From the building of a new data centre through the acquisition of enhanced voting equipment and materials, to the conduct of the December 2020 General Election, Ghana’s Electoral Commission would save the nation millions of cash in its activities.
Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, made the assessment, on Wednesday, and wondered why the Minority Caucus was raising issues with the EC on its roadmap and preparations towards the conduct of the elections.
At a press conference at the Parliament House, in Accra on Wednesday, the Majority announced the timetable released by the EC in its activities in the run-up to the elections, and held the Minority Caucus to task for castigating the EC despite its attempt to beat down the cost of activities.
Officials of the Commission, led by its Chairperson Dr Jean Adukwei Mensa, had met with the Special Budget Committee of Parliament on Tuesday, the committee of Parliament charged with the responsibility of looking into the performance of certain state institutions, on its preparations towards the conduct of the elections.
Moments after the meeting, the Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) Caucus in Parliament, led by its leader and MP for Tamale South, at a press conference accused the EC, among others allegations, of planning to reduce the number of registration centres for the new voters’ identification card and disenfranchise voters.
It furthermore alleged that the EC was not ready to carry out the voter registration exercise.
The announcement was, however, reacted to by Dr Bossman Asare,, the Deputy Chairman of Corporate Services of the EC, who told a press conference, categorically that all the existing registration centres would be used for the voter registration exercise.
“We’re not reducing the existing registration centres,” Dr Asare emphasised.
On Wednesday, when the Majority Leader met with the journalists, he gave thumbs up to EC on its preparedness to compile a new voters’ register.
“If we knew that colleagues would twist and turn facts after our encounter with the EC, perhaps we would have allowed all of you to be there. And, that’s most unfortunate,” Mr Kyei-Mensah Bonsu said.
The Minister said the EC submitted its work plan programme for the procurement of operational vehicles, recruitment of staff and the conduct of registration exercise, which he said, made it imperative to procure enhanced biometric equipment.
“We were convinced and persuaded by what they said to us; that as much as they want to see how the system functions if there is any problem, they will immediately replace them so that they EC will have a smooth conduct of the registration,” he said.
He announced that the EC planned to build a new data centre at the cost of $6.1 million to house the database of voters.
“The new centre that is going to be constructed, which is much more modern and enhanced, is going to be built at the cost of US$ 6.1 million,” the Majority Leader said.
The Majority listed a number of activities outlined to be taken by the EC and wondered why the body was being castigated by the Minority which was still not convinced on the need to compile a new voters’ register.