Minority Exposed Over Voters’ Register

Haruna Iddrisu

Minority Leader,
Haruna Iddrisu and some leading members of the opposition National Democratic
Congress (NDC) are only feigning ignorance of the programme of the commission,
Kwabena Bomfeh, acting General Secretary of the Convention People’s Party,
(CPP) has said.

The
Electoral Commission (EC) has never hidden the intention to procure new
Biometric Voter Management System (BVMS) from the stakeholders at the
Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) level and that members on the Minority’s side
in Parliament have always been part of the process right from day one.

Mr. Bomfeh, who is affectionately called “Kabila”, said the commission had an
internal procurement committee on which were two representatives from
Parliament representing each side of the divide – Majority and Minority.

“Information available to me is that Dr Bernard Okoe Boye and Dr Dominic A.
Ayine represent the Majority and Minority respectively. The EC’s budgets as
well as procurement for each year are discussed in-house before sent to the
Special Budget Committee of Parliament,” he said in a statement.

According to him, the Minority can therefore not feign ignorance of the
procurement programme of the commission unless their representative perhaps,
fails to live up to expectation or keeps them in the dark.

“Furthermore, the Special Budget Committee comprises the top echelons of the
House including the leadership of both sides. Are we being told that the Minority
did not know of the EC’s intention to procure a new BVMS when their budget for
2020 was approved? If a different budget was approved for the EC other than the
activities lined up to be undertaken, then why not resort to the application of
the law or Parliament’s oversight power to bring the commission to order?” Mr
Bomfeh queried.

He further referred to comments made by the Minority Leader, Iddrissu, which
indicated that the procurement of a new BVMS was a necessity.

“Parliament
is known as the House of Records. Indeed records are kept of proceedings in the
House to the minutest detail. Opportunities are given for corrections of
previous minutes at the following or subsequent sitting.

“Parliamentary records of December 17, 2018, on budget estimates for 2019 show
in column 5165, paragraphs three, five and six, the following statements from
the Minority Leader, inter alia, the same EC, acquire BVRs, they have not. Yet,
they are not able to use their budget allocation and they are asking for more.
That contradicts our quest to say that give them additional resources. Mr
Speaker, they should replace the data centre, improve their IT infrastructure
and refurbish those equipment and prepare for those major elections.

“Mr Speaker added to it was the matter of the bloated register. We all cry
about numbers and bloated numbers. In South Korea, there is now what we call
image recognition software. If you double register, you could be detected
through an IT instrument.

“The EC should be encouraged to look for such software so that people who
double register would be exposed by the IT software of image recognition. I am
sure it is in other parts of the world.

“The call on the EC to procure an improved system best fit to overcome
challenges of the present BVMS obviously could be read coming from the Minority
Leader quoted extensively above,” Mr. Bomfeh quoted the minority leader.

Mr Bomfeh, who was once the director of elections for his party, advised public
office holders to engage in honest conversations with the citizenry, adding
that Ghana’s democratic journey has come of age with three successful regime
changes at the executive level and seven parliamentary terms.

“We have had the longest surviving constitution since independence, though the most problematic and controversial. The people of Ghana have shown the highest level of tolerance for this democratic dispensation and that must be respected and applauded.

“The EC has put a case across justifying their programme for a new BVMS. It is a solid case thus laid. Let complimentary views be expressed and presented in a respectable fashion. Let all democracy lovers endorse and support the EC for this initiative. Every Ghanaian, once of age, 18 years and above, wherever they may be, must be ready to participate in the process when the registration starts,” he said.

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