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Is Ghana Ready For e-Voting?

Categories: Sub-Saharan Africa, Ghana, Governance, Technology

A two-day event which began yesterday; is being organized by the Danquah Institute [1] (DI), a policy think tank, research and analysis centre, to create a national platform for stakeholders to lead the discussion on the possibility of facilitating the adoption of biometric voter registration [2], and subsequently the e-voting system in Ghana.

The Danquah Institute has hailed the successful conclusion of electronic voting in the world's largest democracy and called on Ghana's Electoral Commission [3] to consider the numerous benefits of electronic voting as demonstrated in this latest poll.

According to Honorable Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Communication,

even though the implementation of both the biometric voter registration which is been handled by the National Identification Authority and e-Voting were practicable in the long term, they could not be introduced anytime soon”.

He also added:

“All political parties have endorsed biometric registration, which is prelude to e-voting and what we are doing here today will help to shape our electoral process in the future, but we do not have the requisite infrastructure for a speedy implementation of the all important projects in the short term”.

Therefore, government should still research more into its implementation by 2016 and not 2012.

Musah Yahaya Jafaru from Graphic Ghana [4] also reported on this event and had this to say;

The Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC); Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan [5] stated; “If the government wouldn't educate the masses including his aged mother in the village about the benefits of e-Voting and how to use it, he wouldn't go in for it”.

He also stressed;

Until we make the people comfortable with the use of the computer, we cannot go e-voting”.

Dr Afari-Gyan said even developed countries such as Britain, Canada and Australia had not subscribed to e-voting and wondered why Nigeria and Kenya wanted to go e-voting.

He cited the increasing use of money by politicians to seek public office, the exaggerated importance of political parties, the involvement of the youth in election violence, strange campaign promises and the use of the media to fuel violence as some of the worrying trends in the country’s elections. He said increasingly people were seeking public office not as a means to serve their people but primarily as a short-cut to fame, influence and wealth.

In a Press Statement by the Danquah Institute [1] titled: Ghana’s Democracy Is Not There Yet, E-Voting May Get Us There [6].

Hayford from Sydney, Australia commented:

“I feel proud as a Ghanaian that the country has people with such a great level of understanding. I perfectly agree with the above suggestions. If indeed our Electoral Commission really wants a more reliable and credible system of voting in Ghana, then I think the commission should have spearheaded the ideas highlighted above. I want to beg the electoral commission not to down play on the E-voting system but should throw all its weight behind this system. Our women, children and the poor deserve to be spared the fear, anxiety and brutalities associated with the current system the gives room for Kenyan-like situations.”

In my candid opinion and experience working with the National Identification Authority [7] currently registering masses for the creating of a database of all Ghanaians, I support the advice of the current Electoral Commissioner on this subject.

My question is; Is Ghana really ready for e-Voting?

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