HEADACHES OF THE GHANAIAN DIASPORA OVER BIOMETRIC VOTING REGISTRATION IN GHANA
The Ghanaian Diaspora was relieved, when the news broke that, at long last, Ghana had decided to embark on a Biometric Voting System for 2012 election process. The Ghanaian Diaspora understands how a credible Biometric Voting System will ensure free, fair and transparent (FFT) voting, and most importantly eliminates the tendency of double-registration. However, they are worried that, if the system cannot ensure these FFTs, then Ghana has again wasted huge amount of money for nothing like the huge amount of money Ghana has always been wasting on the population and housing Census that Ghana has always been conducting every 10 years. Most of these Diaspora that this reporter spoke to, are residing in Germany and Holland and holding passports of these countries. The last straw that is breaking the Carmel's back in the Ghanaian Diaspora headaches is the report that, the Biometric voting registration has NOT been in sequence. That means when a person registers and the person is given the code of 001, the next person is expected to be 002 and so on. This is not happening, but the next person is given a code like 008 or 012, which is questionable.
The headache of the Ghana Diaspora is that, they are afraid and suspect that, the Biometric data that have been collated at the Ghana Kotoka International Airport of Ghanaians during point of entry are going to be used to fill those GAPS that have been left between the codes. When this reporter asked some of the responders of why they are thinking and concluding this way, the same question was thrown back to him, asking, “For what reason have GAPS been left in between the codes. What names OR DATA are going to be used to fill those GAPs and who is going to do that and when”? When the reporter pressed for evidence, one of the responders asked the reporter to call home, Ghana, to find out what is going on at some of the polling stations.
It would be recalled that, Ghanatta Radio (Holland) in collaboration with Asempa FM (Ghana) on one of their Abrokyire Nkomo programs last year, raised the concerns of the Biometric Data Collation at the Ghana's Kotoka International Airport. An operations officer of the Airport in charge of this Biometric Data Collation was called on to the program to answer such pressing concern. The only thing he said was that, the best thing was the tape of the program was collected to be played to the hearing of the Authorities, so that the appropriate answer and remedy could be rendered. To date, as some of the responders said, no one has come out to explain why Ghanaian Diaspora Biometric Data is being collated at the Airport.
Another problem in connection with this Biometric Data Collation at the Airport that these Diaspora are raising is that, how can their data be secured so that these data do not fall into the hands of some unscrupulous people, who may have the tendency of misusing these data. Also, if such data is used mischievously of which they may not have any knowledge, how can they vindicate themselves?
Although, the various Ghanaian Diaspora that spoke to this reporter raised many concerns, another one of them that needs mentioning is, “Ghana or the Electoral Commission has no centralized computer system attached to this Biometric Voting Registration, so how can one be prevented from DOUBLING-REGISTERING”? Even if double-registration is prevented, double voting cannot be guaranteed, because the GAPs that have been left in between the codes will or can result in double-voting, because the total number of the polling station will not tally with the actual number of those who have registered at a station. So the tendency of those who may not have qualified to vote, for example, under-aged and non-Ghanaians, can be allowed in a strange way to vote, which will not render the system free, fair and transparent.
From: Onuapa Francis Owusu Peprah/Radio Akwaaba FM, Germany
Tel: 0049-157 7511 9565