Politics of Monday, 13 January 2020
Members of the National Concern Drivers Association of Ghana are calling on the President Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo and the Chairperson for the Electoral Commission (EC) Mrs Jean Mensah to hold on with plans to compile a new voter’s register until 2021.
The EC believes the integrity of the 2020 polls could be undermined if a new roll and a new Biometric Voter Management System are not put in place.
In a statement, the EC said: “The current kits and solutions are obsolete: They are End-Of-Life (EOL) and can no longer be supported by their Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM). The immediate past vendors of the solution proposed that the Commission replace all the equipment and also upgrade the Data Centre. This was rehashed by the Consultants we engaged to audit our systems
“It is important to emphasise that whether we compile a new voters’ register or not, there is the need to acquire new equipment to replace the obsolete kits acquired in 2011. It is, therefore, important to delink the procurement of equipment and kits from the registration exercise. We state again that whether or not the EC compiles a new register or conducts a limited registration exercise, we will procure new kits to replace the obsolete ones. Additionally, we will acquire a new data centre with robust state-of-the-art servicers and equipment at the cost of 6 Million Dollars instead of upgrading the existing one at the cost of 15 million United States Dollars as proposed by the previous vendors.
“Again, we are replacing the existing software with a new one to enable us own and control our systems, unlike the previous situation where the solution was owned, controlled and managed by the vendors.
“There is no doubt that the voter register is bloated. The bloat is because we have not developed an effective way of cleaning the register. The bloated register increases the cost of our elections. The Commission always procures election materials based on the number of registered voters. This causes a lot of waste as the number of registered voters exceeds the actual voters.
“Considering the above challenges, the Commission has come to the conclusion that it will be cheaper and prudent to acquire new BVRs and BVDs which are robust and user-friendly than to upgrade old and obsolete ones. Again, the Commission will go ahead with the preparation of a new biometric voters’ register based on the reasons provided earlier”.
But the drivers say if the current register was “credible enough to be used for a successful district assembly election which most civil society organisations commended the EC for, why the need to discard the register completely and compile a new one?”
The Association said it does not make both economic and human sense to spend money to compile a new register, especially when the country needs more money to build additional classrooms for secondary schools across the country, to construct good roads and provide other infrastructural developmental projects.
The drivers have also called on the National Chief Imam, the clergy and all meaning Ghanaians to kick against the EC’s plans to compile a new register until 2021.