The Coalition of Political Parties known as the Inter-Party Resistance Against New Voter Register is urging the Electoral Commission (EC) to upgrade the current voters registration instead of compiling a new one.
They said the reasons assigned by the Commission such as blotted Register, high level of manual verification, overstretched, frequent breakdown, was not reasonable.
The group is made up of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), People’s National Convention (PNC), United Progressive Party (UPP), All People’s Congress (APC) and United Front Party (UFP).
Speaking at a News conference in Accra to state their position, Dr Hassan Ayariga, APC Leader said the group outlined a number of actions including; a demonstration in Tamale, Kumasi and Accra to press home their demands.
“We hold the view that any attempt to spend an additional cedi of Ghana’s tax payer’s money on a new register will amount to complete wastage and needless spending of limited state resources,” he said.
“The Coalition would embark on a demonstration on Saturday January 11, in Tamale at the Jubilee Park dubbed “Tikusayi Korinfohili” Demonstration.
“We shall follow this up with the Yenpini Demonstration in Kumasi on Tuesday January 21, January, and climax it with the Wokp3n33 Demonstration in Accra on Tuesday January28,” he said.
He said the new equipment the EC was planning to buy was the same as the current one, and that they just needed to upgrade the system with Pictorial Verification device.
Dr Ayariga said the fingerprint was rated as the best with over 95 per cent success rate worldwide, but the facial recognition scored 80 per cent among people with dark complexion.
According to him, a peaceful election was as a result of collaboration between all stakeholders and urged the EC to convince stakeholders on the best way.
He recounted that on November 25, 2019; political parties were invited to an emergency Inter party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting to discuss the EC’s programme and the District Level Elections, only for the EC to introduce the idea of the new Biometric Register.
Dr Ayariga said the inherent challenges in the use of facial recognition technology, could be addressed into the current register, especially as the current register already had high-resolution photos of voters.
“This IT solution therefore, renders the argument of the EC, to replace the current biometric voter register to allow for incorporation of the facial verification system mute, untenable and unacceptable.
“The EC and the government must be reminded that the sovereignty of Ghana resided in the people. At least the history of this country has provided ample evidence to the fact that peoples’ power when tried or suppressed erupts stronger in rage like fire,” he said.
Dr Ayariga said: “We must make common cause to ensure that the EC does not take the entire nation on this wasteful and uncertain path that has the potential to plunge this country into crisis. A peaceful and successful election is nonnegotiable”.
Meanwhile, the EC late last year announced its intention to compile a new voter register in the first quarter of next year for election 2020 and beyond.
The Commission said the new voter register would include; facial recognition to eliminate manual verification at the polling stations thereby ensuring credibility and integrity of the elections.
Mr Samuel Tettey, Deputy Chairman-in-Charge of Operations said during the December District Level Elections, out of a total number of over 5,000,000 verified, about 34,000, were manually verified.
He said the figure was a significant number, which could determine the winner of an election.
He stated, “This is particularly important for the registration of voters who either have amputated finger digits or the nature of their occupation results in their fingerprints being unreadable”.
Mr Tettey said the proposed new system could withstand the harsh climatic conditions that prevail in certain parts of the country and could operate in dusty, humid environments at temperatures ranging from 5 to 45 Degrees Celsius, with humidity between 20 and 90 per cent.
Enumerating the benefits of the new system, he said it would have hardware vendor agnostic software solution that would run on commercial of the shelf (COTS) device preventing vendor lock-in.
“The new BVMS would also have a software applications that are built on well documented standard and open development languages that could be easily enhanced and maintained by the EC’s own staff,” he said.