Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Biometric voters register key mechanism against multiple voting

Seven political parties through the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) on Tuesday identified biometric system of voter's registration as a key mechanism against multiple voting and impersonation in Ghana's electoral system.

The IPAC therefore, charged the Electoral Commission (EC) to initiate systematic procedures to use the biometric mechanism for capturing data in preparation of the next voters register. "This is very necessary to deal authoritatively with practices of multiple voting and impersonation that tend to undermine public confidence in declared election results," the seven parties stated in a communiqu=E9 issued at the end of a three-day self-assessment forum at Akosombo.

The self-assessment forum was organised by the EC in collaboration with KAB Governance Consult and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) under the "Safeguarding the Integrity of the Ballot Project".

The parties are the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), New Patriotic Party (NPP), Convention Peoples' Party, Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), and Reformed Patriotic Democrats (RPD) stated at the fourth in a series of post election self-assessment consultative forum. Other parties that participated are; Ghana National Party (GNP), Peoples National Convention (PNC), and the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP).

The parties also called on the government to provide the necessary resources on a regular basis for the EC to discharge its responsibilities. The parties also recommended a total replacement of the current voters' register, and tasked EC to streamline the procedures for compilation of the Transfer, Proxy and Special Voting list and increase the number of polling stations as well as review the number of voters per polling station.

In an interview with Ghana News Agency, however, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, EC Chairman welcomed the idea of biometric system but cautioned that the nation should hasten cautiously. The EC Chairman outlined modalities for a completely new voter's register for the 2012 general elections, including adoption of modern technologies and biometric registration to deal with the electoral hiccups.

Dr. Afari-Gyan indicated that however that it could be possible for the nation to phase into the biometric registration system after the national census in 2010.

IPAC also agreed to play by the roles governing political parties operations in the country, to ensure free, fair and transparent elections in the future to reduce tension such as the nation experienced during Elections 2008.

The political parties and other democratic stakeholders at the forum also commended the media for their role in Elections 2008 but tasked the National Media Commission and Ghana Journalists Association to watch against negative reportage which created confusion.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ghana Election: Parties want new register

Issues concerning security and the need for a new voters register dominated a three-day Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting which opened at Akosombo in the Eastern Region yesterday.

The meeting involves the Electoral Commission (EC) and all the political parties in the country and although the opening ceremony was held in camera, some of the participants the Daily Graphic spoke to expressed various views on the last general election.

Mr Huudu Yahaya, one of the representatives of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), suggested that since the EC had admitted that the register for the 2008 elections had been bloated and the figures were more than what was statistically acceptable, it must be replaced with a new one.

That, he said, would make future elections more credible.

He also said the NDC was of the view that during general elections, representatives of political parties must be strategically placed at polling stations to observe the process, especially the counting of votes.

He also suggested that the EC must furnish the political parties on the movement of electoral materials to the voting centres.

Nana Ohene-Ntow of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) suggested the setting up of an IPAC security task force to complement the work of the state security apparatus to monitor future general elections, adding that such an initiative would not make it possible for macho men engaged by political parties to intimidate voters at the polling stations on voting day.
He also said the counting of votes must be done at selected centres, instead of at the polling stations, to make it impossible for people to interrupt the counting process.

For his part, Mr Bernard Monarh of the People's National Convention (PNC) suggested that voting in future elections must start from 6 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. to make it possible for the counting of the votes to be done before nightfall.

That, he stated, would prevent the snatching of ballot boxes which normally occurred in the night.

The Democratic People's Party's (DPP's) Mr Thomas Ward-Brew called for a constitutional review to make it mandatory for the state to sponsor political parties, while Mr Ivor Greenstreet of the Convention People's Party (CPP) proposed the streamlining of the process for the replacement of lost voter identity cards.

The political parties being represented are the ruling NDC, the NPP, the CPP, the PNC, the Great Consolidated People's Party (GCPP), the National Reform Party (N'RP), the New Vision Party (NVP), the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), the DPP and the Reform Patriotic Democrats (RPD).

The event, on the theme, "Safeguarding the Integrity of the Ballot", is to review the 2008 elections with the view to ensuring the integrity of future general elections so that their results will be acceptable to all participating parties.

It is being organised by the EC, in collaboration with the CAB Governance Consult, with funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

The NDC is being represented by Messrs Yahaya and Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, the party's National Vice-Chairman and the National Organiser, respectively, while Nana Ohene-Ntow, the General Secretary of the NPP, is leading his party's team, with the CPP being represented by Mr Greenstreet, the party's General Secretary.

The PNC is led by Mr Monarh, its General Secretary, with the DPP being represented by its leader and founder, Mr Ward-Brew.

All the other political parties are being represented by some of their national executives.

Source: Daily Graphic