The Inter-Party Resistance Against the New Voter’s Register has announced that it will besiege the Electoral Commission (EC) on Tuesday, 4 February 2020 as part of its scheduled demonstrations against the election management body’s determination to compile a new register of voters ahead of the December general elections.
Despite their resolve to demonstrate, the group says it will still honour the Eminent Advisory Committee of the Electoral Commission's invitation for a dialogue on Thursday, 30 January 2020 with an open mind for the avoidance of doubt about the ability of the EC to change its stance.
The inter-party resistance against the new register is also calling for a live telecast of the meeting to ensure transparency and has also charged the Electoral Commission to organise a public debate forum for all political parties as well as pro and anti-new register groups to present their case to the public.
Speaking on behalf of the group at a press conference in Accra on Wednesday, 29 January 2020, the Chairman of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Mr Bernard Mornah, also stated that it has petitioned a number of influential figures including former presidents Jerry John Rawlings, John Agyekum Kufuor, the office of Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and the national chief Imam to intervene in the matter.
Meanwhile, 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”.
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