The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has finally admitted that its biometric register, which it spent millions of Ghana cedis to compile, lacks integrity and credibility and therefore cannot be relied upon for any meaningful internal elections.
The top echelon of the party has therefore officially decided to throw away the biometric register – which was compiled ahead of the 2016 general elections – and start a new process of registering NDC members manually.
National Chairman of the party, Kofi Portuphy, who made the admission at a news conference in Accra yesterday, said the National Executive Council (NEC) took the decision to dump the biometric register in favour of a new register to be manually compiled, having realized that it is not credible.
“The biometric register was well intended but was abused by our operatives and does not meet the standards required to make a credible one, I learnt people have invested heavily in the data capturing book ready to do same when registration starts once again,” Mr. Portuphy said.
He said all those preparing to perpetrate fraud in the next registration exercise would not succeed because the biometric exercise is no longer to be done.
Mr Portuphy said the NDC is not scrapping the biometric project indefinitely but was going to use the manual registration to form the basis for a new biometric data compilation in the near future.
“In line with the wishes of the majority of the members of the NDC, and in the wake of recommendations made by the election review committee chaired by Prof. Kwesi Botchwey, the National Executive Committee, which is the highest decision-making body after Congress, voted unanimously for the scrapping of the register which was used to conduct our internal elections last year,” Mr. Portuphy confirmed.
“The register, which was meant to be a biometric one, did not meet the standards required to make it qualified to be a biometric register. NEC has decided that we should adopt a manual process of capturing the names of members at the branch levels nationwide to avoid infiltration and test the real strength of the party,” he submitted.
“What we are doing now is intended to restore the integrity of our register, and will become the basis for the creation of a biometric register,” he said, adding, “This process would have to be supported by everybody in the party.
“You have to go back to your roots and register at a polling station at your branch office for the branch to recognize that you are a member. It is meant for only members of the National Democratic Congress.”
The NDC used the news conference to announce a timetable for the party’s upcoming activities.
Between 18th and 24th October, 2017, there is going to be what he called, ‘national outreach programme,’ followed by the ‘fresh registration’ for party members of all branches between November and December, 2017.
The branch elections are expected to be held on 2nd, 27th and 28th January, 2018, followed by constituency elections on 3rd, 24th and 25th March, 2018.
Regional Youth, Women and Zongo Caucus elections are expected to be held from 2nd to 3rd June, 2018 respectively and slated the regional conference on June 9th, 2018.
National Youth and Women conferences are set for 13th and 14th July, 2018 while National Executive Conference is scheduled for 27th and 28th July, 2018.
DAILY GUIDE Vindicated
DAILY GUIDE had published that the NDC was throwing away the biometric register because of the inherent fraud associated with it, but the party came out to deny it vehemently.
But now the chickens are coming home to roost as the reality dawns on them.
The NDC had come out to deny contents of Prof. Kwesi Botchwey Committee’s report as is being serialized by DAILY GUIDE, but it’s now turning round to implement the same recommendations the newspaper published earlier.
According to the 13-member committee that investigated the cause of the NDC’s massive defeat at the last general election, the biometric exercise, which was fraught with widespread irregularities, made the NDC to believe that it had the numbers to retain power.
“The register gave a misleading impression of the party’s true strength in some branches and constituencies as some of the aspirants registered non-NDC members in their bid to win at all cost and by all means,” Prof Kwesi Botchwey’s Committee reports.
Former President Rawlings, who is the NDC founder, had also alluded to the fact that some NDC members fraudulently registered NPP members in order to defraud the party system.
According to the committee’s report, the NDC “implemented the biometric registration project without any safety nets.”
The report said the manipulation of the register was real and that had put the integrity of the whole exercise into question.
“The integrity of the biometric register was compromised and a number of the primaries flawed on account of widespread manipulation,” the report said.
It also says the biometric exercise brought “ethnicism in the constituencies of diverse ethnic groups” in the party, adding, “constituencies that hitherto supported and promoted the party as one people became divided during the primaries and in some cases after the primaries.”
The report said that the whole idea of the biometric registration was imposed on NDC members, saying, “There were no broad consultations with stakeholders, especially the MPs, who were to be directly affected by the system.”