About a month ago, the Electoral Commission announced its decision to move registration centres to enable Senior High School students who were 18 years and above and eligible to have the voters’ card register without leaving the school premises in adherence to COVID-19 safety protocols for schools.
While this decision was vehemently opposed by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) as they argue that such a move was unconstitutional, the Minister of Education, Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, has defended this decision by the EC by stating that “it was safer to register the students at school than at home”.
In an interview with Samuel Eshun on the Happy Morning Show, the Minister explained his point by stating that some political parties ahead of the compilation of the new voters’ register were inciting violence with their comments and actions. He believed that these developments did not create a safe environment for the students to register in the communities.
“Some people did not want the children to register. When the registration was about to begin, didn’t you hear of resistance from people, as they were saying Ghana will burn down and there will be gunshots? If you were a parent would you have allowed your child in a final year to join a queue if you have left the house for work?”
“After all, anytime there is a registration process, students are in school. So when the EC published the polling stations, some of the polling stations were in schools because, at secondary school, the students are not the only ones there. We have the teaching and non-teaching staff. A lot of the schools already have polling stations. And in the school community, those who can register are those who are eighteen years old.”
“Schools provide a safer space, better managed, better policed than the general community”, he said.
The Electoral Commission (EC) on 10th July 2020, began the special voters’ registration exercise for qualified senior high school (SHS) students across the country.
The two-day exercise was carried out in about 700 SHS in the 16 regions, with officials of the EC visiting the SHS on both days to register students who are 18 years and above for them to exercise their franchise, on December 7, 2020.