None of EC’s arguments on new voters’ register makes sense – Franklin Cudjoe

President of policy think tank IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe, has described as “nauseating” the Electoral Commission’s (EC) reasoning for compiling a new voters’ register for the 2020 polls.

The EC which has been under intense pressure for several months now still insists it will go ahead with the new electoral roll at the end of this month, June.

The Commission claims that the existing one is not credible enough for the polls.

Director of Elections at the EC, Dr. Serebour Quaicoe had earlier insisted that the current register should be replaced to make it more capable of tackling the verification challenges that occur on election day, given experiences from past elections.

But on The Big Issue, Franklin Cudjoe stressed that “It’s just becoming nauseating hearing some of the arguments being made in affirmation of a change in the voter roll. Absolutely none of them makes sense. In fact, they do not hold water. There’s no evidence that has been brought to bare.”

He further explained that “The EC told the whole world that the biometric systems we have have reached their seven-year life cycle and so they needed to replace them. Then we went and verified from the EC’s own financial documents and there’s actually been purchasing and procuring items to improve the system. As recently as 2019, they purchased about 500 of these machines which enabled them to run the district level elections and the referendum that was done in 2018.”

“In fact, the EC has spent US$60 million in improving these systems in bringing them to near perfection so it cannot be true that all of a sudden without having done an audit of the asset of the EC, every bit of the system is kaput. They’ve never been able to show us a single piece of evidence to merit that claim.”

Mr. Cudjoe, who has for a long time disagreed with the EC’s decision to compile a new roll felt his assertions were justified after the pilot registration exercise held days ago was suspended in the Western Region because of faulty machines.

Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission expressed satisfaction with the “successful” pilot registration exercise it conducted nationwide ahead of the new voters’ registration exercise.

“At the end of the two-day exercise, a total of 1,990 applicants were registered, with 745 applicants registered on Day One and 1,245 on Day Two,” the Commission noted in a statement.

In as much as there were many challenges associated with the exercise, the EC has pledged to critically focus on the shortfalls in order to come out with the best of everything when the actual work begins.

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