Two civil society groups, the Alliance for Social Equality and Public Accountability (ASEPA) and IMANI Africa, has petitioned Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II to urge the Electoral Commission to overturn its decision to create a new voter register for the 2020 general election.

Representatives from the two groups had a closed-door meeting with the Otumfuo in Kumasi on Monday, 1st June 2020.

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After the meeting, Franklin Cudjoe, President of IMANI Africa, told the media that Asantehene was waiting for an official EC hearing on this issue.

“The Asanteman has decided that they will also listen to the Electoral Commission and then see what suggestions they can offer, which in my opinion are fair,” Cudjoe said.

He also reiterated some of the concerns held by his think tank about the position of the EC.

“The procurement process that caused the purchase of this new equipment (for the new voter register) is full of irregularities.”

Mr. Cudjoe also insisted that there were no serious questions about the integrity of the registry at this time, because “the EC has never assumed that the registry has bloated”.

In the past, IMANI Africa has determined that the EC is trying to get rid of $60 million voter management system from which at least $40 million has been accumulated (plus emergencies) has been spent since 2016 and spendĀ $150 million alone to build a new one.

According to the think tank, a careful analysis of best practices for delivering biometric technology to elections in Africa shows that expenditure plans proposed by the EC have increased by around 60 percent.

“In short, the system proposed by the EC is very expensive compared to other countries in Africa. EC’s claims about the weaknesses of the existing system are untrue and wrong because biometric data can be damaged and facial recognition technology already available through visual inspection,” IMANI argued in a statement.

Tension over the register has prompted the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which accuses the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) of bedding with the EC and the National Identification Authority (NIA) to manipulate the 2020 elections.

However, the EC is expected to start voter registration in June 2020.

The Electoral Commission wants to ensure that registers used on election day are more reliable and efficient than existing ones, therefore a new biometric voter management (BVMS) system is needed.

 

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