The 2012 and 2016 Independent Presidential Candidate, Jacob Osei Yeboah, has shot down opposing argument advanced by the Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) for the compilation of a new voter’s register by the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana.
To him, the points raised by the CSOs to oppose the voter roll lack in-depth analysis and is therefore flawed.
“I am really surprised at these CSOs that one would have expected to undertake a thorough analysis. I happened to be at a forum where the EC was engaging the CSOs. I was shocked to the bone”, he said in a statement released yesterday.
The EC led by its Chairperson, Jean Mensa, has said the electoral management will compile a new voter’s register for the conduct of the 2020 general elections outlining a number of factors ranging from huge cost in maintaining the existing data as well as the vulnerability of the current systems and equipment at its disposal.
Some opposition political parties including the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have kicked against it saying among other things that the financial cost in compiling a new voter’s register will put much burden on the country’s limited financial resources.
The also argued that there was nothing wrong with the existing voter’s roll since it credible and was recently used for the conduct of the District Level elections.
The position of some opposition political parties is not different from that of the coalition of the CSOs.
In a statement released by the CSOs prior to the conclusion of their engagement by the EC at a forum in Accra, Thursday, they said the EC has failed to demonstrate that there is a defect with the biometric data to necessitate spending about US$70million to compile a new voter’s register.
“The EC has already conducted limited registration for the district elections and should be using that benchmark cost for the general elections. If it wishes to acquire new BVRs and BVDs and so far it has said little to justify why it needs to do so, it can publish a transparent, well-publicized, tender to bring the costs to less that US$15million, not US$36million it claims it requires. We based our figures on average BVD costs of US$160 as per our market benchmark study and average BVR tablet costs of US$750”, the CSOs said in a statement.
They also disputed the 0.6% fingerprint nonrecognition rate in the District Level elections which the EC claims was worrying saying “has the EC reached out to truly independent experts to advise it, it would have been told that a failure of 0.6% is rather reasonable. No biometric authentication system can offer a 100% matching accuracy under our conditions at the scale we are talking about. The EC cannot be in a position to seriously assess the quality of the existing system if it relies on the information provided by a single vendor or narrow set of vendors”.
However, Jacob Osei Yeboah, affectionately called JOY, in his assessment said the argument put forth by the CSOs lacked merit.
As an IT expert himself, below is the full statement of his detailed analysis on the position of the CSOs:
I am really surprised at these CSOs that one would have expected to undertake a thorough analysis. I happened to be at forum where EC was engaging the CSOs. I was shocked to the bone of the above release some 30mins before the forum ended.
Before God these CSOs were highly prejudicial and if they had waited till the end, they would have made lots of changes.
The Flaws with the CSOs position.
1. There is vendor lock-in and so any cost to use the current BVMS had to do with quotations from STL only.
EC options for open competitive quotations is for the new BVMS.
EC has therefore done a detailed analysis for which the CSOs quoted some of the figures.
2. To Refurbish the current for 2020 elections will cost $74,364,500.00
To Procure New BVMS for 2020 will cost $56,000,000.00
Savings for new BVMS is $18,364,500.00 or @$1=5.7Ghc is GHc104,677,650.00
3. To Refurbish old Data Centre with one year maintenance cost $19,000,000.00
To acquire New upgraded Data Centre with 3years maintenance cost is $7,000,000.00
Savings with New Data center is $12,000,000.00
@$1=GHc5.7 is GHc68,400,000.00
4. Grand Total savings with New BVMS is GHc173,077, 650.00
5. The Current Vendor has locked-in fingerprint images into proprietary Biometric Template. This renders fingerprints database useless without the Vendor. So we have retake our fingerprint images to store in WSQ format, which shall ne owned and Controlled by EC for any future vendor and also to create jobs for Ghanaians. This is visionary and Patriotic by EC.
6. It has taken NIA almost 3years to enroll 5M Ghanaians on NIA Card. When can NIA complete about 17M BVR. This is National Security threat for election 2020 . The EC per CI91 is also mandated by law to take Biometric Data. So it is not a question Authority and Commission but what the Law states and National
Security Implications and the entity that will be held accountable for any Electoral mess. EC has great foresight with responsible delivery consciousness. Let’s applaud the EC.
7. I do not understand any secrecy in open tender process for new BVMS since August 2019 that the CSOs are alluding to. The secrecy is highly economical with the Truth from CSOs.
8. The facial recognition is to add another layer of verification so as to minimse manual verification. For CSOs to allude to 99.4% performance as acceptable smacks real operational understanding and implication on election results which could be less 40,000.
10. The census outcome may not have any direct correlation with the BVR. The BVR is directly dependent on the number of Voting age that avail themselves to register. The implication of the census on BVR is subjective but not dependent.
11. The CSOs have shown great deficient in analysis and highly prejudicial failing to be part of a solution. I will strongly advise that the CSOs take their time to assimilate the Presentation by EC today and should urgently refine their position by seeking further competent engagement with EC. The CSOs should understand that the EC’s actions are based on what her Consultant advises which is competent but NOT what the lock-in Vendor says.