By Yaw Ansah, GNA
Accra, June 12, GNA - The Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference (CBC) on Tuesday offered to support the Electoral Commission (EC) to educate the public on electoral processes through the Church’s Department of Social and Communication (DEPSECOM).
In this regard, the DEPSCOM will work hand-in-hand with the EC to disseminate educational messages on their various platforms.
Most Reverend Bishop Philip Naameh, the President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference made the offer on Tuesday when Mrs Jean Mensa, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission led a team of Commissioners of the EC to pay a courtesy call on the Catholic Bishops Conference in Accra.
Included in the team were her two deputies – Mr Samuel Tettey, in-charge of Operations, and Dr. Eric Bossman Asare, in-charge of Corporate Services, Madam Adwoa Asuama Abriefa, a Commissioner.
Present at the meeting were Most Rev John Bonaventure Kwofie, the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Accra, Bishop Joseph Afrifa-Agyekum, Bishop of Koforidua and other Reverend Fathers.
He pledged the Church’s unflinching support towards deepening the knowledge of the public on electoral processes through education, adding that, “Supporting your work means we are contributing to peace and unity of the country”.
Archbishop Naameh, expressed joy at the decision by the EC to meet stakeholders as well as its effort to bring the Commission close to the people.
Mrs Mensa, on the limited registration, said it was not a deliberate effort by the EC to disenfranchise electorates, but explained that when the Commission assumed office, there was a proposal of 56 million dollars to upgrade the biometric kits and the data centre.
The EC, contacted an European Union Technology Consultant to assess the proposal and recommended that it was not prudent to spend that quantum in procuring modern technology.
“The situation was like buying a 2011 made mobile phone which was obsolete and expensive than a 2019 model, which was more user-friendly. Per the analysis for instance, if we bought biometric verification devices vis-à-vis refurbishing the old one, we would save the country about 20 million dollars,” she said.
“If we had gone ahead with that proposal, the EC would have bought old kits and upgraded them to use for the referendum. This meant that right after that exercise, those kits would not be useful again and we would have wasted the 56 million”.
She noted that to ensure value for money and fulfill its constitutional mandate, the EC considered using the kits that were functioning to conduct these various exercises.
Recognising that there were hard to reach areas, she said the Commission earmarked 1,573 centres in addition to the district offices where people could participate in the exercise.
“We even considered providing vehicles to cart people to go and vote. We also thought of extending the days from 14 to 21 days just to ensure that people participate in the process,” she said.
Mrs Mensa said once the Supreme Court had ruled on the injunction, the EC would meet and decide on a new date for the limited registration exercise.