The Electoral Commission (EC) has clearly stated that there will be no NHIS re-registration extension. This decision by the EC was announced Friday by the Commission’s Public Relations Officer, Eric Dzakpasu.
This announcement is coming at the heels of several calls on the EC to extend the 10-day period mapped out for the re-registration of NHIS registrants whose names were deleted from the voter’s register following the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Member of Parliament for the Efutu Constituency in the Central Region, Alex Afenyo Markin, petitioned the Commission few days ago, to extend the re-registration period. Afenyo Markin had complained that there has been many challenges militating against the re-registration process in his constituency.
However, Mr Dzakpasu made it very clear to the media today that the Electoral Commission has decided there will be no NHIS re-registration extension, backing up the information with strong reasons.
Although the EC admitted low turn out, having re-registered only 24,287 people out of the 56, 000 deleted names; they insist that from all indications, it appears an extension of the re-registration period would not guarantee more people re-registering. His words:
“There is no evidence that when an extension is granted, the remaining people will come out of their houses or communities to get their name re-registered. In the considered opinion of the commission, the registration exercise could not be extended.”
Continuing, the EC’s PRO explained that the Commission needs sufficient time to process collected data, hence, their inability to effect an extension. According to him, the EC is “required by law to exhibit the provisional register of the persons re-registered” and so, they will need time to process the data captured.
“It necessarily follows that the data captured must be processed. This means we would require some time to be able to do that in order to be in the position to exhibit the provisional register for the registrants from the fifth to eight August 2016 as agreed at the IPAC.”
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However, the opposition party has blamed the low turn out on poor publicity on the part of the Electoral Commission. But the EC debunked such accusation, saying that, “this is the most publicized exercise so far”. Insisting that poor publicity is not to blame for the low response, Mr Dakpasu said:
“The obvious turn out of this exercise cannot be blamed on low publicity and inadequate public education… This is one electoral activity that has made news and has been trending in the http://buzzghana.com/nhis-registrants-app/news for a very long time.”http://buzzghana.com/nhis-registrants-app/
“It cannot be the case that the low turnout was caused by low publicity. The message was well disseminated. If people actually wanted to get registered, they could have done so with the 10 days.”
If the EC maintains this decision of no NHIS re-registration extension, it simply means that, the remaining 31, 713 people are automatically disenfranchised, and will not be able to cast their votes in the upcoming elections.