Ghana

IDEG warns youth against political exploitation in ongoing limited voter registration exercise

The Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) has emphasised the critical need for the youth and especially first time voters, to resist exploitation by politicians during the ongoing limited voter registration exercise.

This cautionary message was conveyed in a press statement signed by one of IDEG’s Senior Research Fellows Professor Kwesi Jonah who underscored IDEG’s commitment to safeguarding democracy and peace in the country.

The Civil Society Organisation (CSO) highlighted the imperative for patriotism and vigilance among the young, urging them not to succumb to monetary inducements or material gifts that could compromise their integrity and lead to unlawful behaviour.

IDEG unequivocally condemned any actions that could undermine Ghana’s democratic process, reaffirming its staunch opposition to threats against the country’s democratic institutions.

Central to IDEG’s advocacy is the promotion of voter education and civic engagement, particularly among the youth.

According to the statement IDEG has mobilised volunteers across all 16 regions of the country, to serve as educators and observers.

Their mission it said was to empower citizens with the knowledge necessary for effective participation in the electoral process.

Of particular concern, the statement said was the exploitation of young voters to engage in illegal registration activities.

IDEG warns that such actions not only compromise the integrity of  electoral processes but also sow the seeds of election-related violence.

To prevent further escalation, the statement emphasised the importance of maintaining peace and order at all voter registration centers.

Touching on the relevance of educating children about all electoral processes, the statement further urged parents and guardians across the country to take an active role in teaching their children about the limited voter registration process and associated electoral offenses.

The limited voter registration exercise started across the country on May 7, with a target to register 623,000 eligible persons onto the electoral register.

The 21-day exercise, which is meant for persons who have turned 18 and others who have not previously registered to vote, is expected to be carried out in 1,053 registration centres, made up of 268 district offices of the Electoral Commission (EC) and 785 additional centres in hard-to-reach areas agreed on with political parties.

The exercise is expected to end on Monday, May 27, this year. The Chairperson of the EC, Jean Mensa, who made this known said the commission would register all eligible persons who would turn up at the centres to be registered, even if the number rose above the targeted 623,000 persons.

She explained that based on the 2021 Population and Housing Census which projected that 450,000 persons turned 18 every year, the commission estimated that 1.8 million persons needed to be registered from 2021 till date.

BY RAISSA SAMBOU