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18.06.2020 Politics

Haruna Iddrisu’s Claims Unfortunate – EC

Haruna Iddrisu’s Claims Unfortunate – EC
LISTEN JUN 18, 2020

The Electoral Commission has counter-reacted some statements made by Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu following the meeting officials of the Commission had with Parliament’s Special Budget Committee.

The EC in a statement said the claims by Haruna Iddrisu were “unfortunate” as it was a misrepresentation of the Commission’s actual position during the meeting.

Haruna Iddrisu on Tuesday told journalists that the Chairperson of the Commission, Jean Mensa, told the committee that the EC intends to phase the registration exercise in some 6,300 registration centres.

The Tamale South legislator also said he found it worrying that Jean Mensa said, the EC did not intend to use the data gathered by the National Identification Authority (NIA) from the Ghana Card registration for the upcoming new voter registration exercise.

But the EC in its statement said based on the C.I. passed by Parliament, the NIA’s data has not been anything to consider for the planned voter registration exercise.

The EC however said the C.I. only allowed for the NIA’s Ghana Card to be used as a proof of citizenship as part of the voters’ ID card registration.

“For the record, nowhere has the Commission stated that it intends to use the biometric data in NIA's database. Indeed, the recently passed CI to guide the registration of voters, CI 126, does not include provisions to allow for the use of the biometric data of the NIA. What the CI states and which is what the Commission is seeking to do is to rely on the physical NIA card to prove a person's citizenship as a precondition for registration. Indeed, had the Minority Leader read the CI 126, it would have been obvious to him that the Commission was not seeking to synchronize its data with that of the NIA,” the EC noted.

Concerning the claim that the EC intended to phase the voter registration exercise in some registration, the EC rejected the claim, saying that it never made such a statement at the meeting.

The Commission said it rather made the case for the exercise to be done in five different phases.

“What the EC said was that the 2020 registration would be in phases under a cluster system. This means that the 33,367 registration centres will be divided into five. Each cluster would consist of 6,780 registration centres. Each cluster would be made up of 5 registration centres numbered 1-5. During the first phase, all the registration centres numbered 1 nationwide will register applicants for 6 days.”

It indicated that the phase system will go on until all the phases are covered. “Thereafter, there will be a nationwide mop up exercise,” the EC further explained.

The Electoral Commission has recently come under serious scrutiny, especially from some opposition parties over its decision to compile a new voters' register.

The EC has since been dragged to court by the largest opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) particularly for excluding the use of the current voters' ID from the list of proofs of identification.

Below is the rejoinder from the EC:

EC RESPONDS TO MINORITY LEADER'S CLAIMS

Our attention has been drawn to a comment made by the Minority Leader of Parliament following a meeting between the Electoral Commission and the Special Budget Committee of Parliament of which he is a member. In the said interview, the Minority Leader sought to suggest that the EC didn't understand data synchronization because the Commission had indicated during the meeting that it was not going to rely on the biometric data of citizens captured by the NIA.

For the record, nowhere has the Commission stated that it intends to use the biometric data in NIA's data base. Indeed, the recently passed CI to guide the registration of voters, CI 126, does not include provisions to allow for the use of the biometric data of the NIA. What the CI states and which is what the Commission is seeking to do is to rely on the physical NIA card to prove a person's citizenship as a precondition for registration. Indeed, had the Minority Leader read the CI 126, it would have been obvious to him that the Commission was not seeking to synchronize its data with that of the NIA.

For the record, merely presenting one's card to prove one's citizenship does not require a direct relationship or collusion with the NIA as the Minority has sought to portray. It is interesting that the same Minority which accused the EC of being in bed with the NIA to rig the election, would today turn around and propose data synchronization which would require the EC to work directly with the NIA and rely extensively on its biometric data in its data base.

Again, the Minority leader is on record to have stated that, the EC indicated at the meeting that it was going to phase out and reduce the polling stations by 6,780. For the records, the EC never made such a statement. What the EC said was that the 2020 registration would be in phases under a cluster system. This means that the 33,367 registration centres will be divided into five. Each cluster would consist of 6,780 registration centres. Each cluster would be made up of 5 registration centres numbered 1-5. During the first phase, all the registration centres numbered 1 nationwide will register applicants for 6 days.

During the second phase all registration centres numbered 2, will register applicants for 6 days. This will go on until all the phases are covered. Thereafter, there will be a nationwide mop-up exercise. At no point during the discussion did the EC state that it was phasing out or reducing the polling stations by 6,780. Indeed, the fact that our explanation of the cluster system and methodology for registration never raised an eyebrow during our discussions indicates clearly that the EC never made this statement.

We have no doubt that members of the Committee would have been in a state of uproar if indeed the EC had made such an assertion. It is difficult to imagine that Members of Parliament will gloss over this decision and not seek clarification from the Commission on a critical subject such as this. Phasing out and reducing the polling stations by 6,780 is not an issue to be taken lightly by anyone let alone our Members of Parliament.

From the civil and comprehensive discussions that took place at the meeting, the claims by the Minority Leader are unfortunate. The Commission wishes to thank the members of the Special Budget Committee of Parliament for their continued support and constructive feedback.

MRS. SYLVIA ANNOH

Ag. DIRECTOR, PUBLIC AFFAIRS

---citinewsroom

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