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General News of Saturday, 15 December 2012

Source: Efua Idan Osam

Calls for restructuring EC are misplaced - David Kanga

Former Deputy Commissioner of the Electoral Commission, David Kanga has indicated that calls for the restructuring of the Commission are misplaced.

Several analysts have questioned the ability of the Commission to efficiently balance the many duties it is obligated to, including registering voters and re-demarcating new constituencies.

Mr. Kanga says if the workload of the EC is shared with the other bodies, the Commission could blame its inefficiencies on the new body.

Mr David Kanga also noted that the EC's directive for the strict adherence to the use of the verification devices for the identification of voters was due to the high level of mistrust for the Ghanaian electorate.

“The problem the EC finds itself in is the suspicion, the mistrust, the very high level of mistrust that is creating some of these problems.”

The 2012 general elections, for the first time in Ghana's history, was conducted over a two day period due to the breakdown of verification machines in some polling centers across the country.

The Electoral Commission prior to the December elections directed that the identity of every voter should be verified through the use of the biometric devices before they could vote.

Speaking on Citi FM's news analysis programme, Inside Politics on Friday, the former Deputy Chairman of the EC, revealed that during deliberations with the various political parties, over the use of the verification machines, he had insisted that physical verification should be the final identification of voters.

“During the planning... I kept insisting that 'look, we still have to use the physical as the final because training does not produce 100%. There will always be people who will be trained and they will not be able to perform and if they cannot perform. They can either spoil the machine or use the machine wrongly and then somebody is not verified'.”

According to him, because the EC holds in high esteem the principles of ensuring that no citizen is disenfranchised, "for anybody to lose his franchise because a machine did not work or an officer did not perform is really not good enough.”

Mr. Kanga advised that in future elections, the EC should devise multiple ways to verify the identity of a registered voter noting that “if your thumb does not go through, we should be prepared or we should accept a situation where your photograph either in the register or your ID card is scanned and when that is scanned and it goes through, you should be allowed to vote.”