about the process.
Q: What has the Commission started doing to create awareness about the limited voter registration exercise?
A: some of our offices, any group that they meet with, they tell them on the need for those who have attained 18 or not registered for one or two reasons to register when the exercise starts. So that is what people are doing on the ground.
Yesterday, I had information from one of our district in the Maamobi area, and also Tema; they said they met some of the groups, so they have started the education on the limited registration exercise, but it will be intensified from now onwards.
Q: What kind of groups?
A: normally, we meet youth groups, identifiable groups like churches, community-based groups, hairdressers, etc, we go to them and then we educate them. Ideally, we need to create the awareness for people to know the exercise is about to take place so that when it starts people will troop in to go and register.
Q: What is involved in creating awareness?
A: There is more. We use radio and television discussion, meet people in their work places, we go to the market, the churches, and other areas, wherever we can find people. We create awareness across the country. So that is what we do.
The Electoral Commission has given us their time table as to what they will be doing at every point in time, we even have the movement of the biometric kits etc. Any information we have, we pass it on to our districts so that they also educate the people on the ground.
Q: There has been some disinterest towards this exercise over the period, why is it so?
A: I will call it apathy, not disinterest…people don’t seem to care so we still need to whip up their interest and create more awareness to ensure that people get interested. When we go to the ground, we tell them, it’s your right and responsibility, also it is your civic duty because that is the power that you have to determine who should govern you. So we let people understand the issue so that they can participate.
Q: How can one assess information on the exercise, if I need any information at all, as a new voter, where do I go to?
A: As part of our sensitization, we tell you as a voter, you don’t just register because you live in Ghana. In fact, the process is that you should be a Ghanaian, you should be 18 years at the time of the registration, of sound mind and be a resident or ordinary resident in the electoral area. And anytime you are going to register, you need to show prove of identity, like your passport or driver’s license or national identification card.
Or if you are more than 18, but has not registered, two people can guarantee for you. But one person cannot guarantee for more than five people.
Q: What about someone who does not belong to a church and has not come into contact with any NCCE official
A: That is why we use the media as well…so what I am doing now, I am reaching out to Ghanaians. We are also hoping that the media will help in this direction, by also creating the needed awareness.
Q: Is this information isn’t available on your online site
A: That is why I am saying, we are putting our things ready to start. If you realize, you have not seen any ad from any institution because everybody is gathering the needed information.
Q: is it not too late? Do you have enough time to carry out the education so that people get sensitized enough to participate?
A: we have to intensify our education so we want the media to help us in this direction.
So I am urging all young people should go and register when the register opens from 28th April. And there are offences, if you haven’t attained 18 and you go to register, when you are caught, you will be prosecuted. People should know that we live in a country governed by law, so they should do the right thing.
The youth should also not allow themselves to be used to foment trouble. Everybody should conduct themselves peacefully so that we can have peaceful elections.