A leading member of Citizen Ghana Movement (CGM), Mr Ato Bonful, is convinced that changing the current Biometric Voter Management System (BVMS) is inevitable.
He said right from the time the new commissioners took over, there was already a notification of award of contract to STL for continuation of the existing voting management system, acquisition of new Biometric Voting Devices (BVDs) and a compilation of new Biometric Voters’ Register (BVR) which was priced at $56 million.
“From the above, what can justifiably be inferred is that the old system was due for a change to maintain reliability and provide support to the Electoral Commission (EC) and elections in Ghana,” he stated.
He told the Daily Graphic in an interview that he became convinced after reviewing the presentations the EC made to civil society organisations on January 16, 2020.
Mr Bonful said it was evident that procurement processes had even began to replace the old system, which also implied that membership of the major political parties knew the existing problems of the old system.
“We have also seen correspondence warning the past commissioner of a total breakdown of the system if they continued using it without upgrading and buying new devices at the huge cost,” he added.
He said from the old vendor, a new database centre was recommended at the cost of $15 million and the BVD at a cost of $900 plus, and also a yearly maintenance cost of $3.9 million.
Mr Bonful said it was the new commissioners who then invited an IT consultant, who the EC used in 2011 to advise them whether to continue with the old vendors and their high cost while still using the old system which was continually giving them problems.
He said the consultant then advised that the technology was old and expensive and, therefore, recommended that the EC conduct a market survey to compare prices since the amount in question was high.
Moreover, he said, there was also newer technology which could cost cheaper.
“Indeed, what the EC found out was that there was newer technology with an additional feature which was to help enhance the biometric verification, which cost less and the BVD would cost $400 each as well.
“Also, a new data centre was going to cost them $6 million with a three-year maintenance contract for $1.7 million. With this information, what was the EC supposed to do?” he asked.