General News of Saturday, 14 December 2019
Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, a leading figure of the governing New Patriotic Party, has expressed worry over the readiness of the Electoral Commission to effectively organise the 2020 elections, ABC News can report.
The NPP stalwart said he is nervous that 12 months to the next polls, the Electoral Commission is yet to begin the process of putting together an acceptable and credible voters’ biometric data which will be used to conduct the polls.
The legal practitioner, who described himself as a ”’veteran” campaigner for electoral reforms’, suggested that his concern stems from the fact that the Commission is yet to decide on whether or not to introduce a new biometric data system or maintain the old system.
“I do not know the details of the EC procurement processes and the current happenings at the Commission. But, as a “veteran” campaigner for electoral reforms over the years, I was worried to hear yesterday that with less than 12 months to the next general elections the EC is yet to decide on a new entity and technology to introduce a new biometric data system for the next polls,” he noted.
The EC, in a meeting with the political parties at the InterParty Advisory Committee, put forth a proposed new technology to collate biometric data of eligible Ghanaians ahead of 2020 elections. Some political parties, led by the NDC have opposed the idea insisting that the EC has not sufficiently provided reasons why the move is necessary.
But Gabby Otchere-Darko, in his post on Facebook intimated that education on the progress being made by the Commission is needed to assure stakeholders of the steps they are taking to conduct a transparent, free and fair election.
He disclosed that “It worries me and I hope they get it right. Some more education on where we are and how we get there will be very helpful. I’m nervous.”
According to the Director of Elections of the opposition National Democratic Congress, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, the party has provided sufficient grounds for which reason they do not support a new biometric data system.
“Our IT people together with other political parties raised counterfactuals and proved to them that there was no need for a new biometric register and we stated cogent reasons.”
Even though the Electoral Commission has opened its doors for further dialogue, it is primed to go ahead with the intended procurement of new technology for the purpose of collecting and using biometric data of electorates.
“The Electoral Commission believes in dialogue. The EC believes that the acquisition of a new biometric system will enable the EC to deliver free, fair and transparent elections. Moreover, the Electoral Commission operates an open-door policy and that should any political party have issues on any of our projects, they will be able to come forward and dialogue with the Commission,” Sylvia Annor, EC’s PRO stated.