No Postponement Of Date For Compilation Of New Register — EC

The Electoral Commission (EC) has dismissed reports that the compilation of a new voters’ register scheduled for April 18 will be postponed.

Sources within the Commission told Citi News that there are no immediate intentions of postponing the exercise.

The Commission is set to compile a new electoral roll on the said date despite intense public and political resistance.

The Inter-Party Resistance Against New Voters Register had already downplayed the EC’s preparedness for the April 18 exercise.

The Resistance has been sceptical of the EC’s ability to conduct the exercise within the limited time available for the December 7 national polls.

Ghana to save money by compiling register – EC

Data from the Electoral Commission shows that the country stands to save an amount of GHS173.07 million should a new voters’ register be compiled ahead of the 2020 general elections.

This means that procuring a fresh Biometric Voter Management System (BVMS) is less costly than upgrading the current register as many have called for, the EC claims.

IT consultant to the EC, Dr. Yaw Ofori-Adjei who made this known at a media encounter last Thursday said the commission will incur a cost of approximately GHS107.25 million to furnish the existing data centre but will only need about GHS39.51 million for both the construction and maintenance of a new data centre.

He added that keeping the old biometric system will cost US$74.36 million as against the US$56 million needed to acquire a new system which includes Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits and the Biometric Verification Devices (BVD). Groups against decision

The plan to compile a new register ahead of the general elections in December has over time sparked up a lot of controversies, with many parties and groups disagreeing to the move.

The Inter-Party Resistance Against New Voter Register, a group made up of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Convention People’s Party (CPP), People’s National Convention (PNC), Eagle Party, All People’s Party (APC), Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have on several occasions demonstrated to express their disappointment against the EC’s decision.

Eighteen Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have also rejected the Electoral Commission’s proposal to compile a new electoral roll ahead of the 2020 elections.

The CSOs are Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), IMANI Africa, SEND Ghana, Africa Centre for International Law and Accountability (ACILA), Financial Accountability and Transparency – Africa (FAT-Africa), Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Youth Bridge Foundation, West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), Citizens Movement against Corruption (CMaC) and Human Rights Advocacy Centre (HRAC).

These groups have cited the reason for their rejection as among other things, a waste of the taxpayers’ money. They rather want the EC to update the current software rather than procuring a new one.

Meanwhile, efforts to settle the differences including resorting to the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) and the Electoral Commission’s Eminent Advisory Committee have proved futile.

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Manufacturers Must Provide Clarification On EC’s Current Biometric System – Yaw Oppong
By News Desk
Manufacturers Must Provide Clarification On EC’s Current Biometric System – Yaw Oppong
LISTEN MAR 8, 2020 1 COMMENT
A private legal practitioner, Yaw Oppong is asking manufacturers of the Electoral Commission’s current Biometric Voter Management System (BVMS) to clarify issues surrounding the system.

There are conflicting reports on whether the EC’s current biometric system is obsolete or not.

Officials of the EC had earlier stated that the manufacturers of the system had told them that, the current system is obsolete warranting the procurement of a new one.

Following the recommendation, the Electoral Commission has announced the procurement of a new system with facial recognition plugin. It has also announced the compilation of a new voters’ register ahead of the December 7 general elections.

The EC’s decision has been greeted with mixed reactions.

EC’s system not obsolete

The leadership of the Inter-Party Resistance Against the New Voter Register had insisted that claims that the Electoral Commission’s Biometric Voter Management System is obsolete are false.

The group at a press conference on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, claimed it sent an email on January 1, 2020, to the manufacturers of the current BVR equipment, seeking information on whether or not the current BVR equipment can be upgraded to include facial recognition.

The group said, in response to the email dated January 2, 2020, Mr. Maxwell Bogad of HNB identification delivery indicated “that the current BVRs are not obsolete.”

State official position

While speaking on Citi FM and Citi TV’s weekend current affairs show ‘The Big Issue’ on Saturday, 7th March 2020, Yaw Oppong insisted that the manufacturers of the EC’s current biometric system must clarify the issue in their own interest.

“Currently there are two conflicting documents all sourced to them [manufacturers] and they are a company of international repute so it is in their own interest to come out and clarify their position,” he said.

EC’s biometric verification system not obsolete – Group opposing new register

While addressing the press on Tuesday,3rd March 2020, the General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and leading member of the Inter-Party Resistance Against the New Voter Register, Johnson Asiedu Nketia said EC’s current system could be upgraded to have the facial recognition component the EC wants to add to the register.

“On 1st January 2020, we sent an email to the manufacturers of the current BVR equipment, seeking information on whether or not the current BVR equipment can be upgraded to include facial recognition. In response to this email dated 2nd January 2020, Mr. Maxwell Bogad of HNB identification delivery indicated as follows; that the current BVRs are not obsolete.”

“Although the computer operating systems and software of the current BVR need to be upgraded, components like the fingerprints and scanners were very robust and fit for use. The enrollment software can easily be upgraded with facial recognition…The cost of upgrading the BVR equipment with new functionalities will be far cheaper than replacing them with new equipment,” he added.

—citinewsroom