The message in this press statement is simple and straight forward. Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensah, the Electoral Commission’s (EC) Chairperson, must build the capacity of her newly recruited incompetent I.T Staff at the Commission to compile and deliver an audited and credible voters’ register.
The EC Chairperson and her politically motivated Commissioners cannot coerce Ghanaians to support her cynical project of producing a new voter register towards the December 2020 general elections. She should rather focus on engaging the appropriate stakeholders to assist the Commission in resolving the apparent I.T challenges on the current voter register database in an effective and transparent manner.
I present to you a report that is largely based on first-hand information by our Regional and Constituency Monitoring Teams through a purposively selected Party Agents, enabling them to report instances of challenges and other irregularities observed over a period of 6 days during this ongoing exhibition exercise in over 1,250 exhibition centers across Bono Region. We received hundreds of reports from first time Voter Registrants across the region over this period. The information was checked for authenticity and accuracy and it is only the verifiably accurate reports that are included in this briefing.
First and foremost, Mrs. Jean Mensah and her “I.T Consultants must faithfully guard the integrity of the current voters’ register by respecting the Constitutional Instrument (C.I. 91) Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations 2016, at all times in the ongoing exhibition exercise.
According to the Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, (C.I.91), 2016;
Regulation 22, sub-regulation (2); “at the end of the compilation of the provisional register as provided in sub-regulation (1), a copy of the provisional register shall be given to each registered political party in the form determined by the Commission.”
Regulation 23,sub-regulation (3); “The Commission shall in addition to the publication provided in sub regulation (1), post the provisional register on the website of the Commission.”
Notwithstanding the above regulations, the EC Chairperson has deliberately failed to provide copies of the 2019 Provisional Voters’ Register (PVR) or the 2012-2019 cumulative voters’ register to all political parties in any form, or to even post the provisional voters’ register on the official website of the commission @ www.ec.gov.gh(PAGE UNDER CONSTRUCTION) knowing though that Political parties play critical roles in auditing and protecting the integrity of any voter register compiled by the Electoral Commission of Ghana.
The Chairperson of EC has deliberately employed these dirty tricks to deny critical Stakeholders of the Commission access to the current Provisional Voters’ Register. She did not only deny the NDC access to the provisional voters’ register in any form but has gone the extra mile to use her Voter Management System (VMS); online registration to deliberately omit most registered voters details from the 2019 Provisional Voter Register in order to label the current register roll as full of errors in order to introduce a completely new Voters’ Registration Exercise early next year.
Mrs. Jean Mensah’s Voter Management System (VMS); online Registration failed to accurately capture details of most of the 2019 limited Voter Registrants onto the Provisional Voters’ Register and to their respective original Polling Stations, after piloting this same VMS online Voter Registration in 47 District offices during the 2018 Limited Voter Registration Exercise. This VMS also woefully failed District Electoral Officers and their Assistants during the 2019 Limited Voter Registration Exercise and they had to largely rely on offline registration process, which the VMS online platform failed to capture.
We commend the Exhibition Supervisors, Regional and District Electoral Officers for doing their best in the face of Jean Mensah’s VMS technological flaws from her Head office managed by her incompetent I.T Students hired by her.
We have detailed the numerous cases of flawed polling station registers, I.T data system failures and other irregularities from the ongoing exhibition centers.
1. The Electoral Commission Voters registers were not brought on time to the Bono Region coupled with challenge of no Registers at all for most exhibition centres on the first day (Day 1). The Exhibition of the Voters Registers in three (3) Constituencies delayed; Wenchi, Tain and Sunyani West Constituencies actually commenced on Wednesday, September 11, 2019 instead of Tuesday, September 10, 2019 and therefore, we expect extension of days for these affected areas, since voters must verify their details by a given deadline.
2. Most of the Exhibition centres were not supplied with the 2019 Provisional Voters’ Register, therefore denying voters the opportunity to verify their full details.
3. The Supreme Court in 2016 by its judgment ordered the Electoral Commission to automatically delete the names of all persons on the voter register who registered with the NHIS identity card as a means of identification. The Supreme Court subsequently ordered the Electoral Commission to validate the Voters Register. Strangely, those names have found its way back to the current provisional voters’ register.
4. Reports from our Constituency and Polling Station Executives’ Monitoring Teams in the Jaman South Constituency is no different from what has been reported from Dormaa West, Dormaa Central, Jaman North and quite a number of other areas across the Region. There are major discrepancies in number of voters who registered during the limited voter registration exercise and what is contained in supposed 2019 provisional voters’ register.
5. In the Miremano, Jenjemireja, Tekese, Asuogya/Badukrom and Nyamefie Electoral Areas of the Jaman South Constituency, almost 400 registrants were recorded during the limited voter registration exercise; yet, the 2019 provisional register recorded only one (1) voter from these five electoral areas which is very suspicious, knowing these areas are obvious strong holds for the NDC.
6. Strangely, over 250 voters from Yaakrom R/C Primary, Yaakrom Presby, New Chiraa and Krakrom R/C in the Dormaa West Constituency have been captured as Face Only (FO) Registrants in the 2019 Provisional Register opening them up for possible double voting opportunities. These individuals are, however, very fit and well known members of their communities with all their fingers intact. Incidentally, these Face Only (FO) Registrations are happening in the strong holds of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), with Dormaa East Constituency leading in our reports. Only God knows what these deliberate errors from Madam Jane Mensah, as they appear to be, are intended at.
7. Voters who were captured in the electoral roll in 2019 are expected to visit their respective polling stations where they will be allowed to confirm or review their details, but to their surprise, either their details cannot be found in the Provisional Voters’ Register roll (Names checklist) or they have been assigned different polling stations from their original polling station code on their Voter ID Cards issued to them by EC.
8. Most Branches in Sunyani East Constituency were without EC Exhibition Officers on the first day and few on the second to sixth day of the exercise. Few examples are as follows;
a) CMB Shed Adedease polling station (J013302) in Atuahene Electoral Area.
b) Cocoa Shed Nsagobesa polling station (J013102) in Yawsae Electoral Area.
c) Cocoa Shed Tanoano polling station (J010303) in Nkrankrom Electoral Area.
d) The Church Domsesre polling station (J013002) in Nwawasua Electoral Area
9. Remember this exhibition exercise is to enable Voters across the country and Bono Region in particular to verify information about their identity data, including EC’s newly introduced Polling Station Codes, Registration Center names, Date of Birth/Age, and the voter’s ID number, to correct any wrong information or confirm their registration. This is the opportunity for the 2019 Registered Voters to correct their polling centres/polling station codes wrongly assigned to them or omitted by the Electoral Commission, creating disparity on the Voter ID Cards issued by same EC. Electorates are denied this opportunity in the above mentioned polling stations and electoral areas.
10. One of Madam Jean Mensah’s duties in 2019 is to provide audited and credible voters’ register, in her preparations towards the conduct of the District level elections, the Unit Committee Elections as well as the possible Referendum.
11. In real circumstances, within our Region, where the exercise commenced on the first day, Tuesday, September 10, 2019, it actually averagely started from 11:00 am instead of the mandatory 7:00 am.
12. The 2019 registration captured about 47,000 people in Bono Region, which added up to about 545,000 existing voters, bringing the total provisional register to about 592,000 in the region.
13. It is essential that registered voters are able to access polling station locations during exhibition exercises, since most of them registered at their respective District Offices/Zones. However, polling station demarcation at times makes it difficult for voters to cast a ballot on Election Day.
14. First time voters have been subjected to exhibition challenges reported across the region that have left many in fears as to whether they would even get the opportunity to vote in upcoming elections. Although their registrations are valid, we humbly ask all stakeholders to investigate this numerous errors as they appear in this provisional register.
15. The Electoral Commission’s draconian plan to force most of the 2019 limited registered voters to go back to their respective polling stations just to complete inclusion forms and prove themselves at the polling station could disenfranchise most voters who gain admission to various universities outside Bono Region. Since major changes or correction could only be done via biometric authentication. Again, an applicant for inclusion has to face a District Review Officer who will make a determination on each complaint before inclusion will be effected.
16. We demand copies of the Provisional Voters Register; the EC Chairperson should respectfully comply with the C.I. 91, by giving out certified copies of the Provisional Voters’ Register to all political parties before the end of the ongoing exhibition exercise for Transparency and Fairness.
17. The EC should officially come out with reasons to these widespread omissions of details in this poorly compiled Provisional Voter Register, despite major concerns raised by Stakeholders which should have served as a caution.
18. The EC should officially publish all the new Polling Station Codes and their corresponding Polling Station Names.
In conclusion, we have no doubt about the role of the media in protecting the enviable Democratic gains of Ghana. A free and fair election is not only about the freedom to vote and the knowledge of how to cast a vote, but also about a participatory process where political parties engage the Electoral Commission to have adequate information about the registration process, exhibition of the provisional voters’ register and the election process itself in order to achieve transparency and fairness of the process.
Democratic elections without political parties’ access to the Electoral Commission’s compiled and certified voters register is a contradiction. Mrs. Jane Mensah’s obvious disregard of Public Elections Regulations 22 and 23 of (C.I.91), 2016 in the course of this exhibition exercise is discomforting and should not be countenanced going forward. The NDC will continue to collaborate very closely with the media and other Stakeholders to assist the EC in enforcing their motto; “Transparency, Fairness and Integrity” in the ultimate interest of the ordinary people of Ghana.
Dennis Yeboah Twumasi
Regional Secretary, Bono
(0248952441 / 0206906238)