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Politics of Friday, 29 May 2020


New register: Don’t supply BVDs, BVRs to EC – ASEPA warns The Thales Group

EC Chair, Jean Mensa EC Chair, Jean Mensa

The Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) has called on the suppliers of BVDs and BVRs to Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC) to suspend any supplies due to the existing political atmosphere in the country.

A letter addressed to the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Thales Group, the suppliers of the equipment to the EC, dated Thursday, 28 March 2020 and signed by ASEPA’s Executive Director, said: “We write to your office relative of a contract signed between your company, Thales Gelmatos and the Electoral Commission of Ghana, to supply a certain quantity of BVDs and BVRs for the purposes of electoral registration and elections”.

“For the avoidance of doubt, we want to officially notify you that, as we speak, there is a stalemate between the Electoral Commission and the major political parties as to whether the decision to compile a new voter register by the Commission is tenable or not.”

The letter continued: “Subsequent to that, the Electoral Commission has presented a Constitutional Instrument to Parliament seeking to use only passports and NIA cards as requirements for the upcoming registration”, adding that it believes the decision to do so “seeks to rob millions of Ghanaians of their fundamental rights to vote under the laws of Ghana.”

It further continued that the decision by the EC “has created heated political tension in the country, with a number of people threatening to hit the streets and protest if the Electoral Commission goes on this tangent.”

Therefore, “considering the heated political tension in the country currently, we believe that it would be a necessary intervention for your company to suspend any delivery of these biometric machines to the Electoral Commission of Ghana, which would then commence the planned registration exercise that can potentially degenerate into violent protests and civil unrests that would undermine the peace and security of Ghana.”

According to ASEPA, it is “alerting” the Thales Group “well in advance”, as it does not want to cite their “reputable institution as an accomplice to the Electoral Commission of Ghana in the event of violence or civil unrest if so happens.”

It further continued: “The People of Ghana are willing and ready to resist the Electoral Commission because they believe it is against their fundamental human rights for the Electoral Commission to do what it intends to do and also because the ECOWAS protocols on elections prevent the Electoral Commission from effecting any major changes to the electoral roll six months to an election.”

The letter assured the Thales Group that “they have the support of Ghanaians to hold on to any payments made to them in effect of this contract and may refund same at their own convenience due to this unexpected turn of events” indicating that the “people of Ghana are ready to lose a few millions if it is to protect the peace and stability of this country.”

ASEPA also urged the Thales Group to treat the “letter with all the seriousness it deserves for their own international corporate reputation.”