The National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) has advised stakeholders to respect the independence of the Electoral Commission (EC) as the debate on the latter’s decision to compile fresh and credible voters register ahead of the 2020 election rages.
“Having critically examined Article 45 (a)(e) of the 1992 Constitution, NUGS on behalf of Students of Ghana appreciates the independent authority and functions of the EC without undermining the inputs of the various election stakeholders like the political parties, civil society, and citizenry at large. Whichever way the debate may fall; one question stands tall amongst all the arguments; what does the constitution say concerning electoral matters? The reference answer remains Article 45 and 46. At this point, the NUGS is strongly calling out that all debates must cease, egos must be put aside and cool heads must be allowed to prevail for the EC to execute its mandate judiciously to the good people of Ghana,” it pointed out.
The largest student body in the country gave the advice at a press conference addressed by its national President, Isaac Jay Hyde on Wednesday at the International Press Center.
“Consequently, we strongly call on all stakeholders to respect the independence of the EC and desist from acts of intimidation, coercion, and inducement directed at obstructing the EC from its constitutional mandate of conducting a credible, free and fair election or stampeding it to take any decision that will mar the beauty of election 2020. We demand nothing short of a free, fair and transparent election from the EC,” the student body further advised.
NUGS further advised all political parties and stakeholders to continue to use the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meetings to engage the EC on their concerns. “NUGS is very much concerned about the Ghanaian student having a sound and safe environment which fosters academic excellence.”
However, NUGS urged the Electoral Commission to do well to engage all opposing parties and stakeholders in a manner that shows respect and appreciation of their views in a democratic space adding, “it is not for nothing that the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) and the Eminent Advisory Committee (EAC) were formed to provide the intermediate advisory roles to the Electoral Commission regardless of its constitutional independence. Law includes logic and as a matter of fact, NUGS encourages the EC to give room for some amount of logic to operate without undermining their independent powers and authority.”
The EC says it will save the nation GHC170 million with the acquisition of the new Biometric Voter Management System (BVMS)
The EC has explained that the total cost of maintaining the old Biometric System is $74, 364, 500 while the total cost for the new BVMS system is estimated at $56,000,000. These include Biometric Voter Registration Kits (BVR) kits and the Biometric Verification Devices (BVD).
According to the EC, the total cost of using the old BVR system for the 2020 election is $38, 692,500.00. This includes; the cost of refurbishment of some BVR kits used in 2016 and the acquisition of new ones. The number of kits used in the 2016 registration was 5,500 and the number of kits that were refurbishable was 1,500 and the unit cost of refurbishment was $3500, pegging the total cost of refurbishment at $5,250,000. The EC further posits that the nation also needs an additional 6500 kits at a unit cost of $5145, pegging the total cost of additional kits at 33,442,500.
However, for the new system, the number of BVR kits required for the 2020 election is 8,000 at a unit cost of $3,000.00, pegging the total cost for the new BVR @$24,000000.
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