The Chairman of the opposition New Patriotic Party, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, has expressed his party’s deep sense of apprehension about the secretive and silent manner with which the Electoral Commission is conducting affairs towards the 2012 elections, describing it as a recipe for disaster.
In light of this, Jake has stated emphatically that the NPP would not be a supporter of the flawed and opaque process the Electoral Commission is currently embarking on in handling the impending Biometric Voter Registration exercise.
Jake further adds that the NPP would rather advocate for the EC to undertake a new manual registration system which is open, transparent, verifiable, economical and auditable (tried and tested) done simultaneously in all polling stations rather than support the flawed and opaque system the EC intends embarking on.
The NPP chairman made this known in a letter addressed to the Chairman of the EC, Dr Kwadwo Afari Djan, a copy of which was cited by the New Statesman.
According to Jake, several calls made by the NPP for specific information and materials on the tender process leading to the procurement of equipment and materials has so far fallen deaf ears.
Further to receiving a copy of the EC’s “Invitation to Tender (ITT)” given to shortlisted companies to submit their solution for the Biometric Registration exercise, Jake revealed that the NPP commissioned two independent IT experts in the field of biometrics to analyze the ITT to ascertain whether the ITT will lead to a credible Biometric Voter Register.
“Both teams arrived at the same conclusion. The gaps, risks and security flaws in the ITT, if not addressed and demonstrated to the parties, are of such serious magnitude as to make the BVR not credible and prone to fraudulent abuse,” Jake said.
Jake continued, “We realize that your institution has no experience in the field of electoral Biometrics and you have not requested credible experts to help you in undertaking this exercise. This can lead only to a bad outcome. Coming events cast their shadow.”
Of particular concern to the NPP chairman was that the ITT requirement that the client should own the source code and be able to make changes without trace (avoid detection) was a recipe for electoral fraud. Jake thus proposed that all stakeholders should either have access to the Source-code to the extent that any technical expert or unit with access cannot compromise the functioning of the solution.
“Physical security regarding usage of portable storage devices (USB’s, memory sticks, flash drives) for the storage and transfer of data are non-existent. Even if such security exists it can be subject to fraudulent abuse and so is not desirable in systems such as ours where data integrity is important. International best practice is to have a secure encrypted transfer protocols for all data transfer without the use of portable storage devices,” Jake noted.
The NPP chairman cited the use of a 2 Mega Pixel and scanner of 500dpi resolution by the EC for the biometric register as of too low a resolution to make biometric analysis possible. Jake further stated that a camera with greater than 10MP and fingerprint scanner of at least 1200dpi should be the minimum requirement.
Jake proposed that the EC conducts the forthcoming registration exercise in all Polling Stations in Ghana simultaneously, as is the practice with replacement of register, to minimize greatly multiple registrations and its associated Voter ID card issuance.
“Nigeria registered 60million voters in two (2) weeks why does Ghana need more than a month to register 13million people?” Jake asked.
In suggesting a remedy to this issue, Jake asked the EC to convene IPAC immediately so that together “we can help restore credibility and ensure that all the ‘Accra Principles of Electoral Justice’ are implemented for the 2012 elections.”
Source: The New Statesman
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