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Voter registration: Catholic Bishops call for more security personnel to enforce COVID-19 protocols

The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference has asked the government to deploy more security personnel to the various registration centers for the mass voter registration exercise to enforce strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols.

According to the Conference, it is worried about the increasing COVID-19 infections.

The Bishops lament what they describe as the high level of disregard for the observance of the safety measures at such public gatherings as the ongoing mass voter registration exercise.

They cited the New Patriotic Party (NPP) parliamentary primaries held in June, as well as the unveiling of NDC Flagbearer Mahama’s running mate on Monday.

In a statement signed by President of the Bishops’ Conference, Most Reverend Philip Naameh, the Bishops say the wearing of nose masks and social distancing must be strictly enforced at the registration centers.

Here is the full statement by the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference:

“The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC) has observed with great concern the high level of disregard for the observance of the COVID-19 protocols at the recent New Patriotic Party (NPP) parliamentary primaries, the ongoing voters’ registration exercise, the announcement of the running mate of the Flag-bearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) at the party’s headquarters in Accra yesterday and some other public gatherings.

The latest updates from the official website of the Ghana Health Service indicate that our Coronavirus cases keep increasing and as much as we acknowledge that the recovery rates are equally impressive, the increase in the positive case count is not good news for us as a country. The same can be said about the mortality rate which is also on the increase.

We encourage all qualified Ghanaians to make the necessary effort to take part in the voters’ registration exercise. We also wish to appeal to same to take the personal responsibility to ensure that they observe all the necessary health protocols, especially those of social distancing and the wearing of face masks, during the registration exercise and at all social and public gatherings.

In a directive issued yesterday, Monday, July 6, 2020, the Electoral Commission addressed the issue of overcrowding at some Registration Centres and therefore recommended The Queue Management System at its registration centres.

It says, “Under the Queue Management System the first 150 applicants who arrive at the Registration Centres will be provided with numbered chits. The first half of this number will be served from morning to early afternoon. The second half will be asked to leave the Centres and return in the afternoon when the registration process for the first batch has been completed. They will then be served”.

This, in our view, is a good measure to deal with overcrowding at the registration centres. However, we also wish to appeal to the Government to assist the Electoral Commission with more Security Personnel who can ensure strict adherence to the protocols, especially social distancing and the wearing of face masks, at the various Registration Centres.

While we focus our concerns on national events that attract crowds of people, we also appeal to all to accept the reality of COVID-19 and thus modify their behaviours to conform to the safety guidelines.

It is our hope and prayer that the concerns raised here will be addressed immediately to prevent any escalation in our COVID-19 cases.”

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