Legislative and Presidential elections in Ghana are just 3 weeks from tomorrow: December 7, 2102.
In keeping with its leadership role in West Africa, Ghana is an early adopter of biometric technologies for managing national elections. At least a couple of other West African countries (Sierra Leone this Saturday, and Cameroon) have committed to biometric elections in the near future and it’s fair to say all other countries in the region are taking a keen interest in how things go in Ghana.
People in Ghana are acutely aware that the eyes of West Africa and the world are on them. Beyond that, they want free, fair, orderly and well-managed elections. With three weeks to go, some anxiety is beginning to show and there seems to have been a spike in media coverage of the electoral process.
Here’s a run-down of some of what the Ghanaian media is saying.
Dousing The EC Blues (Daily Guide)
The Electoral Commission (EC) does not appear ready with key components of the forthcoming polls, raising the adrenaline level of most Ghanaians, especially as we near the December 7 election date. News to that effect made disturbing headlines in the media yesterday when the non-availability of the biometric register for the political parties’ scrutiny before the polling day was put out. Many Ghanaians who read the stories could not help wondering whether the district assembly elections were going to be re-enacted on December 7.
The Electoral commission maintains that it has integrated the new technology so as to support Ghana’s voting system and that they are on course.
Voters Register Out On Monday (Peace FM Online)
“We are confident that our machines would work perfectly and we would have a smooth voting process,” he [ed: Dr. Kwadwo Afari Djan, chairman of the Electoral Commission] said.
There’s also some attention paid to the issue of non-EC observation of the election.
The Electoral Commission (EC) has directed all voters to leave the polling stations immediately after casting their vote on Election Day.
The directive is in contrast to an order by the executives of some political parties in the Eastern Region who keep asking their followers and supporters at their rallies not to leave the polling stations after casting their vote, so that they will help check illegal acts that will be perpetrated by their opponents.
Editorial – Media ruled out of early voting? (Ghana Web)
It is a bizarre state of affair for the Nations electoral governing body to snub the significant role played by the media to ensure a peaceful and a transparent electoral process across the country by blatantly ruling out its participation in the early voting process.
Considering the anxiety and pockets of violence which characterized the Biometric voter registration exercise in parts of the country months ago, the Electoral commission must be self informed of possible but sizeable tension and aggression on December 7.
That’s where things stand three weeks before election day.
The Ghanaian elections are providing a useful case study for students of complex, large-scale biometric ID management deployments. The issues are technical, cultural, and managerial in nature. Those in the biometrics industry and managers in complex ID environments can learn a lot from what’s happening in Ghana.