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Dark Clouds Over 2012 Elections   
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Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Dr. Kwadwo Afari Djan
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Some dark clouds appear to be hanging over the nation’s preparations towards the 2012 General Elections as the Electoral Commission’s handling of the Biometric Voter Registration exercise seems to be gradually sapping away the trust the nation’s political parties have in the commission.

Representatives of the NPP, NDC, CPP, DFP and GCPP yesterday walked out of a meeting called by the EC to discuss the biometric registration process, in protest against what they considered to be the unsatisfactory manner in which the commission was handling the process.

The EC had called the political parties to inspect a biometric registration technology it had acquired to undertake the voter registration exercise, but their representatives said they were not impressed with the processes the EC used in procuring the technology.

The representatives of the parties also could not accept the EC’s demand for an undertaking that they would only be observers at the meeting.

One of the companies that wanted to bid for the project and felt was being unfairly treated by the EC sought a court injunction to restrain the EC from going ahead to procure the technology to undertake the exercise. The Public Procurement Authority consequently urged the EC to discontinue the process following the dissatisfaction expressed by the company.

The EC, however, ignored the advice from the Public Procurement Authority and went ahead to engage what stakeholders say was an “unknown” company for the project.

This has incurred the wrath of the nation’s political parties who think the EC is trying to create needless problems that do not augur well for the smooth conduct of the 2012 elections.

Biometric Voting machine
This in the view Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Director of Election Affairs of the New Patriotic Party, paints a worrying picture ahead of the crucial 2012 elections which many see as the most significant test of the nation’s fledgling democracy.

Dr Opoku Prempeh bemoaned the decision by the EC not to involve the parties in the selection of the two companies shortlisted for the registration exercise, adding that the NPP would not give its approval to the EC’s decision to acquire vendors for the registration without going through due process.

The NPP Director of Election Affairs alleged that some companies who wanted to bid for the project had complained of unfair treatment by the EC, adding that the Public Procurement Authority had also urged the EC to discontinue the process after the other vendors registered their dissatisfaction with the process.
Source: The New Statesman/Ghana

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