8 December 2012

Ghana: I Don't Believe in Machines - Justice VCRAC Crabbe

The Co-Chair of the Coalition for Domestic Election Observers, (CODEO). Justice V.C.R.A.C Crabbe has shown his disapproval for the use of the verification machines to authenticate the identity of voters.

Ghana's electoral system introduced a biometric voter registration system for the first time in this year's polls with a verification machine to check the biometric data of registered voters. However some of the verification machines broke down compelling the Electoral Commission (EC) to suspend voting in those constituencies to today.

The breakdown of the machines has revived the debate whether it was a right decision to introduce the system. In an interview with Africa Election Project reporter, Pascal Kudiabor, the retired Supreme Court Judge did not hide his displeasure. "I don't believe in machines" Justice Crabbe said. "We have introduced a new system-Biometric System and these are the consequences". He added.

He noted that though the EC had promised that there will be back up machines, "I have a feeling that this situation might have failed. The machine might have heat up and stopped. Even computers sometimes freezes and you had to wait".

Voting is underway in 196 polling stations across Greater Accra region according to the Principal Public Relations Officer of the EC Silvia Annor as well as other polling centres in the Northern region and parts of the Central region.

The challenges encountered with the use with the verification machines was not unexpected as the biometric registration exercise was equally fraught with problems, a situation that compelled the General Secretary of the NDC Johnson Asiedu Nketia and other leaders of the party to protest the proposal to introduce the verification system. But their stand was opposed by the NPP and some civil society groups.

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