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Opinions of Thursday, 13 October 2016

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

Has the Electoral Commission yielded into “no verification, no vote” for election 2016?

Not long ago, the Chair of the Electoral Commission, Mrs Charlotte Keeson-Osei, was oscillating between the idea of electorates voting without going through the biometric verification on the Election Day and voters being verified biometrically before casting their votes on the Election Day.

However, today, Tuesday 11 October 2016, I have read on Ghanaweb.com a publication under its Politics column titled, “EC to use 2 biometric machines at each polling station”. This publication is under the web link http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/politics/EC-to-use-2-biometric-machine-at-each-polling-station-476394

Does this mean that anyone not biometrically verified, or fails the biometric verification on that election day except lepers who have lost their limbs (fingers) or those who accidentally have had their hands amputated, cannot cast their votes?

I want Charlotte Osei to come out to clarify her position on this as her current position on the issue is too ambiguous even with this publication. This is because, she had earlier held on to, or favoured, the idea of voters casting their votes without going through any process of verification. Her stance on the issue, considered by me as doubtful and raising eyebrows infuriated me so much so that I had no option but to publish my views about it.

The views were published on my usual Ghana internet news portals (Ghanaweb and Modernghana) on 14 July 2016 and under the title, “Charlotte Osei Stubbornly Keeps Implementing Her Series of Criminally-minded Plans A, B & C” and under web link https://www.modernghana.com/news/704005/charlotte-osei-stubbornly-keeps-implementing-her-series-of-c.html

This is when she submitted a Constitutional Instrument (CI) to Parliament seeking their approval to allow whoever goes to the polling station to vote on Election Day when the verification machine fails to verify their thumbprint. Just go to the link to read how I expressed my disagreement.

Additionally, I had to publish my contestation to the proxy voting which also goes to nullify the essence of the biometric verification. How do you biometrically verify a registered eligible voter through their proxy, if not only to check the voters register to confirm their name? Does simply confirming one’s registration on the voters register enough guarantee for a proxy to genuinely vote on their behalf and if so, what is the use of the verification machines?

Refer to my opposing views previously published about the proxy voting in relation to the biometric verification on 26 September 2016 and under the heading, “The Proxy Vote Is A Potential Weapon To Wield By NDC To Rig Election 2016 So Let’s Be On The Lookout” (https://www.modernghana.com/news/722142/the-proxy-vote-is-a-potential-weapon-to-wield-by-ndc-to-rig.html)


From the publication which has necessitated this write-up, what are the verification machines going to serve at the polling stations unless Charlotte Osei has rescinded her decision of getting people to vote without going through biometric verification process.

I totally disagree with the following statement read in the publication. It goes, “Mr Quaicoo said the EC advertised for the recruitment of temporary staff online and that the first batch, which was the returning officers, had been completed, sworn in and their names and pictures sent to the political parties”. Why should they advertise for recruitment of any sort online as if many Ghanaians have access to the internet and smart phones unlike in the advanced world?

Will the advertisement not only be available to their few cronies and those that they will tip off? Will it not only be available to the few those that the NDC government has given laptops to for being members of the NDC party? Ghana is a third world country where power outages and poverty have not made it possible for even a quarter of the population to own computers or laptops in their homes. Therefore, advertising recruitment for temporary staff to assist the EC in election 2016 is wrong, if not maliciously inclined.

Finally, who has been calibrating the verification machines? Do Ghanaians know that the machines can be calibrated to favour whoever is in possession of them and intends to use them dubiously? My association with numerous computer analysts has given me insight into what computers can be programmed to do. The software can be programmed anyhow by the computer expert working on it. You programme it to do as you want but not as it wants, that is the gist of my message to emphasise my distrust in Charlotte Osei’s plans.

Do the opposition parties especially, have computer experts to look into such questions as just raised, for them? Why do I mention only the opposition parties, one may ask? It is just because Charlotte Osei by her actions displayed so far makes me believe that she is in bed with the NDC. I do not trust this lady one bit.

Sorry, I am in a rush to attend an urgent appointment so I have to go. However, I shall come back to complete this topic.

Rockson Adofo

(Written on Tuesday 11 October 2016)