Biometric register controversy: EC pursuing NPP’s agenda ahead of 2020 – Peter Otukonor

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Deputy General Secretary of the  National Democratic Congress (NDC), Peter Boamah Otokunor, has accused the Electoral Commission of conniving with the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) to procure devices for a new voters’ register without the consent of other political parties, ABC News can report.

A meeting organised by the EC on Tuesday, ended in confusion as the NDC and three other political parties, including the United Front Party (UFP) staged a walkout in the meeting.

According to them, the EC disrespected them by not informing the parties that the meeting was to demonstrate a software for a new biometric register.

Peter Otukonor, who spoke to journalists after the walkout, stated that their decision to abandon the meeting was because the EC was embarking on an illegality by starting a procurement process without recourse to IPAC members.

In his view, the EC seems to be in a rush to procure the new system because they are pursuing the agenda of the NPP, who appears to be the only party supporting the move.

“Our decision is that we are not going to be part of any illegal process of procuring a system when we have not agreed and we do not know what the system is, what we have done in the past is that political parties will come together with their technical people and agree and accept the technical specifications that we think are good for our election then that will put out the expression of interest but none of that has been done, we do not have specifications, we do not know what they are presenting to us, yet you’re going ahead to procure.  Is it because you have any other interest behind the procurement or because you want to pursue a particular political party’s agenda?,” he asked.

“What we have seen is that throughout these discussions it is only the NPP that have agreed and supported what the EC is doing, albeit it is disrespectful to all IPAC members. The NPP don’t feel that they are being disrespected, they don’t feel like it is any problem for them because they know exactly what they are doing with the Electoral Commission,” he stated.

He recalled a three-hour emergency IPAC meeting on November 25, 2019 where the issue of new register came up, but noted that no consensual decision was taken in that regard.

Mr Otukonor alleged that throughout the EC’s interaction with IPAC members, it was clear that the procurement processes for the new register had already been initiated prior to the EC’s engagement with them, accusing the EC of a deliberate sideline.

“Apparently the procurement process has started already. They have requested for tender to be submitted, and have submitted four companies and those companies are doing demonstration today and they are inviting us after the inconclusive meeting last week to come and witness the demonstration and take a decision, how is that possible?

“IPAC is being relegated, IPAC is being deemphasized, IPAC is being sidelined in all activities and to make matters worse, she has now brought in an advisory committee, another advisory committee to the electoral commission,” he lamented.

“Again we found it irregular because you don’t put those proposals in an emergency meeting and take note that in the notice that was sent we were not going to discuss new biometric register. Again for the second time, they tried to hide under the cover of the EC’s programme,” he said.


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