Politics

You’re not the first to use biometrics ;re-introduce indelible ink -EC told

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Mr. Apatsea Isaac Kwasi, the Executive Director for Center for Leadership and Democratic Governance(CLDG) has advised the Electoral Commision led by Madam Jean Mensah that technology can fail anytime so she should go back and reintroduce the use of indelible ink in running of all elections in Ghana.

He again said the use of Indelible ink cannot just be taken out of managing elections in Ghana simply because the use of indelible ink has contributed to the string democracy in Ghana. It ensures fairness and transparency in all Electoral processes and further guide against double voting.

Mr. Apatsea is suggesting that the last minute decisions mostly taken by the Jean Mensah led EC are gradually erasing the gains made by her predecessors. He further advised all stakeholders to jealously speak out against this negative development which is likely to plug Ghana democracy backwards.

It must be noted Ghana introduced it first Biometrics on 24th March 2012; by this, the EC commenced a process to compile a new voter roll for the upcoming 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections in Ghana.

However, In a clear departure from the past and following election trends across the world, the EC is using biometric technology to capture the 10 finger prints of each prospective voters.

Meanwhile, the main objective of adopting biometric technology in Electoral roll is to eliminate double registration that can possibly leads to double voting; and improve the accuracy of the voter register.

It is interesting to note that some of the changes introduced by the EC over the years before Jean Mensah became EC chairperson involves instruction of transparent ballot boxes (1996) and tactile balloting system for the blind in 2004. All these are meant to improve the election process and ensure transparency.

It must be stated that the introduction of technology in the voter registrar system may not be able to address some Electoral fraud such as registration of minors and foreigners which is mostly prevalent and predominant in voter registration exercises in Ghana and Africa over the years.

Indeed some African countries using biometrics are Nigeria, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda, etc but they never take away the use of indelible ink from the elections processes.

Further more, the 1992 constitution implore every Ghanaian to exercise civil right by voting in an elections organized by the state. The practice over the years is that, the mark made by the indellible ink serves as an uncontested evidence and a proof that a voter has indeed cast his/her voter and stands no chance to do same in one particular elections. But this new development do not safeguard such occurrence.

Article 42 states:
“Every citizen of Ghana of eighteen years of age or above and of sound mind has the right to vote and is entitled to be registered as a voter for the purposes of public elections and referenda”. Flowing from the above, it can be inferred from the doings of the EC that most unqualified voters may be able to find their names in the electoral register, cast vote twice and minors may have their names on the electoral register if the EC boss maintain it current stands.

Currently, Indelible Ink is use in 11 African countries and among them are; Lesotho, Algeria, Congo Brazzaville, Senegal, Kenya, Angola, Egypt, Liberia, Equatorial Guinea and Egypt.

It must be acknowledged that the above named nations, had their elections with the use of indelible ink not too long; thus between 2017 and early this year.

It must be noted further that even India which is far ahead of Ghana as far as technology is concerned, India still use indelible ink all its Public elections.

Although a large number of well meaning & respected Ghanaians, people in academia and CSOs have honestly added their voice to the call for the EC to soften it stands by reintroduction of indelible ink in the conduct of all elections in Ghana, Ghanaians are yet to receive respond from EC boss.

Meanwhile the use of the indelible ink which was abolished in recent held District level elections raised a lot of suspicious as to whether the voters might not vote or cast ballot twice.

It’s in that spirit and in good faith that I want to passionately appeal to EC boss to avert her mind to the proverb which says that “the voice of the people is the voice of God” and urge her to pay heed to the call for reintroduction of indelible ink in all public elections.

 

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