President of Policy think tank IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe is convinced the posture and utterances of the Electoral Commission (EC) as regards this year’s electoral process are indications that the body is under a spell.
“The more one listens to the EC commissioners on this horribly managed electoral process, it becomes obvious immediately, that they have been possessed by some higher spirits and beings. They are beyond exorcism,” Franklin Cudjoe tweeted, Friday.
The IMANI boss has on countless occasions kicked against the decision to compile a new electoral roll.
Few days ago, he made a submission on local media that the EC is being ‘belligerent’ in new voters’ register brouhaha.
“In this instance, we are seeing some level of belligerence on the part of the EC. Unfortunately, I have to say that. The EC has never made the argument that the register is bloated. When this issue began, all they kept saying is that they want to ensure that the biometric machines are able to verify every voter who is eligible to vote. As COVID is with us and indeed as COVID will be with us for some time, maybe it is prudent and it is one of the arguments we have made for some time that it is best for the EC to conduct a limited voter registration using the same verification machines or a few that will be purchased in addition to the already existing ones so that you cure the challenge of having mass registrations and all of that.”
He continued: “The EC has never made claims that the register is faulty, in fact, they have never said that the register is bloated. All they are saying is that come what may, rain or shine they are going to change the register because in one of the leading arguments made by the deputy commissioner, Dr Bossman Asare, he suggested that the 0.45% error margin was too much to take but that was impressive. If you look at the fact that successively since 2012 when we began using the biometric verification machines the error margin has reduced from 30% in 2012 to almost 5% in 2016 and then from there to 0.45% in 2019 when we held the district elections, it means that the systems have been delivering over time. So consistent improvement in machines means that you are actually perfecting the use.”
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Some civil society organisations as well as some opposition parties have argued that the current register is good enough to be used for the 2020 polls.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) for instance, has made known its resolve to kick against the decision as it posits that the time allocated for the EC to compile a new register for the 2020 elections has elapsed. The party has also made a case that it could put the country in jeopardy considering how public gathering could increase the spread of Coronavirus.
The EC however has insisted that plans are far advanced for the successful take-off of the registration process, stressing it is critical for a free, fair and transparent election. According to the EC, the current voters’ register and its management system and biometric verification devices cannot deliver a credible election.
On Wednesday, May 27, the EC provided updates on its plans at an Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting. The NDC did not turn up for the engagement citing ‘wrong time’ as the basis.
The party has argued that the time for the said meeting, according to a letter it received from the EC was 10pm, only for the engagement to be held in the morning.
“You [EC] write a first letter, get the date wrong, write a second letter seeking to replace the first letter and you got the time wrong and other political parties get the accurate one. What kind of tricks are they playing? Don’t we deserve better; don’t we deserve to be treated with respect as a people and as a political party in this country?” National Communications Officer, Sammy Gyamfi fumed on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme.
Deputy Electoral Commission Chair, Dr. Bossman Asare reacting to the concerns said the EC changed the time and notified the political parties accordingly through their emails.
“We all know that meetings are not held at 10 pm; it was a mistake and our email trail shows that the corrected letters went to two NDC executives. My interpretation is that they are just using it as an excuse,” he said on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo.