The Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan has given the strongest indication yet that proxy voting would be allowed during the December polls. He made the assertion during an interaction with senior journalists at the Editors’ Forum. According to Dr. Afari Gyan the EC initially had written off proxy voting because of the biometric voting. He however conceded that after careful consideration they [Electoral Commission] had devised a means to allow for proxy voting.
There’s just 25 days to go before Ghana holds its hotly anticipated presidential and legislative elections, the nation’s sixth round of multi-party elections. The political environment could not be more polarised. Billboards are adorned with party colours of the main contenders and television and radio programmes are not only dominated by political debates, but campaign adverts air every few minutes. Street corners, taxis, bus stations, food stalls, places of work and worship have all become platforms for debate, especially in the midst of the series of IEA presidential debates, aired live on all the major television and radio stations. As a mark of Ghana’s maturing democracy, the 8 year-old daughter of a taxi driver has become an iconic figure in the election period, being dubbed a “peace ambassador” for her probing questions at the recent IEA debate, forcing accountability on the polity.
Lingering fears of political violence haunt Ghana ahead of the General Election on December 7. Out of eight declared presidential candidates, it is looking like a two-horse race between the incumbent John Dramani Mahama of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Nana Addo Akufo-Addo of the main opposition group, the New Patriotic Party (NPP). Attempts by former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings to have her name on the ballot as presidential candidate for the National Democratic Party, a breakaway group from the NDC, fell flat.
The Electoral Commission (EC) on Monday set-out acts and inactions that may constitute electoral offences in Election 2012 and called on the political parties and other democratic stakeholders to respect the laws or face the consequences. The offences include: to make or publish, by written or spoken word or by song, a false statement about the personal character of another candidate or the conduct of a political party; and to excite enmity against a person, group of persons, or political party on grounds of religious, ethnic, professional, regional, or political affiliation. In an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, the EC Chairman, explained that a careful examination of the offences indicated that an election official, a polling agent, a party official, a candidate, a voter, or any member of the general public could commit an election offence.
The December elections may prove to be one of the sternest tests faced by Ghana’s electoral commission. Ghana’s Electoral Commission has proven robust in trying circumstances in the past. But the coming elections this December may test its capabilities like never before. A re-drawing of constituency boundaries has provoked cries of foul play and, although lauded in the past for impartiality, the electoral commission faces difficult challenges.
The chairman of Ghana’s Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) says the ongoing voter registration process will ensure a credible general election December 7. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan called on prospective voters to verify their personal information during a 10 day registration program. “We are exhibiting the provisional voter register [and] after that we will make any corrections that are appropriate, and then print the final voters register,” Afari-Gyan said. “Without the register we can’t take nominations, so I reckon that we take nominations for the elections around the middle of October, and then we will be on.”
Acting on credible information received from a source in ododiodio that an NDC ward executive is using his tailoring shop for illegal Biometric registration, the Young Patriots made contact with the police service and some media houses to catch the culprits in the act adjacent the Barclays Bank at UTC in ododiodio. The culprit Mr Bernard Allotey with his accomplices, were arrested with biometric registration forms, scanning machines and equipments being used for registration. They also had in their possession, over 500 completed forms and biometric ID cards yet to be distributed. However in the regular mysterious fashion in which the Police handle cases related to the ‘no go area’ of Nii Lantey Vandapouye, the Police have since released the culprits who have vanished and are threatening Mr Akwasi Sarpong of Happy FM.
Emmanuel Archibald Laryea, the 47-year-old labourer arrested with 15 biometric voter identity cards, was on Tuesday sentenced to a fine of GHc6,000 or in default would serve a two-year-jail term for engaging in multiple registrations. In addition, the Accra District Magistrate’s Court sentenced Laryea to GHc600 fine or in default would serve nine months imprisonment for causing bodily harm. It said the sentences were to run consecutively to serve as a deterrent to others. The court presided over by Mr Ali Baba Bature ordered that all the biometric voter identity cards should be destroyed in the presence of officials of the Electoral Commission and personnel of the Ghana Police Service. Soon after the court had handed down the sentence, Laryea’s brother produced a card purportedly to show that his brother was a psychiatric patient, but the court did not accept it.
Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC) has disclosed that it has detected 4,000 multiple registrations had so far been detected nationwide. The Commission has allayed fears that the problem occurred in a particular region that could favor a particular political party. The Director, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Department of EC, Gilbert Akomea, said such registrations did not follow any pattern or come from any particular part of the country, but were widespread across the country.
The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has accused the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the Electoral Commission of manipulating the ongoing voter biometric registration in certain parts of Accra to favour the ruling party. The Greater Accra NPP branch is alleging that new registration centres have been created in the region without their knowledge, “contrary to the agreed number of registration centres.”
Tomorrow marks the start of the Biometric registration. The exercise is to replace the existing voters register and by implication nullify previous ID cards. The Electoral Commission says it is adequately prepared to start the biometric registration. The Head of the Public Affairs of the Commission, Christian Owusu Parry told Radio Ghana that, all registration officers have been trained and materials needed for the exercise, have also been dispatched to all districts across the country. Mr. Parry said the commission has met with all political parties to deliberate on major issues ahead of the start of the exercise.
Alhaji Amadu Sule, Director of Research, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Electoral Commission (EC), has said the EC had not yet taken a decision on voting by proxy or transfer of voting. He said the new voters’ registration system had not made any provision for such voting systems. Alhaji Sule explained that both the proxy and transfer voting requires another voter to vote on behalf of the individual and that “with the biometric system, the person who had registered must be present and vote by person, a situation which makes it quite difficult for proxy and transfer voting.”
A total amount of GH¢243,528,305 is needed for the conduct of Ghana’s 2012 general elections, according to the Electoral Commission’s (EC) budget estimate for the exercise. The money is meant for voter’s registration and both the presidential and parliamentary elections in December 2012, said the Commission’s Chairman Dr K. Afari-Gyan at a meeting organised by the Editors Forum, Ghana (EFG) in Accra February 15, 2012.
The heavily criticised director of ‘An African Election’ – a movie on the 2008 elections of Ghana – Jarreth Merz, has revealed that his political neutrality and background did the trick to give him access to the Strong Room of the Electoral Commission of Ghana.
The director of the award-winning movie said he sought permission from the Electoral Commission and mainly the political parties’ representatives in the Strong Room after a gentleman’s agreement was reached that he will not make the video clips public until the elections were over. He stated that one of the major reasons why he was allowed to film all the actions in the Strong Room uncensored was due to the fact that he was seen to be a “neutral” person.
The Electoral Commission (EC) is to acquire biometric voter equipment by February next year to start biometric voter registration in the first quarter of the year, says Christian Owusu Parry, the EC’s Head of Public Affairs.
He said here on Wednesday that a committee was currently working on the technical aspects of the acquisition process, and added that the EC had agreed to introduce biometric registration since it would help check against double registration and eliminate names of fake voters in the Voters’ Register.
The Overlord of Gonjaland, Yagbonwura Tuntumba Sulemana Jakpa Bore Essa I, has called on all political parties to refrain from setting the agenda for the Electoral Commission (EC). “I call on all political parties to dialogue with the Electoral Commission to ensure free and fair polls”, Yagbonwura said.
He said the “EC has the constitutional mandate to conduct elections in Ghana” adding therefore no interest groups should try to teach it how to do its job. “I urge all well meaning citizens of this country to resist any person or group of persons who would want to create chaos and make the country ungovernable”, he said.
Ghana: NPP Zongo Youth Club Dares President…claims EC Can’t Determine Outcome of Elections | allAfrica.com
Kumasi — The national Zongo Youth Club of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has started that the outcome of every election is determined by the discerning electorate and not the Electoral Commission (EC) and its commissioners. “It is only the people of Ghana who has the legitimate right to determine the outcome of the 2012 elections by registering their vote to give the mandate to the candidate of their choice”, the group said at a press conference in Kumasi.
In an apparent response to the President’s comment that it is the referee (EC) that determines the out come of elections following claims by NPP flagbearer that the 2012 election is a win at all cost for the NPP, Mr. Tanko Ali Yahaya, the Secretary said on behalf of the group that the President’s position was not tenable.
Government and the Electoral Commission have finally yielded to both domestic and international pressure and agreed to compliment the biometric voter registration with biometric voter verification at the polling station in order to enhance the integrity of the 2012 elections. However, investigations undertaken by The New Statesman suggest that the ruling party, which has still not come to terms with biometric verification, is shifting the responsibility of funding the process to Ghana’s ‘development partners’.
Biometric verification is the process whereby a registered voter would be required to insert his or her biometric voter’s ID into a battery-operated e-zwich mobile payment system-like machine, place a finger on it for the machine to verify the card-bearer’s true identity before a ballot paper could be issued to a voter to cast his or her ballot.
The flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stated that the fifty million cedis needed by the Electoral Commission for the verification system of the Biometric Voter’s register should not be an excuse by the EC not to implement the system.
According to Nana Addo, adding a verification system to the biometric voting process would help check cases of double voting, impersonation and several other electoral malpractices that crop up during elections. Speaking to Citi News from Germany where he is attending the “Africa Conference 2011”, as the Keynote Speaker was speaking on the theme: “Africa’s Role Model? Democracy and Elections in Ghana”.
STL/HSB/Genkey company Limited, an information technology firm, has been awarded the contract for the procurement of Biometric Voters Registration (BVR) system for the 2012 general election. It was selected by the Electoral Commission (EC) from a list of 47 companies that responded to the proposals for the expression of interest advertised in the media. Seven out of the 47 were initially shortlisted.
A document titled “Chronology of Biometric Voter Registration Procurement Process”, which contains the road map for the procurement of the BVR, prepared by the EC and distributed to political parties, stated the contract was awarded on October 4, 2011. It said on May 23, 2011, the EC’s procurement department invited pre-qualified vendors to bid for the contrac
Ghana: Electoral Commission says biometric register for 2012 election is coming on | Ghana Business News
The Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, has stated that the commission is vigorously going on with its processes of ensuring that it secures a biometric registration system for the 2012 general election. He said, with the court clearance for the commission to undertake its legitimate business, there was no let or hindrance on its part and that it was “continuing with the processes”.
However, the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the People”s National Convention (PNC) have raised red flags cautioning the EC that the path it was taking would compound the existing problems of double registration and voting and that as major stakeholders they believed the commission must tread cautiously and heed the caution.
The Commercial Court, a Division of Fast Track High Court, on Tuesday dismissed an injunction filed by Intelligence Card Production Systems (ICPS) restraining the Electoral Commission (EC) from awarding the contract on the biometric registration.The ICPS is one of the disqualified bidders for the biometric registration.
The court, presided over by Mrs Justice Barbara Ackah-Ayensu, also awarded GHc 5,000 cost against Counsel for the complainant, Mr E.D.K. Latsa for abusing the court process. The ICPS in its application prayed the court to restrain the EC from awarding contract on the biometric registration pending an appeal at the Appeal Court.
Mrs Justice Ackah-Ayensu, in her ruling, said granting the application or reliefs sought by the plaintiff would mean the court was undermining its earlier ruling in which the same complainant brought a similar complaint that was dismissed by the court. She said the current application by the plaintiff constituted an abuse of the court process and was without any merit.
After persistent calls for Biometric voting by a section of Ghanaians, the Electoral Commission finally announced that it is going to employ a Biometric Register for the 2012 General Elections. Ama Achiaa A. Baafi, our staff writer, examines the process, bringing to light matters which should engage the attention of all stakeholders.
Many a sound voter registration process is said to be crucial to any credible and successful election. Yet, voter registration is also often the most expensive part of conducting elections.
Election experts have said that there is no best way to conduct elections, and for that matter, voter registration. They argue that what works in one country does not necessarily work in another and that each country has its own political and socioeconomic contexts, its own resource limitations and its own needs to take into consideration when designing a voter registration system.
The Centre for Open ICT Policy Analysis has noted, with grave a concern, similarities between Ghana’s impending e-voting system and that of the Uganda. The Ugandan project, also known as the voter registration database implementation system, was a failure as shown in their 2001 and 2006 elections. The District Electoral Commission (EC) of Uganda had been smoothly organising the country’s elections until in 2000 when they initiated a programme to rid the voters’ register of names of imposters, double voters, and dead voters by photographing all qualified voters. This programme was also meant to create an election database to be used to verify the 2001 elections. Therefore the government of Uganda invested $22 million on equipment, consultancy services and operations.
However, things went wrong at the early stages of the project, particularly during the bidding and delivery of equipment. This led to a strong public outcry about the transparency of the process. The public outcry came from stakeholders such as civil societies groups and the opposition political parties. Ugandan EC ignored these criticisms. And a s result a number of court cases between government and opposition groups, on one hand, and Ugandan EC and some companies, on the other hand (as it has already started in Ghana) were filed.
Two residents of Nungua near Accra have sued the Electoral Commission (EC) and Attorney-General (A-G) at the Supreme Court seeking an order to compel the EC to review the 230 constituencies.
They want the EC to alter the constituencies, following the publication of the enumeration figures after the 2010 Population Census and in accordance with the egalitarian principle of fair representation embodied in the 1992 Constitution, especially Article 47(3) and (4) of the 1992 Constitution which emphasise more on population distribution. The plaintiffs are further seeking any or further reliefs as the court may deem fit.
Ghana is almost certainly gearing towards a revision of our voters’ registration and the Electoral Commission has been mandated and resourced to introduce biometric registration in the last quarter of the year. The fact that our current voters’ register has outlived its usefulness is well known and agreed upon by many political analysts. The fact also that the government has allocated GHS50 million to the Electoral Commission to implement biometric registration is equally known.
What is however uncertain is the kind of biometric technology the Electoral Commission is going to deploy and whether the biometric register that will be created will be able to stop multiple voting. Biometric verification is any means by which a person can be uniquely identified by the evaluation of a biological trait such as fingerprints, hand geometry, earlobe geometry, retina and iris patterns, voice waves, DNA or signatures.
Ghana: Electoral Commission to start biometric registration before end of year in Ghana, but no electronic voting in 2012 | Afari-Gyan
Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), on Wednesday announced that the commission would commence biometric voter registration before the end of this year. He, however, dismissed speculations that the EC would use the electronic voting process for Election 2012.
Dr Afari-Gyan was speaking on the third day of a public lecture, organized by the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences with support from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, in Accra.
The three-day forum, which started on June 27 to 29, 2011, is on the theme: “Elections and the Democratic Challenges in Africa”.
Surveys from the Afro barometer indicates that 73 per cent of Ghanaians now prefer elections to any other method of selecting their rulers. Even though the study indicated that the two leading political parties in Ghana, the National Democratic Congress and the New Patriotic Party, enjoy specific social support base, this has not led to competing economic policies for the people.
Dr. Kwesi Jonah, Head of the Political Science Department, University of Ghana, made the assertions during a public forum, organized by the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences with support from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, in Accra. The three-day event scheduled for 27 to 29 June, 2011, is on the theme: “Elections and the Democratic Challenges in Africa.”
A writ of summons at the Ashaiman Circuit Court has directed the Electoral Commission (EC) in the Ashaiman Municipality and the Ashaiman Constituency Chairman of the National Democratic Party (NDC) to produce the Naa Amui Electoral Area ballot box and the entire ballot papers of the recently ended district level elections for recounting.
The writ filled by a candidate for Naa Amui Electoral Area, Mr Nicodemus Fumey and five polling agents and his supporters, dated January 19, 2011 was to compel the Ashaiman Municipal Electoral Commission and the Constituency Chairman of the NDC to make appearance in eight days or judgement would be given in their absence.
In April this year, Ghanaians from all walks of life applauded the decision by the Electoral Commission of Ghana to employ the use of a Biometric Voters register for the 2012 general elections. Government also pledged its support and commitment, that same month through Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Communications, to the Electoral Commission, stating that the exercise could cost over $80 million.
The Minister stated, “Though the cost might be a little high, it is not more than the cost of disputed elections, and addresses the issue of multiple voting to make our elections more credible”