Jean Mensah, EC chairperson

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) says it has identified 10 anomalies in the course of the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana’s verification exercise carried out recently.

The party outlined the anomalies at a press conference held at its head office to address what it called the manipulation of Ghana’s electoral process by the Electoral Commission of Ghana and the dangers it portends for election 2020 on Thursday, 19th September 2019.

The press conference was also used to announce the party’s decision to sue the EC for what the party says is a blatant disregard for the country’s electoral laws.

Below are the 10 violations listed by the NDC:

1. Putting both provisional and previously finalized register (2012 & 2016) together;

2. Late Arrival of registers;

3. Incomplete/absence of portions of the 2012/16 voters register;

4. Incomplete/absence of 2019 provisional voters register;

5. Absence of Biometric Verification Devices (BVD) at most polling stations;

6. Most of the new registrants have been categorized Face Only (FO);

7. Reappearance of most issues cleared through adjudication or data processing;

8. Misalignment of polling station codes;

9. Bloated Exception list; and

10. Absence of Electoral Commission Officers.

Find the points as explained by the party below:

PUTTING BOTH PROVISIONAL AND PREVIOUSLY FINALIZED REGISTER (2012 & 2016) TOGETHER

In accordance with Regulation 23(1) C.I. 91, the EC is to exhibit the provisional register for public inspection. The EC then decided to also exhibit the final register compiled between 2012 and 2018, and stated in its own exhibition manuals and adverts in the media that the registers would ne exhibited separately and throughout the exercise. In fact common sense dictates that an exhibition exercise necessitated by a recently completed limited registration exercise must have the names and details of the persons exhibited separately in the provisional register for ease of verification of the said names and details.

However, at most of the exhibition centers throughout the country, the 2019 provisional register has been combined with the previously finalized register 2012/2016 and surprisingly labelled “December 2016 Final Register.” That clearly is unacceptable, and it’s in complete breach of regulations 23(1) of C.I. 91 .

 LATE ARRIVAL OF REGISTERS

Reports from all Regions indicate that materials arrived several days late in most of the constituencies throughout the country.

For example, in Wa West Constituency in the Upper West region, for the first three days of the exhibition exercise, the 2019 provisional registers were not available in one hundred and seven (107) exhibition centers in the constituency. And as at the fourth day, only forty-four (44) 2019 provisional registers had been made available in the n the entire constituency. Meanwhile these registers had major defects both in content and format with names of some of the communities interchanged.

In the Bono Region, the verification exercise commenced a day late in Wenchi, Tain and Sunyani West Constituencies.  

In the Northern Region, for 5 days, about 35 polling centres in the Kpandai District did not open for the exercise due to non-availability of exhibition materials for the exercise.

Similar problems occurred in Yendi Municipality at Tusani and Kuni where late arrival of materials delayed the exhibition for three days.

These are just a few examples of what happened generally throughout the country.

INCOMPLETE/ABSENCE OF PORTIONS OF THE 2012/16 VOTERS REGISTER

Ladies and Gentlemen of the media, one would have hoped that the previously finalized registers compiled between 2012/2018 which have been used for elections in the past and made available at all polling stations throughout the country would be without no anomalies.   The registers are available but the reality on the ground is that most of the registers have several pages missing. A few examples will suffice.

In the Wa East Constituency in the Upper West Region, at Sombisi Primary school and Kojokura exhibition centers, the registers for the 2012/16 were incomplete because pages 11 – 24 and page 5 were respectively left out in the printing of the registers.

In the Asutifi North constituency in the Ahafo Region, at the Ampedwe Electoral area, pages 11 – 49 of the register did not appear.

There are also instances where Polling Stations were duplicated in the Northern region.
It will interest you to know that in Dohinayili at St Peters primary school in the Tamale Metropolis we have recorded cases where about one hundred (100) elderly voters had their names completely deleted from the register appeared for the exercise and had their names deleted completely.

INCOMPLETE/ABSENCE OF 2019 PROVISIONAL VOTERS REGISTER

Ladies and gentlemen of the media, strangely, at some exhibition centres across the region, some of the 2019 registrants have found their way onto the 2016 final register. A Specific example is in the Kwabre East Constituency in the Ashanti region. In this constituency, there is only one register containing names of those captured in the limited registration exercise and also of those registered in 2016. The problem this creates is that you cannot identify names of those who have been added illegally. It is also completely in contravention of C.I 91 which requires the EC to exhibit the PROVISIONAL REGISTER and not a combine register.

Examples of these occurrence are in the following:

1. Nana Darko’s house A & B, Ahwiaa

2. Assemblies of God Church A & B, Kenyase  

3. Day care Brofoyedru A & B

4. R C Primary School A & B, Kenyase

5. Berima Owusu A & B Kenyase.

In the Bono region, there are major discrepancies in number of voters who registered during the limited voter registration exercise and what is contained in supposed 2019 provisional voters’ register. Evidence of this abounds in Jaman South, Dormaa West, Dormaa Central, Jaman North and quite a number of other areas across the region.

In the same Bono region, in particular Miremano, Jenjemireja, Tekese, Asuogya/Badukrom and Nyamefie Electoral Areas of the Jaman South Constituency, almost 400 registrants were recorded during the limited voter registration exercise. And yet, the 2019 provisional register provided shows only one (1) voter from these five electoral areas which is very suspicious, knowing very well these areas are strong holds for the NDC.

Similar instances occurred in the Oti region where about 120 voters in Nkwanta South Constituency could not find their names in the register even though they have duly registered and have their voter ID cards. Also in the Akan constituency only 20 registers were made available for 71 polling stations.

ABSENCE OF BIOMETRIC VERIFICATION DEVICES (BVD) AT MOST POLLING STATIONS

Historically Biometric Verification Devices (BVD) have assisted the EC in deciding more accurately voters who do not have good quality fingerprints to allow biometric verification. Such voters are classified by the EC as “Face Only” (FO). However, in most of the polling stations across the country, the Jean Mensah – Bossman Asare led Commission has refuse to send any BVDs to most of the Polling Stations. Ladies and gentlemen of the media, this is a major departure from the way the EC has handled exhibitions since the introduction of the biometric system in 2012. For instance, in 2016 this methodology was used and the EC recorded 63% turnout during the exhibition exercise.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are informed that the EC has 72,000 BVD’s machines in good condition in its custody which could have been deployed at the 28,992 centers with each center getting at least 2 of these machines. This would mean that in addition to verify their names the people would also have the opportunity to verify themselves biometrically at the same time. The failure of the EC to provide these machines at the various centers have gone to undermine the credibility of the whole exercise because the fact that somebody’s name is in the register does not itself ensure that on voting day the person would be successful in his/her biometric verification.

MOST OF THE NEW REGISTRANTS HAVE BEEN CATEGORIZED FACE ONLY (FO)

What seems to be the most dangerous anomaly is the disproportionate number of “Face Only” applicants among the 2019 newly registered population. We have observed with grave concern that the Jean Mensah – Bossman Asare led Commission has classified majority of the newly registered voters as “Face Only”. Normally this will suggest that their biometric details were not captured in good enough quality to allow biometric processing but in this case it appears the biometrics were totally ignored and hence, on the day of voting, they will be verified manually by Jean Mensah – Bossman Asare commission officers and allowed to vote. This is a recipe for massive abuse and electoral irregularities.

In the entire EC database of over 15 million voters, there are a little over 270,000 “Face Only” voters representing about 1.8 % of the voting population in Ghana. It is important to point out that the percentage of “Face Only” in any population increases with age. How then do we register 18 to 21-year olds and obtain well over 1000 % more “Face Only” voters?

We want to state without fear or favor that it is impossible to have such a huge number of “Face Only” while working with the same biometric system on a younger subset of the same population. This suggest that the Jean Mensah – Bossman Asare led Commission did not subject the applicants to biometric deduplication as has been done since the introduction of biometric system in 2012. A blatant disregard to Section 27 of C.1. 91 – Public Elections Regulations (Voter Registration), Regulation 1 and 2 (a) – enjoins the EC to match fingerprints in the database of the Commission by the automatic fingerprint identification system. However, in several polling stations nationwide, there were no BVDs, a clear violation of the law.

REAPPEARANCE OF ISSUES CLEARED EITHER THROUGH ADJUDICATION OR DATA PROCESSING

The numbers on the multiple registers list are very high and suggests an anomaly rather than a deliberate attempt on the part of applicants to engage in multiple registration. Therefore, there is the need to urgently have all the registers thoroughly scrutinized by all parties before the District Assembly elections.

MISALIGNMENT OF POLLING STATION CODES

Ladies and Gentlemen, it appears there is a deliberate attempt by the Jean Mensa-Bossman Asare Electoral Commission to create a total mess out of the register; so that in an attempt to clean it, they may brazenly manipulate the register to favour President Akufo-Addo who appointed them.

There are many register voters who cannot find their names in their provisional register and we believe that this deliberate otherwise it can only be describe as gross incompetence. For instance, in the Ellembelle Constituency in the Western Region, out of 6,249 people who register during the limited registration exercise almost 4,547(98%) of these registrants were not captured in the exhibition register. In the case of Effia Constituency also in the Western Region 4,325 people were captured in the limited registration exercise but 1,087 persons representing 43.4% who were registered had their names captured in the provisional register which was exhibited. In other words, as many as 2,438 persons representing 56.4% new registrants had their names omitted from their provisional register.

This has come about as a result of the EC capturing the information from two different sources. The barcodes are captured at the various electoral areas by the BVD but the EC used the VMS at the District Offices for the inputting of the data and this resulted in many names being left out.

The data system of the EC has also been compromised resulting in the misalignment of Polling Station Codes.  The effect is that, some people who transferred their votes this year have mistakenly being placed in different districts other than their original districts.

BLOATED EXCEPTION LIST

Another worrying phenomenon is the unusually high number of persons placed on the Exception/Exclusion list. These are people that Vice President Bawumia has falsely accused of not being citizens or ordinarily resident in Ghana; and for which reason Jean Mensa and Bossman Asare have entered their names on this dubious exception list.

These persons mostly reside in the border towns of Ghana and it may appear that this exercise has been carried out to suppress the votes of the perceived NDC stronghold at a time that the EC is globe-trotting to register every Ghanaian living everywhere to vote.

ABSENCE OF ELECTORAL COMMISSION OFFICERS

Ladies and Gentlemen, at a time that Jean Mensa is claiming to have injected good corporate governance tenets into the running of the Electoral Commission and boosting the moral of the staff of the EC, in this voters’ register exhibition exercise several polling stations lacked exhibition officers from the Electoral Commission.

To save time, we will cite few examples such as Nkwanta South Constituency and most polling stations in the Sunyani East Constituency. In Sunyani East, there were no EC Exhibition Officers on the first day and only few on the second to sixth days of the exercise. Some of the polling stations are as follows:

  1. CMB Shed Adedease polling station (J013302) in Atuahene Electoral Area.
  2. Cocoa Shed Nsagobesa polling station (J013102) in Yawsae Electoral Area.
  3. Cocoa Shed Tanoano polling station (J010303) in Nkrankrom Electoral Area.
  4. The Church Domsesre polling station (J013002) in Nwawasua Electoral Area