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Full text: EC Chair, Jean Mensa’s address in Parliament on election preparation

THE ELECTORAL COMMMISSIONS ROAD MAP TO THE 2020 ELECTIONS. PRESENTED BY MRS JEAN MENSA CHAIRPERSON TO THE PARLIAMENT OF GHANA

A good morning to you Rt. Honourable Speaker of Parliament, Honourable Majority Leader, Honourable Minority Leader and Honourable Members of this August House. We bring you warm greetings from the Electoral Commission and thank you for your invitation to the Commission to brief this August House on our plans and preparations towards a peaceful, credible and transparent Election in December 2020. We thank the Good Lord for this day and for His Mercies. This morning I am here with my able team made up of Mr Samuel Tettey -Deputy Chair Operations, Dr Bossman Eric Asare – Deputy Chair Corporate Services, Mr Kye Duodo– Procurement Officer and Mr Henry Ashong – Deputy Finance Director.

It is important to emphasize that this is the first time I have been invited to the House in my capacity as the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, I have on no occasion turned down an invitation from the Parliament of Ghana. As an individual who has been at the forefront of championing Ghana’s democratic development for over twenty years, I respect and value the Institutions of State, a major one being the Parliament of Ghana. Indeed, I was informed of your invitation to the Commission on the night of Wednesday, 4th November 2020 at a time I was out of the jurisdiction. Our Deputy Chair for Cooperate Services informed the Majority Leader about this and made arrangements for our presentation to be delivered to the Parliament today.

This morning we are here to give an account of progress we have made regarding the conduct of the Election 2020. Mr. Speaker I’m pleased to inform you that the Electoral Commission is 95% ready for the successful, credible, fair, orderly and peaceful conduct of the Election in December 2020. Permit me to highlight a number of significant achievements.

Procurement of Materials

Mr. Speaker the Commission procured a wide variety of election materials for the 2020 Election. These include, ballot boxes, thumbprint pads, stationary, identifications jackets, polling station booths, rechargeable lamps, indelible ink, educational posters, seals among others. As we speak, distribution of these items to our regions and districts is well underway. I can confirm that as a result of the thorough planning and distribution mechanisms employed, we are about 95% done with the distribution of election materials to our various locations across the country. What is left to be delivered are the Ballots and Registers.

Procurement of Vehicles

To facilitate the movement of our staff and promote the delivery of their mandate at the grassroot level, the Commission procured a number of vehicles. In total 147 vehicles made up of:

15 motorbikes

30 four-wheel drives

107 pick ups

8 haulage trucks

2 Coaster Buses

These were procured at a total cost of 38 million 373 thousand 545 cedis (38,373,545.00). This has promoted the efficiency of our staff as well as the swift movement of goods and materials from our stores to our regions and districts. It has also helped to eliminate costs that were associated with the hiring and rental of vehicles.

It is important to note that close to 95% of our procurement was done through an open tender process. We achieved this by advertising all our procurement processes in the newspapers. This policy decision introduced competition into our procurement and helped drive down prices. Ultimately it ensured value for money in our procurement processes.

In due course, the Commission will make public a report showing the huge savings made as a result of this decision.

Covid 19 Items

Mr. Speaker, as you may be aware, we started the year without the slightest inclination of the COVID-19 virus. As much as it took us unawares, we immediately put in place measures to procure COVID-19 Items to ensure the safety and security of our stakeholders. Additionally, we put in place stringent COVID-19 protocols to help curb the spread of the virus.

The items procured and distributed include the following:

  • Thermometer Guns
  • Veronica Buckets
  • Sanitizers
  • Liquid Soap
  • Tissue Paper

We have distributed all these items to our regions and districts ahead of the election and we are confident that the protocols put in place and the materials procured will help curb the spread of the virus at all Polling Stations and Collation Centers throughout the country.

In addition, Mr. Speaker, from Monday the Commission will roll out an extensive publicity drive aimed at educating the citizenry on how to vote and encouraging them to exercise their power. We will also engage citizens on measures the Commission is putting in place to reduce/eliminate stakeholder risks at the various Polling Stations throughout the country. As you may be aware, the Commission undertook a comprehensive publicity campaign during the Registration Exercise. This contributed to the enthusiasm and high participation during the registration exercise. We are confident that the education we deploy, ahead of the election, in major languages throughout the country will go a long way to shore up interest and lead to a high turnout on election day.

Special Officials named the COVID-19 Ambassadors will be deployed to all thirty-eight thousand, six hundred and twenty-two (38,622) Polling Stations throughout the country. Their duty will be to enforce the Covid-19 protocols and ensure that the sufficient supply of COVID items to the Centers are put to effective use.

Biometric Verification Equipment

Mr. Speaker as you may be aware, the Commission has procured brand new Biometric Verification Devices for the Election to enhance the integrity and credibility of the polls. As I speak, seventy-four thousand, eight hundred (74,800) brand new biometric verification devices are in country and are being prepared for the election. It is expected that the enhanced features of the devices will speed up the verification process and go a long way to ensure that only persons whose biometric details are captured in our system vote on the Election Day. It is important to note Mr. Speaker that the device has a record of both fingerprints as well as the facial features of each unique individual. As a result, in the event where an individual has lost the use of his/her fingers, the facial recognition feature will be employed to identify the voter.  We are confident that the use of both features will go a long way to enhance the integrity of the Polls.

Mr. Speaker, for the records, the Commission procured eight thousand (8,000) brand new Biometric Voters Registration kits ahead of the registration in July. As you may have experienced, the kits worked efficiently and resulted in the speedy and accurate capturing of the biometric details of seventeen million and twenty-nine thousand, nine hundred and seventy-one (17,029,971). Ghanaians across the length and breadth of the country. Our staff reported a great improvement from the previous kits used. Indeed, compared to the previous kits, the current kits are more robust, user friendly and perform more effectively than the previous Kits. There were very few reports of breakdown of kits in the field. Indeed, a good number of our Data Entry Clerks registered over two hundred and eighty (280) persons per kit per day as opposed to the past, where the highest registered was hundred  (100) voters per kit per day. All in all, the performance of the kits exceeded our expectation.

We are confident that the Biometric Verification Devices will function excellently on the Election Day.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to note the cost for the procurement of the Biometric Registration Kits and the Biometric Verification Devices is as follows:

Biometric Registration Kits

Number Budget Actual
Eight Thousand (8,000) One Hundred and fifty eight million, eight hundred and forty four thousand, eight hundred and thirty two Ghana cedis (GH 158, 844, 832) One Hundred and fifty eight million, eight hundred and forty four thousand, eight hundred and thirty two Ghana cedis (GH 158, 844, 832)

Biometric Verification Devices

Number Budget Actual Balance
Seventy four thousand, eight hundred (74,800) One hundred and sixty one million, two hundred and thirty four thousand and fifty five Ghana Cedis (GH 161,234,055) One hundred and fifty one million, one hundred and eighty four thousand, six hundred and eighty five Ghana Cedis (GH 151, 184, 685) Ten million and forty nine thousand, three hundred and seventy Ghana Cedis (GH 10, 049, 370)

Software for Registration Data Processing Verification.

Number Budget Actual Balance
1. Twenty eight million, seven hundred and six thousand, nine hundred and sixty Ghana Cedis (GH 28, 786, 960) Eighteen million, six hundred and ninety three thousand and seventy four Ghana Cedis (GH 18, 693, 074) Ten million and ninety three thousand, eight hundred and eighty six Ghana Cedis (GH 10,093,886)

Data Centre And Disaster Recovery Centre

Number Budget Actual Balance
1. Thirty-five million, seven hundred and thirty eight thousand, eight hundred and forty four Ghana Cedis twenty pesewas (GH 35, 738, 844.20) Twenty-one million, and eleven thousand, three hundred and fifty two Ghana Cedis, sixty one pesewas (GH 21, 011, 352. 61) Fourteen million, seven hundred and twenty-seven thousand, four hundred and ninety one Ghana Cedis, fifty nine pesewas (GH 14, 727, 491.59)

2020 Voters Register

Mr. Speaker as you may be aware, the Commission has prepared a new Biometric Voter’s Register in time for the election. We are pleased to note that the register embodies unique individuals only. To date the register has a total no of seventeen million and twenty-nine thousand, nine hundred and seventy-one (17,029,971) Voters. We are confident in the credibility and integrity of the 2020 Voters Register and are pleased with the collaboration and cooperation of the citizenry at all levels particularly at the district level, as well as the magistrates, to ensure that only eligible Ghanaians participated in the process.

Mr. Speaker, as we speak, we have thirty-two thousand, six hundred and twenty-one (32,621) persons who have been placed on the multiples and the exceptions list. Of these eighteen thousand, six hundred and nineteen (18, 619) persons engaged in multiple registration and fourteen thousand and two (14, 002) engaged in various illegal practices including under aged voting and voting by non-Ghanaians. They are all on the list we call exceptions list.

It is important to correct an impression that the 18,619 names on the multiples list refers to individuals. For the record, this number reflects the total number of multiple registrations, as such if a person has registered 10 times, all 10 instances will be on the list.  It is therefore not made up of 18,619 unique individuals but rather of multiple registrations

Printing of Ballots

Mr. Speaker, the printing of ballots is currently underway in seven (7) printing houses in Accra, namely:

  1. – Buck Press Limited
  2. –Assembly Press (Ghana Publishing Company)
  3. –Fonstat Limited
  4. –Innolink
  5. –Yasarko Limited
  6. –Checkpoint Limited
  7. –Acts Commercial Limited

A majority are printing houses which the Commission has used since the year 1992. As I speak the Agents of the Political Parties and the Security Agencies are monitoring the processes in all the Printing Houses.

I am happy to report that printing of the Notice of Poll for the 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections has been completed. In terms of the Presidential ballots, the printing for the following Regions have been completed:

PRESIDENTIAL PARLIAMENTARY
Ashanti Region   (Completed) Almost Done
Volta Region   (Completed) Done
Western North   (Completed) Almost Done
Upper East Region   (Completed) Done
Upper West Region   (Completed) Almost Done
Bono Region   (Completed) Almost Done
Bono East Region   (Completed) Almost Done
Savannah Region   (Completed) Almost Done
Oti Region   (Completed)  Done
Northern Region   (Completed) Almost Done
Western Region   (Completed) Almost Done
Ahafo Region   (Completed) Almost Done
Cental Region   (Completed) Almost Done
Greater Accra   (Completed) Almost Done
North East Region   (Completed) Almost Done
Eastern Region   (Not Completed) Almost Done

Mr. Speaker, the printing of our 2020 Register is also currently underway and we are confident that we will complete this process and distribute the registers well in time for the December 2020 election. It is important to note Mr. Speaker, that the political parties have submitted their hard drives to the Commission. A soft copy of the register was made available to them yesterday the 6th of November 2020.

Printing of Pink Sheets.

Mr. Speaker, the printing of the Results Collation Sheet for Presidential and Parliamentary Elections popularly known as the Pink Sheets will commence on Sunday the 8th of November 2020. All Political Parties have been duly informed accordingly and will monitor the process throughout.

Recruitment and Training

Mr. Speaker the Commission has to date employed close to two hundred and thirty-three thousand, six hundred and thirty two (233,632) Temporary officials made up of Returning Officers and their Deputies, Presiding Officers, Verification Officers, Name Reference Officers as well as a Covid-19 Ambassadors for the December 2020 Elections.

A comprehensive training program has been drawn for each category of Officials. We are confident that with the capacity building provided, our teams will be equipped with the requisite skills to enable them to perform excellently on Election Day.

Number of Polling Stations for Election 2020

Mr. Speaker, for the 2020 Election, the Commission has created thirty-eight thousand, six hundred and twenty-two (38,622) Polling Stations across the country. This is some five thousand (5,000) Polling Stations more than the 2019 Polling Stations. The threshold set for the Polling Stations is seven hundred and forty-nine (749) Voters per Polling Stations. It is important to note however that more than 70% of the Polling Stations have five hundred (500) Voters or less.

Security

Mr. Speaker we will like to end on the very important issue of security. The Commission has since the beginning of the year engaged in continuous dialogue with the Security Agencies under the auspices of the National Security Task Force. To date, we have provided them with relevant information to assist them in carrying out their duties on Election Day. This includes information on all Polling Centers, Collation Centers, potential flash point areas among others. This collaboration goes down to the regional and district levels. We intend to increase our engagement as we head towards the elections in December.

Mr Speaker, in a nutshell this is our roadmap for a peaceful, credible and transparent Election in December.

I assure you and this August House that we are fully prepared and ready for the elections in December and are working with our teams to ensure that the election is Credible, Fair, Seamless, Transparent and Peaceful.

On behalf of the Electoral Commission of Ghana, we thank you for inviting us this morning to present our roadmap to this August House. We look forward to returning next year to brief you and the Honourable Members of the successful, excellent, seamless, transparent and peaceful conduct of Election 2020, so help us God.

May God bless our homeland Ghana and make our Nation Great and Strong.

LET PEACE REIGN.

Thank you all for your attention

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