General News of Monday, 27 January 2020
The Electoral Commission (EC) will this week announce a new vendor to supply the Commission with hardware and software equipment to be used for the compilation of a new voters’ register for the December 2020 general elections.
Parliament has approved 390 million cedis for the procurement of a new biometric system said to have a facial recognition technology.
Four companies, according to the EC, have already been shortlisted through open tendering.
“The hardware, I know we have four companies but I can’t give them off head now. We did open tendering and we have screened them to four, out of the four we will take one,” Director of Electoral Services at the EC, Dr Serebour Quaicoe said on TV3 Key Points on Saturday.
He noted that the EC was in the process of settling on a vendor for the supply of hardware and software equipment which include will include a new biometric voting system.
“I’m told by the end of next week [this week], by a week today the contract would have been awarded,” he added.
Why new biometric system?
The Commission took the decision to acquire a new Biometric Voter Management Solution for the upcoming general elections based on the advice of its IT team and external consultants.
The two concluded it would be prudent to acquire a new system rather than refurbish the current system.
“It is important to note that the equipment that the entire voter management system runs on, from enrolment, duplication, adjudication to voters’ verification is obsolete and no longer supported by their Original Equipment Manufacturers,” the EC claimed earlier this year.
New voters’ register is a done deal
Despite criticism and resistance against the compilation of a new voters’ register, the EC has said it will go ahead with the registration exercise.
According to the EC, the scheduled engagement with the 21-member Eminent Advisory Committee and the political parties on Thursday, will not to seek consensus on whether or not to go on with the new registration exercise set to begin on April 18.
“You can’t get consensus anywhere; it can never happen and it will never happen. If we want to get consensus before we act, then we will never act,” Dr Quaicoe said on TV3 Saturday.
The January 30 meeting, he explained, has been arranged for the EC to inform the stakeholders of its programmes concerning the new voters’ register, and solicit views on how best it can be implemented.
“We have our programme; we will explain to them and then we move on with the programme,” he stated, adding “there is no doubt about us doing the registration”.
He said the EC is not under any obligation to have consensus on issues before acting, saying “with respect to compiling new voters register, we are convinced beyond reasonable doubt there is the need for it”.
Data centre contract
Persol Systems Limited was two weeks ago announced by the Commission as the winner of the contract to construct a new Production and Disaster Recovery Data Centre.
MTN was also awarded the contract to provide internet connectivity services to the various district offices of the Commission.
The selection was made following a successful international competitive tender process and subsequent shortlisting of bidders last year, in compliance with the Public Procurement Act regulations.