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Politics of Thursday, 6 February 2020

Source: GNA

Ghana needs new voter register - CSO

The EC is requesting to change the voters' register ahead of the 2020 elections The EC is requesting to change the voters' register ahead of the 2020 elections

Mass Action Committee (MAC), a Civil Society Organisation (CSO) on Wednesday stated that Ghana needs a new voter register for transparency in the 2020 general election and beyond.

Mr Atik Mohammed, MAC Executive Secretary said the need for a new voter register was no longer an option, but an urgent necessity.

“One of the key defining features of a thriving democracy is the conduct of transparent, free and fair elections and elections are a function of several processes and activities chief among which is the production and use of a reliable electoral roll,” he said.

As a result, every Election Management Body such as the Electoral Commission (EC) strives to have a reliable electoral register, adding that MAC finds the decision of EC as appropriate and timely.

Mr Mohammed who is a former General Secretary of the Peoples’ National Convention called on Ghanaians to support the EC by turning-up in their numbers to register on April 18, 2020.

Mr Mohammed stated this at a News Conference in Accra.

He said the current biometric system used by the EC faced a number of challenges because the machines were obsolete since the Biometric Verification Registration (BVR) kits were procured in 2011 and the last time EC purchased the kits was in 2013.

Not only were the kits obsolete, but also it would help de-duplicate the data in the system, for a reliable and sustainable electoral register, noting that on May 18, 2018, HSB identification, B.V, Netherlands, the manufacturers, in their letter to SUPERTEC Limited indicated the components of BVR were old and recommended the purchase on new ones.

STL, the vendors in 2016, also said in its January 2018 report that there was 47 per cent failure rate for BVRs during the 2016 registration and that EC should expedite action in replacing them.

Mr Mohammed said the warranties for the equipment in the data centre and the licenses for the software had expired since 2014, adding that despite the vendor drawing USD 3,972,252 per annum, the system was at the verge of crashing.

He said due to that, the immediate past EC Chair on June 28, 2018, awarded cost to procure new kits and that the cost was not as expensive as being argued by others.

Compared to the amount agreed to buy the equipment in 2018, by the previous EC, the procurement of the new one would save USD 18,364,500 equivalent to GH¢104,677,650.00.

The Group, which has been in existence for 2013 is made up of social activists, entrepreneurs, political activists, farmers, academia, traders and others focus on social, economic and political issues that impact on the rights of the masses.

MAC uses advocacy and mass action to find solutions to societal problems that affect and demand accountability from leaders.

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