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IMANI Q&A: Vaccinating the Nation Against Electoral Commission’s Propaganda

Fellow Ghanaians, we are in the midst of the apocalyptic COVID-19 pandemic. Soon, most of our energies may well be absorbed into the task ahead to contain and suppress the virus from becoming a major disease outbreak in this country.

But the issues surrounding the Electoral Commission’s (EC) decision to throw away 7,500 ultra-expensive laptops and accessories plus 72,000 expensive hand-held gadgets, bought and maintained with tens of millions of dollars of our hard-earned money, haven’t gone away.

If anything at all, the announcement of the first two cases in Ghana throws into sharp relief whether the “social distancing” directive which discourages large social gatherings can be compatible with the EC’s mass registration calendar, which shall see on average 2200 people cluster in the 8000 registration areas over a period of 43 days beginning on the 18th of April 2020.

That this timeline was technically impossible to meet from the get-go because the EC is yet to even complete its procurement activities for the hardware and core software, much less sign contracts with the relevant vendors, complete specifications, and receive the equipment for customisation, merely compounds the matter.

A pall of uncertainty now hangs over the timeline to the elections, with its strict sequence of activities: registration, exhibition, adjudication, and compilation before distribution of the register to the political parties for their review. Coronavirus, rather than displacing this EC new biometric register matter from our priority list, has in fact reinforced the urgency with which we must handle this situation.

We at IMANI have taken our time to compile this Questions and Answers (Q&A) document as a quick and ready reference for all those who have tracked the outcomes of our reinvigorated advocacy this week.

As we transition from the public phase of our educational effort to the stakeholder engagement phase, we would like to clear any doubts still lingering in the minds of the public because of the EC’s sponsored propaganda, clearly stepped up in recent days. We also acknowledge many of the questions and issues raised by respected and highly experienced public figures in recent days in the line-up of responses we have produced below.

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