Uproar as biometric equipment fails
By BiztechAfrica – Dec. 8, 2012, 12:25 p.m.
By Nana Appiah Acquaye, Accra, Ghana
Biometric Verification equipment used by the Electoral Commission of Ghana for the first time, during the country’s sixth general election on Friday, experienced enormous challenges as reports from different polling centers across country revealed either a total break down of equipment or failure to identify the eligibility of voters on the system.
The failures caused a massive uproar among eligible voters standing in long queues and officials of the electoral commission at the various polling centers. By the close of voting at 18:00 GMT there were report of thousands of voter who have not had their turn to vote due to the general break down of biometric machines at certain centers.
This has prompted the Electoral Commisssion to adjourn voting activities to Saturday at all polling stations especially where problems were experienced with the Biometric Verification. In a statement issued and signed by the Deputy Chairman (Operations) at the EC, Mr. K. Sarfo Kantanka, it noted that “polling should continue on, Saturday 8th December, 2012 to give the opportunity to the affected persons to vote”.
However a group known as the Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) has called on the Electoral Commission to quickly address the problems encountered in the process. According to the group, while they embrace the biometric system; anomalies recorded at various polling stations across the country are so grave that they could undermine the credibility of the results.
“It is clear that the several hours wasted at the various polling stations as a result of breakdown of verification machines has or stands to disenfranchise most eligible voters for no fault of theirs. Our rounds for example indicated that at comm. 8 Tema, Maradex School Gbawe, Trobu, Agyei Kuma in Tema West, St. Nicholas Academy, etc. several voters stand the risk of being disenfranchised.
This is inimical to the exercise and must therefore be addressed urgently”. AFAG suggests the EC picks verification machines from centres which have wrapped up voting to centres which have difficulties to address the challenge,”it added.