The Minority Leader in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu has said his side will resist any attempt by the Electoral Commission (EC) to register citizens for a new register amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “The context is, don’t just think about your staff, think about the health, safety and lives of citizens who will be queueing for the purpose of getting registered,” Mr. Iddrisu said in a Citi News interview.
Mr. Iddrissu further continued his side’s attack against the Commission and again questioned the competency of the commission’s leadership. He cited what he called the commission’s incompetence in failing to put together a cogent C.I. before Parliament for the 2020 elections.
“What I do know about the Electoral Commission is that they have come to Parliament with two defective instruments. They are just not competent enough and they must deal with their competence,” he said. The Minority Leader made similar remarks last week during a press conference.
The comments follow the EC’s rejection of a comment made by Haruna Iddrisu to the effect that government had provided the commission Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for use in a registration exercise while health officials complain of lack of such kits.
“The Commission has not stated anywhere that it has received Personal and Protective Equipment (PPE) from the government as stated by the Minority Leader during the press conference. For the avoidance of doubt, the Commission has not received any protective equipment from the government.”
“The Commission finds it troubling that the leader of the Minority Party in Parliament will put out information of this nature without substantiating its authenticity,” the EC said in a statement. The Commission in the statement also served notice “that plans are far advanced for the compilation of new voters register with a new voter management system for the upcoming 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections.”
The EC assured that necessary precautions have been put in place to ensure safety in the execution of its mandate. It said it was “sensitive to the current state of affairs due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will abide by the necessary precautions and safety protocols in the execution of its mandate when it deems it appropriate to begin the compilation of the register.”
The EC has faced criticism over its attempts to discard its old voter management system and procure a new system which will among other things have a facial recognition ability and seeking to compile a new electoral roll. The commission says it wants the electoral roll used on the election day to be more credible and efficient than the existing one which was used for the 2016 election.
It has thus moved to procure a new Biometric Voter Management System (BVMS) to better address verification challenges that could occur during elections. The process to compile a new roll has currently been suspended because of the pandemic.