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Opinions of Monday, 21 May 2012

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

Please help me, help me!

As often shouts out by my granddaughter of three whenever she needs assistance of some sort, "please help me, help me, granddad/grandma/Gloria help me" She says this whenever she doesn't want to eat but finds herself being obliged to eat to ensure she sleeps well at night without waking up intermittently or unnecessarily because she feels hungry. She says this when she is taken to a nearby children's playground to play and decides to stay longer than it is considered necessary. She starts screaming out the phrase "please help me, help me" in order to attract the attention of passersby attention to intervene, plead on her behalf to be left to play much longer. Whenever she is due to go to bed but for some reason she does not want to, she cries out the phrase or words stated above. Briefly, she uses the phrase to call for help.

Today, I am going to mimic my most adorable granddaughter because I need some urgent help. Please Dr. Afari Gyan (the Electoral Commissioner), help me, help me! I require some vital information and you are the only one better placed to provide me with that information. I urgently need the requested information to enable me conduct some research into the biometric voter's registration and eventual remote electronic voting.

As determined in my own way as a responsible Ghanaian with practical intention to prevent any rigging, perceived instances of rigging, or accusations of rigging relating to the new method of voting, I have contacted some IT analysts in London. I have sought their opinion on certain issues that are bothering me concerning the newly undertaken method of voter's registration and eventual voting at elections. These IT (Information Technology) specialists are ready to volunteer credible answers to my questions posed but on condition that I furnish them with certain information. They want to know the type (make) with version inclusive, of the biometric machines Ghana is using for the voter's registration. They also want to know from which country Ghana government or the Electoral Commissioner purchased the machines. Finally, they want to know which machines the Electoral Commission will use for the December 7, 2012 elections if other than the very ones used for the registration exercise. If they will be different, what make and version will they be? Where will the Electoral Commission purchase them?

With the above information provided, they will contact the manufacturer to determine the efficiency of the machines and the likely problems to arise. They will then come out with suggestions and answers to forestall any attempts of vote rigging if anyone plans to manipulate the machines or the results electronically remotely. They are not interested in coming up with solutions to my questions based on presumptions hence the requested information about the machines and their country of origin. They will investigate all aspects of the system, motherboard, software etc. inclusive. They are interested in joining me to be of service to Mother Ghana hence the voluntary service they are about to render. They want to prevent Ghana from descending into chaos because someone thinks the elections has been rigged based the individual's lack of knowledge of the operational functions of the machines, or, someone manipulating the system because he/she has the knowhow to.

The fact that there has been known instances of some people successfully registering more than one, and even up to fifteen raises an eyebrow, they conclude. The ensemble of the machines were not synchronised to a main server or database prior to the commencement, and during the registration. If they had, there was no way any single individual could have successfully registered more than one. Individual's fingerprint is unique and there is not a second to it under the Sun, the Moon and the Stars of our Solar system or Universe. Any intending registrant was to register to a fingerprint, name, age, gender, and address. The paramount among all is the fingerprint that will never allow anyone to register more than one without the machine immediately detecting or signalling the imminent fraud if the Electoral Commission had networked all the machines.

Furthermore, copying registrants' details onto USB sticks or pen drives for future uploading onto a main server or database in Accra was not a healthy exercise at all. Pen drives are liable to corruption that can wipe off the entire information downloaded onto them. According to my comprehension as a nonprofessional in IT, the stakeholders did not properly think most important aspects of the biometric voter's registration.

If the Electoral Commissioner or anyone with knowledge about the machines can help with my request, they may allay my fears and that of many others who are apprehensive about the impending elections. I am awaiting the response to my request. Please do e-mail it to me at rcksnadofo@yahoo.co.uk

Rockson Adofo