Isaac Jay Hyde, President of the National Union of Ghanaian Students has called on school authorities to prevent politicians from taking advantage of the voter registration exercise for students to embark on campaign.
The NUGS President observed that some politicians are taking advantage of the situation to interact with students and sell their political messages a phenomenon he condemned suggesting it could be an avenue for the spread of the virus.
At a time when parents and Guardians of pupils have been told not to visit their wards in schools, NUGS President finds it improper that other politically exposed individuals will be permitted to come into contact with students.
He insisted that aside political party reps permitted to observe the process of registering students, no one else should be allowed into the schools.
Isaac Jay Hyde noted, “the Ghana Education Service together with the EC should ensure that no politician should be allowed in the name of monitoring, visiting or whatsoever on our campuses in this period, especially in our various Senior High Schools. Indeed, with the greatest of respect, it is insulting to prevent parent from visiting their wards in their schools but to allow politicians to ply their trade by going into the schools. We call on politicians and political actors to stay away from our various campuses. Our students need all the concentration they can get to study and prepare for their exams.”
The Electoral Commission set up centers on campuses across the country to register students as part of the compilation of the new voters register from July 10 to July 11, 2020.
However, not all students were registered within the period hence the Commission has given indication that it will organise another phase of registration across the country.
The NDC has taken the issue to court challenging the EC’s decision to site registration centers in some schools arguing that they are not gazetted hence against the law.
But in an address Tuesday, UNGS President maintained, “The Constitution of the Republic stipulates that every Ghanaian of age (i.e. 18years and above) and of sound mind, has the right to participate in electing who becomes the leader both in the parliamentary and presidential elections organize in the country. It is therefore, Unconstitutional for the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana or any person or any group of persons to intentionally or unintentionally take steps or engage in any action that will disenfranchise any student from voting in this year’s general election. The NUGS will like to call on Civil Society Organizations, political parties, the Peace Council and all stakeholders of our democracy to join in the call for the EC to get the Youth, especially students who are in schools and meet the age criteria, eg, Senior High Schools registered.
“The Youth of this country will not sit aloof for our future to be toyed with by politicians. We need to be allowed to play a critical role in the decision making of our country. The NUGS will not shy away from seeking legal redress at the court if the students in this country are disenfranchised by the EC through whatsoever means. There are legitimate concerns as to who is given access to students given the times we find ourselves, but we have got to answer whether it will be a better option to open gates for qualified students to go queue in communities in order to register. This alternative is even more dangerous given the recent spike in cases.
“NUGS will like call for an extension of the period allotted for the registration of students in the various schools by the EC and to encourage the Youths of this country to make it a point to go out and register so as to vote in the December 2020 general election,” he stressed.