The Chamber for Local Governance (ChaLoG) says it is of the firm conviction that the reasons so far advanced by the Electoral Commission (EC) to procure a new IT system and compile a new Biometric Voters Register (BVR) are simply unjustifiable and untenable.
It said the continual insistence of the EC to go ahead to compile a new BVR in spite of the overwhelming evidence of the effective functionality of the Biometric Verification Devices (BVDs) for the 2012 general election, 2015 District Level Election (DLE), 2018 referendum and 2019 DLE “is only an attempt to create a problem which simply does not exist by the EC to create fertile grounds to go ahead to needlessly and intentionally wantonly dissipate a whopping GH¢444 million of the taxpayers’ money just for the sake of it”.
“ChaLoG has, therefore, taken the necessary steps to invoke the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to either annul the 2019 DLE or place an injunction on the EC not to go ahead of the compilation of a new BVR. This decision has been occasioned by the pronouncement of the EC by serving notice of compiling the new BVR for the 2020 general election less than two weeks heading to the 2019 DLE,” a statement signed by four leading members of the association said.
The members are Dr Richard Fiadomor, President; Mr Romeo Elikplim Akahoho, Executive Secretary; Alhaji Ibrahim F. Faila, Public Relations Officer, and Ing. Joshua Quist, Director of Research.
In the honest view of ChaLoG, DLEs were as equally important as the 2020 general election and the EC could not purport to use a ‘defective’ BVR and BVDs to conduct the DLE which was conducted in the 28,921 polling stations, same as would be used in the upcoming general election on December 7.
It said it had taken note of a press conference organised by the EC on December 31, 2019 justifying the need to compile a new BVR for the 2020 general election, and it was completely at a loss why the EC would make such a call exactly two weeks after the successful conduct of the December 17, 2019 DLE.
“Ghanaians would recall that 10 days prior to the conduct of the DLE, the EC met the representatives of political parties at an IPAC meeting and indicated to them that most of their BVDs were defective and not functioning well, hence there was the need to have those BVDs replaced ahead of the 2020 general election. The EC further indicated to the political parties that its IT system had become outmoded and hence not compatible with the BVDs, which would necessitate a compilation of a new BVR because the current one was defective and not credible.
“On the basis of the aforementioned reasons, ChaLoG officially called on the EC to as a matter of urgency postpone the 17th December DLE. The EC, in a sharp response through a press conference, once again made it abundantly clear to all Ghanaians that the current Biometric Voters Register was very credible, just that it was over-stretched; that notwithstanding, the commission had taken all the necessary measures to ensure that all the BVDs and BVRs worked successfully without any let or hindrance,” ChaLoG said.
It said just after the DLE, the EC came out publicly to tout its successful conduct of the election with respect to the planning, preparation and execution.
“The same EC indicated to Ghanaians it spent $2 million to prepare the BVDs to conduct the DLE in all 28,921 polling stations (but for three electoral areas) across the country and all the BVDs functioned effectively and none of the BVDs malfunctioned on the election day, a position amply corroborated by the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers.