PAUSE VOTER REGISTRATION EXERCISE TO PREVENT MORE COVID-19 DEATHS – HEALTH PROFESSIONALS TO EC

Pause the mass registration, figure out safer ways of carrying it out and prevent Ghana from suffering potentially thousands of deaths or continue with the exercise in this form and be remembered by posterity as a leader who supervised an exercise that allowed for the loss of multiple lives.

• The health professional comprising doctors, nurses, lab technicians among others, and numbering 221, had earlier petitioned the EC cautioning against the rollout of the mass registration for  Voter ID cards over fears of COVID-19 death hikes.



Some health professionals in the country have written to the Electoral Commission asking the electoral management body to pause the ongoing voter registration exercise until safer ways of conducting the exercise are identified to prevent further spread of COVID-19.


According to them, suspending the exercise will help prevent needless Coronavirus deaths in the country.

“Pause the mass registration, figure out safer ways of carrying it out and prevent Ghana from suffering potentially thousands of deaths or continue with the exercise in this form and be remembered by posterity as a leader who supervised an exercise that allowed for the loss of multiple lives,” the group said in its letter to the commission.


The health professional comprising doctors, nurses, lab technicians among others, and numbering 221, had earlier petitioned the EC cautioning against the rollout of the mass registration for  Voter ID cards over fears of COVID-19 death hikes.


According to them, the blatant disregard for the Coronavirus safety protocols in the exercise is inimical to the current public health crisis in the country.


In their second open letter to the EC, the health professionals say the Commission must rethink the compilation of the new register for the 2020 polls.


“We are by this letter appealing to your good self to pause this mass registration exercise until your commission comes up with a safer way of going about this registration. That will prevent the almost inevitable rise in COVID-19 cases, with its attendant increases in morbidity and mortality and will position you firmly on the right side of history, as a public official who chose to prevent needless deaths. We would entreat you to treat this correspondence with a lot of thought and measured reflection, thinking rightly about the primacy of life before any other considerations”, the letter said.


The Electoral Commission began processes to compile a new voters register for the 2020 general elections on June 30, 2020.


The exercise which is being held nationwide will end on August 6, 2020.


Few days after the exercise began, there have been concerns over the lack of social distancing and total disregard for COVID-19 safety protocols.


Despite calls for the exercise to be halted due to the increasing COVID-19 figures, the EC remains adamant.


Here is the full letter:


THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION OF GHANA RIDGE-ACCRA GHANA


July 6, 2020


ATTN: MRS. JEAN MENSA CHAIRPERSON, THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION OF GHANA

Dear Madam,


A SECOND OPEN LETTER TO GHANA’S ELECTORAL COMMISSION: CONCERNS ABOUT A SURGE IN NEW COVID-19 CASES AND MORTALITIES RESULTING FROM THE MASS REGISTRATION EXERCISE


We have noted with concern, the utter disregard for precautionary protocols intended to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, in and around registration centers.


We wish to reiterate our arguments, made in an open letter to you, dated June 24,2020. In that letter, we provided multiple reasons why massing up people for the purpose of getting onto the electoral roll could lead to an increase in the infection rates and the number of deaths from the much-dreaded COVID-19. The response from officialdom was that all public health protocols and precautions against COVID-19 will be adhered to.


Unfortunately, ongoing events across the country have confirmed our worst fears. Considering the increasing number of infections coupled with challenges in testing for early identification of cases, it is disquieting to observe huge numbers of people at and around registration centers mostly ignoring precautionary protocols.


Indeed, we are aware of at least one incident of a person in full knowledge of his positive status, visiting registration centers and risking public health and safety. This is inimical to our fight against the pandemic and threatens to eliminate whatever successes we have chalked so far. These and many other reasons make it unconscionable that your commission ignores all caution and still proceeds with this exercise.


We will also take this opportunity to caution your good office about the consequences of a continuous rise in COVID- 19 cases on our already-wobbly health system. Reports indicate that the capacity of our