Tema, Feb. 24, GNA –
The Ghana Federation of Labour (GFL) has asked the Electoral Commission to
transfer existing data of voters onto the biometric devices to be acquired for
the 2020 election.
stressing Ghanaians with unending reregistration, the EC should think of more
ingenious ways of addressing the voter register challenge,” it said.
According to the
GFL, it was unfair for the EC to demand that Ghanaians must go and queue to
register again for the compilation of a new register when their biometric data
on the current register did not have an expiration date.
This came up at the
weekend during an executive board
meeting of GFL which was also used as a sensitization platform on the
compilation of a new register.
The discussion was
on the theme:“Controversy over the timing and re-registration of voters –
Imminent Civil Disobedience”.
Members agreed that
the timing for the intended compilation was not the best looking at the few
months left for the election.
Mr Abraham Koomson,
Secretary General of the GFL, indicated that they were worried at the possible
outcome of the lack of consensus between the EC and some major political
parties which were stakeholders adding that their entrenched positions was a
recipe for chaos in the country.
Mr Koomson said from
experience, they knew that a chaotic system would affect unions and workers as
a whole as innocent people could be targeted and eliminated therefore advising
the EC not to lead the country into chaos because of its quest to compile a new
Mr Mensah Thompson,
Executive Director, Alliance for Social
Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) and Convenor for the Coalition of
Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) for Good Governance, took members through
the history of Ghana’s voters’ register, the challenges the EC presented on the
current register as well as the Commission’s aim of compiling a new register.
Mr Thompson, who is
an observer member of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC), called on the
EC to adopt a consultative approach instead of the dismissive way it was
handling the concerns of stakeholders who had issues with the new compilation.
He advocated for the
use of the current register as according to him, the EC in its report on the
district level elections indicated that the current biometric verification
device had a 94 per cent success rate adding that a new register could be
compiled after the national census and the National Identification Authority’s
(NIA) registration which could be used as a guide.
He added that from
the reasons given by the EC for the need for a new register which centred on the
crushing of their centre, ghost and foreigners names, and obsolete machines, it
was obvious that they had no problem with the existing data of voters.
“Data do not expire
therefore the data collected could be transferred onto which ever new machines
they want to acquire instead of asking Ghanaians to go and register again”.
Mr Thompson noted
that it was not feasible to compile a new register and pilot it within 10
months to the elections, adding that if the EC insisted going according to its
plans, it meant parliamentary candidates and presidential candidates would be
eligible to file their nomination after November 8, 2020 which would be less
than one month to the December 7 general elections.
He explained that in
accordance with the provisions of the 1992 constitution, a candidate must be a
registered voter in the constituency he or she wanted to contest in making it
impractical for candidates to pick and file their nomination forms before the
November 8 date the EC said the register would be ready.
He also raised the
issue of meeting the 42 days before election needed for the application for
special voting as contained in the election Legislative Instrument (LI) adding
that the EC was yet to sign the contract with Thales Digital Identifying Solution,
the company that won the bid to bring into the country the machines.
He expressed worry
that even though the EC had a plan to begin the compilation of the new register
by April 18th, a date he doubted could be realized as according to him, Thales
said it would take about 84 days to ship the machines into the country as it
could explode on a transport aeroplane since its batteries were made from
Mr Thompson also
asked the EC to consider the implications of the corona virus on the manufacturing
of the machines to the specification of Ghana since most manufacturing
companies were under producing in China where the machines would be purchased