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Opinions of Sunday, 29 April 2012

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

The Biometric Voter's Registration Exposes .... - Part 1

The Biometric Voter's Registration Exposes the Dishonesty, Incompetence and Corruptibility of the Electoral Commission - Part 1

To start with, the Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Afari Gyan, is not up to the challenges presented by the biometric voter's registration exercise. He and his team are exhibiting complete ignorance and lack of technological knowhow, which are vividly evident by the unfolding problems associated with the biometric machines. Either they are in connivance with the incumbent NDC government to rig the elections for the NDC or they are not competent enough to handle that delicate electronic voter's registration exercise.

I have today come to question the honesty and sincerity of my old Ghanaian compatriot, Dr. Afari-Gyan, based on certain incomprehensible and quite dubious decisions he has taken relating to election 2012. He rushed to demarcate new constituencies out of the existing ones without stringently following rules and procedures granted by the Constitution for the creation of new Constituencies. The Constitution requires the Electoral Commissioner to consider the land mass and the number of inhabitants within any given area intended for demarcation for a constituency prior to proceeding with creation of constituencies. The Constitution has specified guidelines for the formation or demarcation of constituencies in Ghana. The Electoral Commissioner overlooked that vital component of the NUMBER of inhabitants but stubbornly dwelled on just the land mass to demarcate the yet to be officially confirmed newly created new constituencies.

Secondly, the Electoral Commissioner has not officially announced, nor parliament approved of the newly proposed or created constituencies. However, the Electoral Commissioner in utter disrespect for intelligent Ghanaians, in total disregard for the relevant constitutional stipulations, has gone ahead to assign new registration code numbers to the purported newly formed or created constituencies. He has acted in perfect consonance with the unbridled enthusiasm by those NDC bunch without political shrewdness. NDC candidates are assiduously working, although secretly, to contest for those newly created constituencies that they surely hope to win. They are already canvassing the inhabitants of those areas with gift inducements for their votes come December 7, 2012. The Electoral Commissioner through clear acts of dishonesty has given the NDC candidates heads-up to garner more votes ahead of the other rival candidates from the other political divide way ahead of the official declaration of the new constituencies almost all of which favour the NDC.

I am still taking the Electoral Commission, especially the Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Afari-Gyan, to the launderette. I have to wash him clean - intellectually, morally and professionally. He initially resisted when all discerning Ghanaians were insisting on biometric verification of eligible voters to avoiding dubious registration and subsequent illegal voting. He had to budge at last, after all the flimsiest excuses centring on lack of availability of funds as submitted to mask his true deplorable intentions as are now unfolding were exhausted but never wash with majority of Ghanaians.

Biometric verification you will have but in my way and on my terms, he may have said to himself. He dashed to China to purchase biometric machines. Everyone knows how inferior Chinese products are. Are we obliged to buy the machines from China simply because they often offer Ghana government gargantuan loans and then flood Ghana with numerous Chinese to extract gargantuan "galamsey" gold that contaminates our water bodies? The supposed low cost but inferior biometric machines purchased from China are not up to the task. They are not efficient, not value for money in their performance. They keep freezing, crashing and breaking down incessantly although the Electoral Commissioner has assigned forty-five days or so for the completion of the entire nationwide registration of all eligible voters.

As I speak, one Mr Asiamah and his colleague who are in charge of registering people in Drobonso area in the Kumawu Sekyere Afram Plains District is now seriously injured and is on admission to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi. Lest I forget, Drobonson area has been carved out of the Kumawu Sekyere Afram Plains Constituency into a district and a constituency. The government has announced Drobonso as a district area with the Electoral Commissioner yet to declare her constituency status. Nevertheless, the NDC have secretly nominated their parliamentary candidate to contest that seat. I know their nominee will be up to the task to ensure the area and the people therein get their share of the national cake they NDC are corruptibly scrambling for to line their stinky pockets. Back to the story, Asiamah has been faced with repeated biometric machine breakdown. He always has to travel to Kumawu to get the machine changed. The biometric machines assigned to him freeze, crash or completely break down. The road to Drobonso from Kumawu is not motorable but only good for motorbikes and pedestrianization, if one cares to know.

He collected a replacement biometric machine from Kumawu on Saturday 21, April 2012. As usual, he was travelling back to Drobonson on an officially assigned motorbike. His colleague and the machine were with him on the motorbike when he saw another motorbike giving him a chase. Although he increased his speed, the other motorbike caught up with him, crossed his bike, and forced him into serious ditch. Where is the machine now? How can the inhabitants of Drobonso and its environs continue to register to beat the deadline date set?

Some officials at electoral registration wards have the shameless audacity to seize machines because they have not been paid their allowances as promised. Biometric machines are breaking down all over the country at unprecedented rate never seen in the country's computer usage. The rate of their breakdown is only surpassed by the unprecedented gargantuan corruption and inefficiency unleashed on Ghana by President Mills' NDC government.

The Electoral Commissioner in justifying his incompetence in the face of the repeated breakdowns of his biometric machines has this to say, "Nobody can guarantee the non- breakdown of machines and the biometric machines like many others are susceptible to breakdowns". Can I ask him if he has ever had, the decency to investigate into machines made in China and those made elsewhere in Europe or America? Did he compare the efficiency of machines made in the Europe/America to those Chinese-made ones? Did he think through the viability and durability of the machines? He did not make any competent research into the questions asked about the machines he got from China, I should conclude.

In order not to make this article too long and too boring to read, I will end here but will quickly follow it up with other series until I have exhaustively dealt with the subject. Not only that, until viable solutions to rectifying the anomalies to prevent any unfair means of tipping the elections in favour of one party or the other is avoided.

I do not care whoever wins provided the election is free and fair without the suspicions already established having any sway on the results of the December 2012.

Rockson Adofo