3 political parties storm out of EC technical meeting

Officials of three political parties have walked out of a technical meeting with the Electoral Commission (EC) on the back of disagreement over the compilation of a new voters’ register for the December general election.

IT representatives of the various political parties were invited by the EC on Wednesday to thrash out outstanding issues regarding the controversial new voters’ register the EC has sought to create for the polls.

Representatives of the National Democratic Congress, People’s National Convention and the United Front Party have stormed out of the meeting.

“Their reason is that instead of discussing the technical issues with them the EC appeared to have made its mind of compiling a register,” our correspondent reported a while ago.

Despite the action by the NDC, PNC and UFP, the meeting went ahead with representatives of the other political parties who have accepted the EC’s decision to compile a new register.

The three parties claimed the agenda for the meeting was to discuss the challenges with the Biometric Voters’ Register (BVR) and Biometric Verification Devices (BVD) but it turned out the EC had a different agenda.

The EC, it said rather went ahead to discuss with them modalities on how to compile a new voters’ register which they have opposed.

 The Director of IT of the NDC, Kwame Osei Prempeh, told our correspondent that information available to them suggested that the distribution for the BVDs and the BVRs will take 83 days, claiming it would thus not be possible for the EC to even start the registration on April 18 as announced.

The Commission took the decision to acquire a new Biometric Voter Management Solution for the upcoming general elections based on the advice of its IT team and external consultants.

The two concluded it would be prudent to acquire a new system rather than refurbish the current system.

“It is important to note that the equipment that the entire voter management system runs on, from enrolment, duplication, adjudication to voters’ verification is obsolete and no longer supported by their Original Equipment Manufacturers,” the EC claimed earlier this year.

Despite criticism and resistance against the compilation of a new voters’ register, the EC has said it would go ahead with the registration exercise.

According to the EC, the scheduled engagement with the 21-member Eminent Advisory Committee and the political parties about two weeks ago would not be to seek consensus on whether or not to go on with the new registration exercise set to begin on April 18.

The January 30 meeting, the EC explained, was arranged for the EC to inform the stakeholders of its programmes concerning the new voters’ register, and solicit views on how best it can be implemented.

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