Voter Register: Imani Comparing Nokia 3310 and Huawei Y9

Jacob Osei Yeboah

A 2016 Independent Presidential Aspirant, Jacob Osei Yeboah, has stated that various regional Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) Pricing Benchmarking Studies available do not support figures quoted by IMANI Ghana, leaders of the 18 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) against the compilation of new voters register in Ghana.

Responding to a release by IMANI Ghana which suggests that the Electoral Commission (EC) is not saving the country money as it has claimed in its defence for a new voters register, Mr. Yeboah indicated that the cost is dependent on the specifications of BVR kits used by respective countries as well as the branding. “Don’t call Nokia 3310 and Huawei Y9 as mobile phones and conclude Huawei Y9 is too expensive,” he has told IMANI.

IMANI’s Argument

Imani Ghana has claimed that the proposed pricing suggested by the EC for the BVRs and Biometric Verification Devices (BVDs) it intends to buy at $3,500 and $400 respectively are too high. They claim that Zimbabwe’s ZEC (that country’s elections management body), which opened up the entire procurement process, from inception planning to vendor demos, in stark contrast to Ghana’s opaque process, ended up procuring 3000 BVRs from the Laxton Group in 2017/2018 for $1300 per kit and an Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) from IPSIDY for less than $1.7 million. “These spending patterns, like the roughly $750 per next-generation, integrated, BVR tablet that Kenya procured for its most recent elections, or the $188 Nigeria paid for its BVDs, completely undermine the argument being propagated by the EC that by paying $3500, or even $3000, per BVR kit and $400 per BVD it is saving the country money,” they added.

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Imani thus suggested that if the EC adjusts its planned procurement spending pattern to suit the best practice in the Africa region, it can save at least 60 per cent of its projected expenditure on the BVMS. “These are the true potential savings the EC dare not consider,” said Imani Ghana.


International Competitive Tendering

However, JOY, as the independent Presidential Candidate is popularly known, posits that when you go on international competitive tendering, you cannot conjure the quotations except those submitted by Bidders.

He explained that the $3500 BVR is what the monopolistic vendor is quoting for refurbishing, whilst new ones will cost $5,145 adding that the EC is getting new one at $3000. “Apart from specifications, quantity discounts and Country specific scenarios can all play a factor. Imani research on monopolistic tendencies coupled of the same forewarning of EOL of equipment as an avenue to increase prices” he stated.


He has thus asked Imani to give credit to the current EC’s decisions and not hold the current for 2015 ill decisions urging them not to be simplistic in their analysis.  “I wish EC will have the opportunity to achieve this further savings all things being equal.”

He wondered whether Imani Ghana and the other CSOs really want Ghana to have its 2020 general elections with their posturing. “… is Imani suggesting EC to open tender again or to engage those vendors for the other countries. I can’t think far, Imani. And you still want EC to deliver election 2020?” he asked in disbelieve.

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Integrity Crisis

Mr. Yeboah has therefore advised Imani to rethink about their stance on the EC to protect their already soiled integrity following the hullaballoo that followed their scoring of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration in office. “My piece of advice else the integrity of your reports will be doubted afterwards. Stay above this as the President and NPP has challenged the credibility of your 48 per cent scoring,” he said.



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