Electoral Commission Cautioned Against Data Update Anomaly

The Electoral Commission of Ghana has been advised by a renowned Information Technology Specialist, Mr. Dan Brown Anti, to desist from entering the names of persons who are not on the Electoral Commission database onto the Commission’s Voters’ Register since it will cause “Data Update Anomalies” in the national database.

Mr. Anti who made this revelation in an exclusive interview explained that a data update anomaly may “happen when inserting vital record into a particular table in a database when one or more instances of duplicated data is updated, but not all”.

He added that since the compilation of the last Voters’ Register, other state institutions as well as recognized international firms whose work revolve around the collection and management of data have used the National Voters’ Register for data entry analysis which cannot be compromised.

Asked if it was possible for the Electoral Commission to update the Voters’ Register while the registration of voters is still closed, Mr. Anti said “that will create an anomaly which may compromise the credibility of the entire register because the update cannot be effected on the duplicated data base in the hands of other state institutions and international firms which was sourced from the original compilation made by the Commission”.

There have been media reports over the past few weeks indicating that some officials at the Electoral Commission are conniving to fraudulently issue a National Voters ID card to Dr. Zanetor Rawlings whose legality to contest for parliamentary office is being challenged under Article 94 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.

A renowned Ghanaian Legal practitioner, Gary Marfo, questioned the legal competence of the NDC Parliamentary Candidate elect for Klottey Korle constituency Dr. Zanetor Rawlings to run for parliament in 2016.

The lawyer based his arguments on article 94 of the 1992 constitution, which stipulates that a person is not qualified to run for political office in Ghana unless such a person is a registered voter in Ghana.

He further stated that his argument can be corroborated with comments made by Koku Adams and Kofi Anyidoho, both national executives of the NDC, who have explained that the NDC membership card can only be procured using the national ID card.

He quoted some NDC National Executives specifically as saying that the party register was purely based on the national voter register and anyone whose name is therefore not on the National Voters’ Register cannot be on the NDC Party's register …

“Since we now know that Zanetor Rawlings did not vote during the NDC primaries because her name was not on the party register, we have done our own checks and we can say confidently that her name is also not on the national register. And that makes her election illegal”.

A number of persons have wondered why the NDC National Executives and Vetting Committee overlooked important rules by clearing the candidature of Dr. Zanetor Rawlings in the first instance. The NDC Regulations for the 2015 Primaries made it clear that to qualify to contest the 2016 elections on the ticket of the NDC, certain criteria must be fulfilled including the following:

· He/she must meet the requirements for the election of Member of Parliament under article 94 of the 1992 Constitution (article 94 provides among other things that he/she must be a registered voter)

· He/she must be an active member of the Party at the constituency level for four (4) years immediately preceding the date of filing the nomination

· He/she must be a card-bearing member of the Party who has paid party membership dues

· He/she must be a known and active member of the branch of the Party in the constituency

· He/she must not be a member of any other political party.

Some constituents of Klottey Korle are convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that she did not and does not meet the above requirements.

A writ has been filed in the High Court by four registered NDC members of the Klottey Korle constituency asking for

· a Declaration that the decision by the NDC to allow Zanetor to contest the Parliamentary Primaries when she was not a registered voter at the time of the contest violates the Constitution and NDC Internal Regulations and is illegal, null and void and of no effect

· an Injunction restraining Zanetor, her agents, privies, assigns and anyone claiming through her, from holding herself out or allowing herself to be held as the Parliamenary Candidate elect of the constituency until the matter in dispute is disposed of

· an order for a re-run of the parliamentary primaries for the two other contestants within 2 weeks of the annulment of Zanetor’s election.

However, there seems to be some underhand dealings to get the Electoral Commission to issue Zanetor with a Voter’s ID Card. Word on the ground is that certain officers at the EC have been compromised by some "powerful hands". Constituents of Klottey Korle say they are calling on the Chairperson of the EC to open her eyes wide so that nothing untoward will be done on her blind side.

One 76year old woman, Belinda Atakora, said (translated from Twi dialect) “We are calling on those attempting to manipulate the EC data to remember that in 2012, all Parliamentary Candidates in Klottey Korle were given copies of the Register.

They should therefore not do anything that will lead to disgrace. Rawlings knows what is right. He is the one who keeps talking about transparency and accountability. We expect that he will advise his daughter to do the right thing”.

The NDC Regulations circulated to aspirants before the Primaries made it clear that a person is not qualified to contest Primaries for any parliamentary seat if he/she fails to meet the requirements of article 94 of the 1992 Constitution. These Regulations were put in place by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the NDC Party.