Ghana, Zambia plan biometric voter registration drives for September
Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC) has announced a three-week nationwide biometric voter registration activity beginning next month in preparation for District Assembly elections later this year, as well as for general elections in 2024. The accouchement comes as the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) also said it will resume a continuous voter registration exercise in 10 more districts of the country on September 5.
Ghana voter registration will be nationwide
In a recent press conference introduced under the name, “Let the citizen know,” the EC chairperson, Jean Mensa, explained that the voter registration drive will begin on September 12 and end on October 2 in all the 268 districts of the country, Modern Ghana reports.
According to Mensa, the enrollment targets those who have attained the age of 18 since the last voter registration cycle in 2020, as well as citizens who had registered in the past but lost their voter’s cards. A fee of 10 Ghana Cedis (US$0.80) will be charged for card replacement, she told Ghanaians.
Mensa also announced that District Level Assembly elections will take place on December 19 in all but two districts.
It is not fully clear if the Ghana Card will be the sole ID document for voter registration as the EC is trying to push through a Constitutional Instrument (CI) which is currently in Parliament.
However, Mensa has said that they are not turning back on their plan of doing away with the guarantor voter registration system. She said the Ghana Card is the best way the EC will ensure transparency and credibility in the voter registration process, Modern Ghana writes in another report.
She stated that the old system remained in place for 30 years because there was no Ghana Card. “We now have the Ghana Card and we must rely on it. It is the surest way to ensure the integrity of our register,” she said.
In the meantime, some political parties are already criticizing the EC for limiting the biometric voter registration to district offices, saying it will disenfranchise many Ghanaians. They want the exercise to be taken right down to electoral areas.
Zambia’s continuous voter registration begins Sept. 5
Senior corporate affairs officer at the ECZ, Sylvia Bwalya, recently told Lusaka Times that the voter registration exercise will bring the number of districts covered by the exercise to 20.
Ten other districts had started the registration in June last year, with authorities saying it will be progressively extended throughout the country.
Bwalya said district registration offices will be open every weekday from 08:00-17:00 local time. The exercise involves citizens who are 18 years and above, and those who possess a green national registration card.
Services to be offered include transfer of polling stations, replacement of lost or damaged voter’s cards, and change of biographical information. The date when the registration will end is not mentioned.
Updates on an enrollment process for new national ID cards in Zambia were given to the country’s Parliament early last year.
Court rules no access to voter’s register in Zimbabwe
In neighbouring Zimbabwe, meanwhile, a court recently ruled that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is not obliged to allow some parties access to the updated biometric voter’s register.
The political parties had raised concerns over irregularities with the voter’s registry, but ZEC argued that the claims were unfounded and were a machination to discredit its work, per a report by News 24.
Zimbabweans go to the polls tomorrow August 23 to elect a new President and Members of Parliament.