The Electoral Commission (EC), yesterday inaugurated a 16-member Adjudication Committee to clean the new voters register to ensure a credible 2020 polls come December 7.
At an induction ceremony at the Commission’s office in Accra, the Electoral Commissioner, Mrs Jean Mensa, said that the adjudication process was necessary to ensure that, the voters register is trustworthy, a process she remarked, was fundamental for a free, transparent and credible elections.
“It important that the new voters register bears the hallmark of integrity, as such, as a Commission we are sparing no effort to clean the register so as to guarantee its credibility ahead of the 2020 elections,” she stated.
“The Commission is of the firm conviction that a clean register is synonymous to a credible, transparent, fair and peaceful elections; the Commission is of the view that, the voters register is a bedrock on which a credible elections is built,” she added.
Mrs Mensah went on to state that the time was right to set in motion mechanisms to ensure that the voters register is credible and that, it reflects eligible Ghanaians only, hence, the swearing-in of the adjudicators to deal with various issues that had arisen in the course of the registration process.
The primary mandate of the Committee would be to determine all cases of multiple registrations by examining facial and personal data and confirm or reject the status of the voter.
The Committee would also be responsible for the printing and review of adjudication reports by supervisors and submit their report to the Chairperson of the Commission for authentication and approval.
On his part, a deputy chair at the Commission in charge of Operations, Mr Samuel Tettey said that, the work of the committee would be devoid of subjectivity, therefore, the EC has developed guiding principles for their engagements.
“Issues surrounding adjudication are not subjective, that is the reason why we have designed rules and regulations to govern the committee,” he stated.
Explaining the adjudication set-up and processes, the Information Technology (IT) Consultant to the EC, Dr Yaw Ofori Adjei said that, the EC’s voter management system has an Automatic Biometric Identification System (ABIS), which ensures that every applicant is unique and has done only one registration.
He however, noted that, there may be instances that the system may not be able to confidently determine whether a matched pair of applicants is unique or a duplicate, which therefore, requires human intervention for final decision to be made.
He said that, there are “grey zones” where neither duplicates nor unique determination could be determined by the ABIS, and therefore, flags it for adjudication.
Dr Agyei also mentioned that, in circumstances that imprints are not properly wiped after one applicant has used the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kit, similar imprints are created, which the ABIS equally flags for adjudication.
The 16-member committee would be headed by Mr Samuel Tettey, with Deputy Chair in Charge of Corporate Services at the Commission, Dr Bossman Eric Asare, and the Director of Electoral Services at the EC, Dr Serebour Quaicoe, as members.
Other members of the committee are, Information Technology (IT) Consultant to the EC, Dr Yaw Ofori Adjei, IT Project Manager, Dr Collins Yeboah-Afari, Mr Fred Tetteh, and Mr Alex Omar.
The political parties on the committee are, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), National Democratic Congress (NDC), Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG), Convention People’s Party (CPP) and the Progressive People’s Party (PPP).
The partnering CSOs on the committee are, ABANTU for Development, Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) Ghana, Women Assistance and Business Association (WABA), and Penplusbytes, a technology driven organisation for promoting effective governance in Africa.
BY FRANCIS NTOW