The work of the District Registration Review Committee (DRRC) in the Dormaa Central Municipality of the Bono Region, has been characterised with disagreements, political colourisation, heated arguments and controversies.
The Committee has been mandated to examine challenges related to the voter registration and determine whether the challenge should be upheld or rejected.
Angry, unsatisfied, disappointed and disgruntled applicants and their accomplices threatened and invoked curses on the Committee and their challengers, alleging they were NPP officials who have been deliberately appointed to plot to disenfranchise potential NDC voters in the upcoming Presidential and Parliamentary elections.
Two of the applicants who issued threats were whisked to Police custody and have been granted bail.
Some of the Constituency Executives of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Party who were spotted at the vicinity and some of the applicants disrupted proceedings of the Committee with near brawl incident when verbal confrontations, disagreements ensued with members of the NPP at the Committee’s sittings held at the Department of Cooperatives Office Building.
The Committee raised a number of concerns including the rejection of Ghana Card as the basis or evidence for registering applicants, whether or not party agents were allowed to challenge one’s eligibility during the Ghana Card registration exercise and language barrier in communicating to committee members.
Although the Committee had accepted and approve some applicant’s eligibility having subjected them through thorough interrogations, both party faithfuls and applicants questioned why it refused to accept the explanation of those applicants who had both parents born and bred in Ghana, but whose children had farmlands in Cote d’Ivoire territory.
Mr Kwadjo Damoah Afari, the Chairman of the Committee declined to comment on the matter.
Mr Gordon Asubonteng, the aspiring NDC Parliamentary Candidate for Dormaa Central and former Municipal Chief Executive for Dormaa Central Municipality, who is one of the top ranking members of the Party, noted that there was the need to approach and address issues on the basis of level of competency rather than one’s political affiliation.
The aspiring MP later held a meeting with members of the Committee to find ways to address sticking challenges and ensure calm and peace.
Mr Anane Yaw Kwarteng, the Assembly Member for Danyame Electoral Area, accused the Committee members of being bias towards the NPP and deliberately scheming to delay and denying about 60 applicants most of whom were NDC supporters and residents of Danyame, a stronghold of the NDC a fair hearing.
Some of the applicants had travelled from distant locations such as Dabaabi, Asunsu Number One, Tronang, Kwameasua, included mothers with babies and pregnant women who had reported at 0090 hours when sitting started and waited through till 1700hours when it ended.
They complained that they were denied the opportunity to face the Committee due to time constraint and were reschedule for the next day, while others were asked to seek appeal at the Sunyani High Court.
The applicants described the process as waste of time and resources for one to travel a long distance to attend to hearing.
Ms Nameta Kramo, 22, said she was given a hearing but was disqualified as she failed to produce documents to support claims that she was a Ghanaian and was ask by the Committee to seek an appeal at the Sunyani High Court.
Another applicant, Mr Gideon Kambire, a cashew farmer in Kukoa and wife after being disqualified, loudly protested the Committee’s decision outside forcing its Chairman, the Municipal Police Commander and other party representatives on the Committee to come out of the building to calm tensions down.
Mr Francis Owiredu, the Municipal Electoral Officer, debunked claims that the Committee members were selected on partisan consideration.
“Members of the Committee include a representative from each registered and active political party, the District Police Commander or his/her representative, a Representative of the Traditional Council and the District Electoral Officer serving as Secretary to the Committee,” he added.
Mr Kwadjo Asare, the Deputy NDC Youth Constituency Chairman, told the Ghana News Agency they may seek legal redress as a vital step to resolve some of these outstanding matters.