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15.12.2019 General News

Postpone District Assembly elections over new biometric register – Group to EC

By CitiNewsRoom
Postpone District Assembly elections over new biometric register – Group to EC
LISTEN DEC 15, 2019

The Chamber for Local Governance (ChaLoG), wants the Electoral Commission (EC) to postpone the upcoming December 17, District Assembly elections over its plans to compile a new biometric voters' register ahead of the 2020 general elections.

According to the group, if the current register is not fit for use in the general elections then it cannot also be considered in the district assembly elections either.

In a statement, ChaLoG argued that both the district assembly elections and the general elections are of equal importance and as such much be organized with one accepted register.

“ChaLoG finds the reasons and arguments being put up by the EC to compile a new Biometric Voters Register ahead of the 2020 general elections to be very highly untenable in view of the fact that, it is this same 'defective and non-credible' Biometric Voters Register that has been used to conduct all the aforementioned successful elections in this country.”

“ChaLoG wishes to call on the EC to as a matter of urgency to postpone the upcoming District Assembly Elections, if it feels so strongly that the current Biometric Voters Register is very highly defective and therefore not credible to be used to conduct the 2020 General Elections which is nearly a year away.”

A few days ago, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the People's National Congress (PNC) together with the United Front Party, the Eagle Party, and the All People's Congress walked out of a meeting with the Electoral Commission.

According to the NDC, the EC deceived them into the meeting only for them to realize that they were there to witness the demonstration of software for a new biometric register, which they are opposed to.

The parties were asked to bring experts to discuss the procurement for the new register at another emergency meeting. ChaLoG urges rejection of new biometric register

ChaLoG also called on all progressive forces and indeed all Ghanaians to rise up and fiercely resist and reject the avowed aim of the EC to compile a new Biometric Voters Register if it goes ahead to conduct the upcoming District Level Elections using the current register.

“This is simply because, if the current 'defective and non-credible' Biometric Voters Register can be successfully used to conduct the upcoming District Level Elections (which is also national in character), then the same Biometric Voters Register could also still be used to conduct the 2020 General Elections as well, without having to burden eligible voters from going to queue again to have their names captured in the proposed new Biometric Voters Register.”

Portions of the statement also read:
“ChaLoG finally calls on all Ghanaians to rise up and say a BIG NO to the compilation of a new Biometric Voters Register for the 2020 General Elections, if the current Biometric Voters Register is successfully used to conduct the upcoming District Level Elections on December 17, 2019.”
EC's new biometric register needless – Yaw Oppong

A private legal practitioner, Yaw Oppong has described as needless , the plans by the EC to procure a new biometric register.

Mr. Oppong believes the EC should channel its energy towards getting a credible system of verifying prospective voters rather than procuring a new biometric register.

“We should concentrate on getting one system of verification. Once we do that we will reduce this procurement. We need to ensure that we complete the registration process and avoid all these. I think it is so needless.” NDC disagrees with a new register 

The NDC  has on countless times disagreed with the introduction of the new biometric system.

It is for this reason that its officers walked out of the meeting with the Electoral Commission last Tuesday.

Explaining why they left the meeting, the Director of Elections for the NDC, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah claimed that the parties had not discussed the issue exhaustively enough and had made the concerns known in previous IPAC meetings.

He recalled an invitation for an emergency IPAC meeting on November 25 where the issue of a new register came up though it was not on the meeting agenda.

The parties were asked to bring experts to discuss the procurement for the new register at another emergency meeting on December 2.

The NDC again raised concerns with it but still participated in the discussion, Mr. Afriyie Ankrah narrated.

“Our IT people together with other political parties raised counterfactuals and proved to them that there was no need for a new biometric register and we stated cogent reasons.”

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