An independent presidential aspirant for the 2020 elections, Mr Jacob Osei Yeboah, has urged Ghanaians not to allow the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to destroy Ghana’s 2020 elections with the debate over a voters register and biometric database.
“It is clear that the NDC and the NPP do not know the difference between voters register and biometric database,” he stated.
He said the two major political parties displayed their ignorance of the difference between a “New Voters Register” and a “New Biometric Data” when they held their press conferences on May 14, 2020
This was contained in a letter addressed to the chairman of the NPC and copied to the Eminent Advisory Committee of the EC on the issue of biometric database and a new voters register.
New Biometric Data
He said in 2012, Ghana decided to procure a top-edge and expensive Biometric Voter Management System Technology (BVMS) to address the dishonesty and rigging in Ghana’s previous elections.
“The process in creating a credible voter register requires that a technology is used to enhance accuracy for voters to exercise their sovereign franchise. The technology procured is a means to create an end (New Voters Register),” he said.
Mr Yeboah said the technology did not make the register new or old, explaining that the technology procured determined the process required to create a credible voters register.
“In summary, to get an accurate and credible new voters register, the biometric data gathered is used to ensure that the voter is identified to cast his/her vote based on universal adult suffrage,” he added.
Mr Yeboah said Ghana’s Biometric Voter Management System (BVMS) required capturing of biometrics data (fingerprints and facial) and biodata (name, photo, age, address, hometown, etc) of voters.
He explained that the BVMS also included hardware viz the biometric voters register (BVR) kits, biometric voter devices (BVDS), software, communication gadgets and data centre that were used to ensure quality and to protect data losses of voters.
He said the capturing of the biometrics was the bottleneck event without which the biometric data could not be updated, which would mean the credibility and accuracy of the new voters register for the 2020 elections would become questionable.
“From the above explanation of how a new register is needed for each election and how biometric data ensures a credible new register, it is clear that there cannot be elections in 2020 if there is no new biometrically verified register,” he stressed.
Mr Yeboah said barring the technical issues of integrating the biometric template of the old BVMS and the new BVMS, the old existing biometric data of voters had more than a million dead voters and other undesirables that affected the credibility of the biometric voter register that would be created for the 2020 elections.
He challenged the NDC to tell Ghanaians how the 2020 credible voters register could be created without an updated or new biometric data with the newly acquired BVMS.
“Compiling all voter biometric data can enable EC to eliminate most errors and improve fingerprint and photos storage. COVID-19 cannot be used to disenfranchise eligible new voters as it will be unconstitutional,” he stressed.
He suggested that if COVID-19 could not be dealt with then the EC should consider limited registration with a Constitutional Instrument (CI) for compulsory verification and validation of all voters for the 2020 elections.
“Any voter that fails to verify and validate shall be expunged from the register. Such a compromise should be the best alternative to compile a new voters biometric data,” he stated.
Mr Yeboah said should Ghanaians decide not to allow the EC to update the biometric data due to COVID-19, the constitutional provision to form a new interim government shall be followed with new appointments not based on partisan orientation.
He, therefore, urged the EC to take all those issues into consideration and take the best stance that could still offer Ghana, a credible new register for the 2020 elections.