The confidential, vocal and fearless speaker and advocate of IMANI Africa, Mr. Franklin Cudjoe has indicated that, his outfit has been drown to an image of him circulating on social media of his comment in 2015 during former president John Dramani Mahama’s government on issues concerning the Electoral Commission of Ghana in a hot debate on proposed new voter’s register.
According to Mr. Franklin Cudjoe, his comments as at the time was very necessary based on data available. He however, outlined some reasons on which he has changed his decision on compilation of new voter’s register in the current regime of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
“I have seen images of my comments in 2015 when there was agitation for a new register. I did think it was needed at the time primarily because we had not seen audits of the electoral processes in 2015. Now though in 2020, we have more data and information to boldly say NO.”
Below are some of what informed him to change his mind.
1. The EC says the existing system isn’t in a good state for the general elections. They are the ones close to the situation. Shouldn’t we just give them the benefit of the doubt?
2. The EC provided a very specific reason why the system is not fit for purpose. Here is it in their own words: “The BVR kits are more than 7 years old and End-Of-Life (EOL) and can hardly be supported.“ They described all the different parts of the complex network of systems making up their technology platform in a similar way.
3. IMANI has carefully probed this very claim and found it to be untrue. What is shocking is that, to date, no media house has been brave enough to take the EC on for this totally false claim. The evidence of the EC’s mendacity has been provided on multiple occasions.
4. The EC has blatantly and consistently lied about the true facts of the current biometric system and its ongoing effort to procure a new one.
5. The EC’s claims that it will cost just $56 million to procure a new system whilst the cost of refreshing and maintaining the existing one would cost $74 million are dangerous untruths.
6. A sham tender recently completed by the EC has revealed that the EC plans to spend $72 million on hardware alone. IMANI believes that by the time software and services are added the total costs for technology alone will amount to $85 million.
7. Compared to a limited registration to capture just those not on the voters’ register, a fresh mass registration shall cost $50 million. Refreshing the existing technology at competitive prices will cost just about $15 million.
8. Hence the total loss to Ghana of the EC’s actions amount to $150 million, if one factors in contingency. If the fact that thousands of perfectly good equipment shall be thrown away is also considered, the total loss rises.
9. But economic cost is not the only thing to be worried about. The EC also bungled the procurement process, leaving a trail of evidence suggesting tender-rigging. This has opened the process to litigation and delay.
10.The EC used one day to disqualify well-qualified bidders, claiming that they had reputational problems, when the vendor it awarded the tender to, after the one day of evaluation, Thales (and its Gemalto unit) has even bigger scandals hanging over its head. In fact, it was once globally blacklisted by the World Bank.
11. The EC’s tender processes were so bad that the Chairman of the technical evaluation panel dissociated himself from the results forcing the EC to discard a 4-month process and compress it into a one-week evaluation.
12. At any rate, the timeframe for negotiating a proper contract; designing better specifications to correct the many things the EC claims are wrong with the existing system; securing procurement approvals; integrating disparate software and hardware systems from different vendors; and deploying and testing the platform cannot be fitted within the EC’s artificial timeline of April 18th 2020 for the commencement of registration.
So, there you are…..only the unwise doesn’t change their mind….Franklin Cudjoe