Insider information from the Electoral Commission (EC) indicates that the election management body is in state of panic as it is becoming apparent that there may be some delays in delivering the new biometric systems it controversially contracted out.
The delay would reportedly push back the scheduled April 18, 2020 date the EC says it will begin compiling a new voters’ register.
Sources tell Whatsup News that the delay could top two weeks and push the commencement of the new voter register compilation to early or mid-May 2020. The reasons for the delay is not immediately known, but there are suggestions that the coronavirus (Covid-19) could be partly responsible.
Alternatively, the EC is reported to have been forced to feverishly refurbish the old biometric devices used for previous elections and voter register compilation.
The EC cannot afford delays as it is already walking a tight rope after its knee-jerk decision to compile a new voters’ register.
Policy think-tank IMANI Africa has warned that the new systems the EC is demanding could set the country back by some US$150 million of taxpayers’ money
The EC decision to set up a new biometric system and compile a new register has been met with intense criticism and resistance as it is emerging that the top hierarchy of the EC may have rigged the tender process to select a scandal-ridden French weapons and Aerospace company, Thales (and its Gemalto unit).
Thales is the company selected to be responsible for upgrading the election management system for election 2020.
Whatsup News can report that Thales which is originally a weapons manufacturer has been cited for several scandals globally in the past two decades.
For instance, in 2005, the World Bank’s Integrity Unit blacklisted Thales for its appetite for using bribery tactics to secure contracts worldwide.
The blacklisting prevented Thales from participating in any projects or programmes established by the World Bank.
In 2010, the company was in conjunction with the French government sentenced to pay a total of €630 million to the Taiwanese government for a scandal that dated back to 1991.
The EC has damned all opposition and criticisms to its quest for a new biometric system. It has even brushed aside advice from a council of “Eminent Advisors” headed by the former CHRAJ boss, Justice Emile Short
Some political stakeholders have vowed to resist the EC’s questionable drive for a new biometric system. Critics mostly from opposition parties think the EC is covertly working to favour the incumbent New Patriotic Party (NPP).
Meanwhile, a group calling itself the Inter-Party Resistance Against the New Voters’ Register has vowed to resist every move made by the EC to change the existing biometric system.