Dark Clouds Over 2012 Elections

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.