National Communication Officer for the opposition NDC, Sammy Gyamfi, has maintained that the series of justifications by the Electoral Commission (EC) on the need to compile a new voters' register ahead of the 2020 general elections lacks substance.
Reiterating the NDC’s opposition to the over GHS 800 million yet-to-be compiled new electoral roll whose budget Parliament has approved, Mr Gyamfi argued that the reasons behind the EC’s decision to dump the current register for new one are frivolous, saying the electoral management body ought to save its credibility by heeding to calls to stop the compilation of a new register.
The EC has been consistent with its defence on the matter. It announced in December last year, it will procure a new Biometric Voter Management System as well as compile new voters register for this year’s elections amidst fierce opposition from some 6 political parties, including Ghana’s largest opposition party – the NDC.
The electoral body in a statement said the current kits and solutions are “obsolete ” and are “End-Of-Life (EOL) and can no longer be supported by [their] Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM).”
EC’s Deputy Commissioner Dr Bossman Asare recently revealed that the immediate past vendors of the solution proposed that the Commission replace all the equipment and also upgrade the Data Centre, adding that if that was not done on time the data centre would “crash.”
But in an interview On Dwaboase on Power 97.9 FM, the NDC spokesperson rubbished the EC’s reasons and said the current voters roll is credible and needs not to be changed at the expense of the overburdened taxpayer.
“The current register was successfully used to conduct a referendum [in 2018] and the recently held District Level elections. The EC has held that its biometric devices could not verify some over 30,000 voters therefore opting for a new one which can use a facial recognition technology is the best. But I am telling you that the current register is credible with an efficiency rate of 99.4%. This is because over 5 million voters were able to be verified by the EC’s biometric devices,” sammy Gyamfi argued.
“It has been provided for by the law that those who could not be verified with the biometric verification devices, they should be verified manually….manual verification isn’t a crime,” he added.
Mr Gyamfi continued, "When you peg the over 30,000 people who could not be verified by the EC’s biometric devices, it constitutes 0.6%” and quizzed “How do you then throw away a voter register that has 99.4% efficiency?”
He added that EC’s justification that a lot of their devices were obsolete did not make sense because they are the same devices the new management of the electoral body used for its limited registration last year.
“The EC registered 1.2 million Ghanaians with the machines its commissioners say is obsolete…The EC is confused. Its commissioners are incoherent with their justifications,” he added and alleged that the agenda to change the current voters roll is hinges on the government’s ulterior motive to cash in on the funds that will be used for the registration exercise.
“280 billion is for per diem yet people are defending it…if it weren’t for NPP and EC’s chop chop mentality we would not be discussing this issue of whether or not we’d compile a new voters register,” he fumed.
Accusing the EC of dishonesty, Mr Gyamfi said in 2017 Parliament approved funding of GHC171 million to repair faulty devices of the Commission hence it is surprising the EC Boss, Jean Mensa and her deputies keep informing Ghanaians that the devices were malfunctioning.
To him, the NDC and the other political parties will continue to educate Ghanaians on the need to oppose the new voters register and kick against it to save the country’s funds and peace.
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