Whatsup News can report that there is a serious tussle between the hierarchy of the Electoral Commission (EC) and the National Communications Authority (NCA) over the control of the IT infrastructure of the election regulator. Insiders say this tussle led to the leaking of the complete voters’ register to the public over the weekend.
Over the weekend, a Google Drive link went viral on social media, directing Ghanaians to a comprehensive list of the newly compiled voters’ register by the EC. There was no announcement by any official comment from the EC when the data dump sparked concerns and suspicions.
The EC has since quietly deleted the data from the Google Drive link. The data shows the complete biodata of about 16 million registered voters in what is suspected to be a compromising of EC’s data centre.
About two weeks ago, EC insiders told of massive data getting missing from the electoral database with suspicions that some IT staff of the EC has been compromised.
The EC suspecting this has reportedly moved some IT staff away from the data centre in a move that has invited the National Communications Authority (NCA) to attempt to seize control of the EC data, resulting in reported antagonism between some IT personnel at the EC and personnel from NCA.
Critics believe that the EC’s system has been compromised, given the problems the election regulator has encountered since it railroaded the country into parting with over GHC 400 million to compile a new voters’ register, despite the existing register having been used for several credible elections in the past couple of years.
Signals from the EC has also not helped allayed suspicions that all is not well. For instance, shortly after the voters’ registration, thousands of people suddenly realised the Voters’ ID Cards they were issued with were blanks because, during the exhibition of the register, tens of thousands of people realised their names were not on the register.
For the first time in the history of the Fourth Republic, the EC was forced to organise an emergency re-registration, barely two months after it had compiled a brand new register.
Shortly afterwards, the EC claimed that it will deploy manual voter verification alongside the supposed new biometric verification machines that the EC had claimed it bought when it started the new voters’ registration.
Meanwhile, as the main reason for the EC convincing the country to stage a new voters registration exercise, the EC had claimed the biometric features of the former voters register and biometric verification machines were outdated, and that the new one will enhance electronic verification with complementary features such as biometric fingerprint verification and facial recognition devices.
According to policy think-tank IMANI, the EC is using propaganda to manage the serious gaffes it had committed in the past few months around its preparation for the general elections, including the latest data dump of voters’ register data in the public domain.
“The latest episode of this PR-driven “transparency binge” is the decision to dump the national voters register into the public domain without preamble or clear policy. In the new flash and bling of EC communications, this is supposed to be the crowning evidence of their trustworthiness. Far from being reassuring, such conduct reveals the EC to be impulsive, focused on bling over substance, and given to distraction and diversionary tactics even as the real issues of accountability continue to be ignored by this highly non-transparent organisation,” IMANI wrote in a statement released today.
According to IMANI, the EC has hired professional propagandists to take the place of its PR department to paint a rosy picture of the work of the EC.
“In the last few weeks, the propaganda and PR machinery of the Electoral Commission has been in overdrive. The central theme being pushed is “transparency”. Having hired sleek PR agencies and sidelined the career public servants in its communications department, the new management of the Electoral Commission (EC) has been churning out non-stop messaging meant to convince us all that it is the most transparent organisation on Earth since Adam and Eve found fig-leaves to cover their nakedness,” IMANI jabbed the EC.
Meanwhile, critics think the dumping of the voters’ register in the public domain has exposed millions of Ghanaians to the dangers of identity theft by nefarious gangs.