The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) Jean Mensah has finally owned up that the weekend lead of detailed biodata of over 16 million Ghanaians on the new voters’ register was sanctioned by the hierarchy of the EC.
Jean Mensah justified the decision saying the EC breached no law by putting out such an unprecedented detailed list of voters in the public domain.
She made these comments as part of her opening remarks at a media training for journalists on electoral reporting in Accra today.
“C.I. 127 requires that the provisional voters’ register is published on our website….That same law states that the final register is published in a manner that the Commission deems fit,” Jean Mensah stated on Tuesday.
The EC Chairperson’s justification for releasing the list, however, flies in the face of the election regulators’ own reaction when the release sparked a massive backlash.
First of all, the EC gave no hint it was releasing the voters’ list to the public in such a suspicious manner: It was released via a Google Drive Link from the EC and it was blasted across social media.
There was no official statement and no comment from the EC when the public raised eyebrows. In less than two days after the release and backlash, the EC secretly deleted the link.
This action of the EC has raised serious suspicion among civil society groups and critics who believe the Jean Mensah-led EC was up to something dubious.
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.
Whatsup News has gathered 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.
Our sources say this tussle led to the leaking of the complete voters’ register to the public over the weekend and not necessarily because the EC was pursuing “transparency”.
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.