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We Will Resist Compiling of "useless"; Voter Register -CSOs Coalition - The Republic
Coalition of Civil Society Orgnistion (CSOs) of good governance has vowed to use all legitimate men’s to stop the Electoral Commission (EC) from going ahead to compile a new voter register for 2020 general elections. According to the Coalition, beside the timely for the new voter register is wrong, the cost involved made it worse as there are more pressing issues in the country that needed the government to intervene with funds. At public forum in Accra on Thursday January 9, the Managing Editor of the Daily Insight Kwesi Pratt, described as “useless” the decision by the Electoral Commission to compile a new voter register in eleven months to elections. The seasoned Journalist claimed the election management body is in a confused state and that if care is not taken, the Jean Mensah led Commission would throw the the nation into chaos if the decision is not stop. Mr Pratt indicated that the appointees of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who are in charge of the electoral body are answerable to Ghanaians and could not go against the will of the people, threatening that they would be removed. “I want to submit here and now, that 10 months is not a sufficient period for compiling of new voter register and if you attempt to do it, it will throw the next elections into total chaos. From the point of view of common sense, we should shelve this useless adventure of compiling a new voter register. They say the EC is an independent body, what does that mean? nothing is more nonsensical than that claim… The EC has partial independence and not absolute independence. “Of course if you know the people who are doing these things, sometimes no sense can sound like sense. These are the same people who go to fake prophets and fake Bishops, who are telling them that magic is the act of the possible, who are telling us that the act of impossible is possible, so they are confused, they are totally confused.” He stated. The EC in it claims contended that the integrity of the 2020 polls could be undermined if a new roll and a new Biometric Voter Management System are not put in place. In a statement, the EC said: “The current kits and solutions are obsolete: They are End-Of-Life (EOL) and can no longer be supported by their Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM). The immediate past vendors of the solution proposed that the Commission replace all the equipment and also upgrade the Data Centre. This was rehashed by the Consultants we engaged to audit our systems. “It is important to emphasise that whether we compile a new voters’ register or not, there is the need to acquire new equipment to replace the obsolete kits acquired in 2011. It is therefore important to delink the procurement of equipment and kits from the registration exercise. ” “We state again that whether or not the EC compiles a new register or conducts a limited registration exercise, we will procure new kits to replace the obsolete ones. Additionally, we will acquire a new data centre with robust state-of-the-art servicers and equipment at the cost of 6 Million Dollars instead of upgrading the existing one at the cost of 15 million United States Dollars as proposed by the previous vendors. “Again, we are replacing the existing software with a new one to enable us own and control our systems unlike the previous situation where the solution was owned, controlled and managed by the vendors. “There is no doubt that the voter register is bloated. The bloat is because we have not developed an effective way of cleaning the register. The bloated register increases the cost of our elections. The Commission always procures election materials based on the number of registered voters. This causes a lot of waste as the number of registered voters exceeds the actual voters. “Considering the above challenges, the Commission has come to the conclusion that it will be cheaper and prudent to acquire new BVRs and BVDs which are robust and user friendly than to upgrade old and obsolete ones. Again, the Commission will go ahead with the preparation of a new biometric voters’ register based on the reasons provided earlier”. But the CSOs Coalition dismissed the claims, contending that the EEC own assessing after the District Assemblies elections purged the success of that election at 99 percent and that the reasons assigned to the idea of compiling a new register fall flat in any iota of defense. Other speakers including Dr Jerry Monfant, an Economic Analyst said, the whole idea of the EC move is to pocket some money and not any compiling of a new register. He said, out of the EC’s budget to compile new voters register, Jean Mensah and EC officials are going to pocket home a total of over Ghc28 million or C280 billion as their per diem. This amount, he said could build an ultra-modern school block for communities where children still sit under trees, and charged Ghanaians to resist what he described as “looting and wasteful ” spending of our taxes. Some of the speakers who addressed the forum were Mr Benard Mornah, National Chairman of PNC, who spoke on behalf of the Inter-Party Resistance against new voter register and Dr Thomas Yeboah, a Lecture at Christ Apostolic University. Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Nyaaba