General News of Thursday, 30 January 2014
Source: The New Statesman
Amadu Sulley, a Deputy Chairman of the Electoral Commission, is said to be engaged in a serious business of lobbying key figures in the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress government for ‘promotion’ to replace Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan as the next boss of the EC.
Sources at the EC have hinted the New Statesman that Mr Sulley is being actively supported in the lobbying by Dr Afari-Gyan who is due to retire before the 2016 general elections.
“I can tell you the lobbying has reached an advanced stage, with the man talking to many influential people who matter most in the NDC government, and with the active support and recommendations from Dr Afari-Gyan. And he appears to be succeeding because the NDC is very comfortable working with him,” one of our sources said.
Amadu Sulley was appointed a Deputy Chairman of the EC on May 2, 2012, by the late President John Evans Atta Mills to replace David Kanga, who had proceeded on his compulsory retirement leave, gaining promotion from his previous position as Director of Research, Monitoring and Evaluation. Before then, he had been the Brong-Ahafo Regional Director of the commission.
The promotion came after he had been accused by the opposition New Patriotic Party of being in bed with the NDC, following revelations that he had been part of a top secret strategic retreat organised for very senior members of the NDC at Shai Hills to allegedly plan how to manipulate the 2012 electoral process to their party’s advantage.
Amadu Sulley addressed the NDC strategists, including Totobi Quakye, Kofi Portuphy, Aseidu Nketia, Akrasi Sarpong, Abaka Quansah and Yaw Boateng on ‘Electoral Process; Biometric Registration; Bio-Exhibition’, where he demonstrated how the entire exercise works.
This was at the time the EC had refused persistent calls from the opposition parties to call an IPAC meeting to deliberate on pertinent issues relating to the biometric registration process.
Meanwhile, insiders and IT experts at the EC have raised questions about the integrity of the 2012 voters register and have stressed the need for an ‘independent’ body other than STL, the company that carried out the registration exercise, to be contracted “to clean the faulty register.”
The call comes at a time the EC is preparing to start the process of updating the voters register in April and May, ahead of the District Assembly elections.
According to our sources at the EC, the basic idea behind the biometric registration is to avoid double or multiple registrations, and that is crucial to the integrity of a biometric register is the process of de-duplication, where the captured data is screened to discover and delete double entry of biometric data of individual voters.
However, during the 2012 presidential election petition hearing at the Supreme Court, the EC boss, Dr Afari-Gyan, agreed to several cases of multiple registrations in the voters register when he was confronted with hard evidence in the witness boss.
“This is not a small matter and should not be taken lightly. STL & EC used a sub-standard Automated Fingerprint Identification System. Any good AFIS should have thrown out those multiple registrations, pending de-duplication, which is the process of deciding what to do with the multiple registrations the system has detected. The fact that these names remained on the register and were used in the 2012 election is abundant proof that the STL AFIS is a bogus system. No serious electoral organization can depend on such an AFIS system. If STL claim that their AFIS now works perfectly, then we should be asking why the AFIS stopped working perfectly before the 2012 election,” a worried IT expert at the EC said.
On the way forward, our source said the EC should be made to buy a new and better AFIS, adding: “And in the event of de-duplication process, representatives of all political parties must be present such that if the system detects multiple registrations, they will observe and take appropriate steps to address such incidents.”
The source gave an alternative arrangement: “Or the EC should lease or rent a better AFIS from a third party firm for a period of time. This AFIS will be used to de-duplicate the existing BVR. Under no circumstance should Ghana allow the STL AFIS to be re-used. Even if political parties are assured of its new found efficacy, they must reject it. It will fail again. If it failed to reject multiple voter registrations for the 2012 election, it will fail for the 2016 election. Ghanaians and the Ghana EC must reject mediocrity.”