New Biometric Register for 2020 Is a Regressive Agenda – CSO


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A Civil Society Organisation, CSO called   Care for Free and Fair Elections Ghana (Care Ghana) has joined the numerous discerning Ghanaians to argue that the plans by the Electoral Commission to change the credible voter register was a regressive agenda.

In a statement issued in Accra, Care Ghana indicated that the EC’s intention for calling for new voter register going into 2020 General Elections  was ambiguous and a venture that must not be allowed.

The CSO posed that what was wrong with the current register since it was important to note that the Electoral Register of Ghana is a biometric one which the EC administration is seeking to scrap for entirely new register?

David Kumi Addo, Secretary, Care Ghana posited that the snippets of explanation EC Boss, Jean Adukwei  Mensah gave that “the current Electoral Register is over stretched; it has high failure rate; it has false non-match Rate; no technology transfer and increasing cost of maintenance and system upgrades” were all false.

“How does an electoral register which is Information Technology and Biometric based be over stretched?”, Care Ghana quizzed, adding that the register compiled in 2011 and used for the following elections – the 2012 General Elections, 2015 Local Assembly Elections, 2016 General Elections, 27th December 2018 Referendum and the just ended December 17, 2019 Local Assembly Elections has perfectly served its purpose.

In addition, Mr. Kumi Addo, Care Ghana pointed out that “the questions raised by both Local and International Observers about the aforementioned elections has never been about the credibility of the Electoral Register, rather the conduct of the officers of the EC and the partakers of the said elections.

He further argued that the Electoral Commission formed Prof. V.C. R. A. C. Crabbe committee to consider the need new biometric register or not but the Committee insisted there was no need for any new biometric voter register.

He said “the Committee in its findings concluded that the argument for a new voter register was unconvincing, adding that it would not recommend the replacement of the current voter list”.

“……what new arguments are there for the proposal to put together a new voter list? Again, what time table is there within a year to a major elections for the experiment of a new voter list”, the statement posed.

“It is our view that a new voter list when put together in an election year will not be test run enough to pass the credibility test for use at 2020 General Elections”, Care Ghana asserted.

“…..we are of the view that based on the documentary evidence particularly of EC officials during the 27th December 27, 2018 Referendum where the officials of EC were allegedly caught on camera elegantly stuffing ballot boxes, the focus of the EC should be the training and retraining of its officials with respect to conduct of the very important 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary elections”, Care Ghana charged.

Kumi Addo, Secretary, Care Ghana further indicated they were informed that a biometrically based information system is capable of lending itself to add-ons, and that, the current Electoral Register of Ghana is amenable to the addition of new biometric data of electorates.

To this effect, ‘Care for Free and Fair Elections Ghana’ believes the reasons given by the EC do not warrant the compilation of entirely new voter register.

The CSO further pointed out to EC Boss, Jean Adukwei Mensah and her management that the important notable defect of elections conducted in recent times has been the malfunction of voter verification kits of the Commission.

“….It is crucial to let the public know that the voter verification kits are distinct from the Electoral Register and we are again of the view that the focal point and the energy of the EC Commissioners should be directed at getting working kits for verification of voters capable of working under even the harsh weather conditions, for 2020 elections”, Mr. Kumi Addo lamented.

Care for Free and Fair Elections Ghana therefore called on Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensah and her supporting commissioners to as a matter of urgency abort this regressive agenda and look at more progressive reform that will foster national cohesion.

By: Delali A. Awuyeh