A credible voter register is the premise for a peaceful, transparent election, we all know that. SAVE-Ghana, an NGO working with the poor and vulnerable communities by facilitating good governance practices at the grassroots that strengthens citizens’ participation in decision making processes, especially women and other marginalized groups.
As part of SAVE-Ghana’s efforts towards ensuring that credible voter register is maintained, a team embarked on voter education and monitoring of the on-going biometric voter registration exercise on the 26th April, 2012 at Funsi, the capital of Wa East District in the Upper West Region where we interacted with the Electoral Officer, Mr Adzomadr Philip. He informed us that the District Registration Review Committee (DRRC) would be sitting on 27 challenged cases that have been brought before it.
Of these cases, two are alleged registration of minors while the rest bothers on grounds that the applicants were not residents in the electoral area. As an NGO working towards ensuring that the voter register is the true reflection of the eligible voter population which is key towards a peaceful and credible election in the Upper West Region in particular and Ghana as a whole; we took special interest in the case and wanted to observe the arbitration proceedings; unfortunately, per the Electoral Commission’s guidelines on the composition of the DRRC, civil society‘s participation in the arbitration has not been provided.
You would agree that NGOs like SAVE-Ghana are the “sleeping giants” of the democratic process. We have credibility, trust, and a deep connection to voters who are often disengaged from the electoral process. We are catalysts to dramatically increase voter participation through legal, permissible, non-partisan voter activities such as voter education, without which would-be voters are less likely to turn out to register much less vote. It is therefore imperative that civil society organizations are part of entire electoral process including sitting in the sessions of the District Registration Review Committee (DRRC). This will among others ensure that both parties thus applicant and challenger receive a fair hearing and “go home satisfied”.
I therefore, as a matter of urgency, appeal to the Electoral Commission to review the composition of the District Registration Review Committees (DRRC) to include civil society as we are spread across the length and breadth of the country.
By Kingsley Kanton/Executive Director/SAVE-Ghana

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