The issues with Ghana’s voter register has been raging after the main opposition party, the New Patriotic Party, took the results of the 2012 elections to the Supreme Court.
The call for a credible voters register has been supported by a majority of political parties in Ghana, with the governing National Democratic Congress maintaining that the register is good enough to be used for the next election, which is due in sixteen months.
Ghana needs a credible voters register but managers of the process and the government have not done enough to provide the basic thing we need to facilitate such, the National ID.
These are some #kpaku ideas:
1. First of all, we must not approach this from the angle of who can talk loud on radio or insult on Facebook….this is a true technological challenge and it will take people with great foresight to see it through.
2. All stakeholders must admit the discrepancies in the voters’ register.
3. We should have a one-for-all National ID System. This means the National Identification Authority should be taken serious! That institution should be classified as one of our top-most security agencies, maybe in the same bracket as the Military or Presidency.
– The National ID should also act as Voters’ ID, Drivers’ Licence and whatever biometric ID we plan on creating.
– We should reconcile/match the biometric data of EC, DVLA and SSNIT to be sure a true identity is generated for individuals.
4. We need to collaborate with our most immediate neighbouring countries (Togo, Burkina-Faso, Ivory Coast and if possible Nigeria). We can mine and match voters’ biometric data of this neighbouring countries to clear doubts of Non-Ghanaians in our register.
Fingerprint bio-data as we know is unique, that could be the primary key in matching records. Doubting records will be categorised and dealt with. What will be the essence of ECOWAS if we can’t collaborate on this important exercise?
5. Then the NIA in collaboration with the EC, will generate new National ID cards based on existing data and correctly apportion them to electoral areas/polling stations.
6. As a case for quality assurance, the NIA, EC, DVLA and SSNIT should all combine their biometric registration devices to be deployed across the country for a Fresh National ID registration exercise. That exercise will be used to cross check records of the already generated cards in point 5 above. And also provide an opportunity to register and issue new National ID cards for those who have not registered in the previous NIA exercise.
7. Based on information provided to the NIA, we will say goodbye to our every 2-years registration of people who attained 18. If Kofi was 14years when he got a National ID, he automatically becomes eligible to vote when he is 18.
8. The Birth and Death Registry should also come under the umbrella of NIA. All new Ghanaians will be captured in our National Database. At the age they are eligible for a National ID, we just issue it….no drama whatsoever!
9. Our National ID Database get updated as when. If someone requires a driving licence that will be updated in the National Database. If you require a Social Security number, SSNIT generates that and updates it in the National Database…if you get admission to UG, that is updated in the National Database through an API or interface that connects UG’s database to NIA.
10. The National ID card will be a point-stick or keys not a host of an individual’s records.
The ideal National ID that should be generated by NIA should have unique ID (that should a card holders’ national Id till he/she dies), picture and some basic bio info printed on it. It could be a chip based card that when slotted or swiped into a biometric device, pulls appropriate information about an individual. Or a card that reads additional data via barcode.
If one needs to attain a drivers’ license for instance, the National ID card will be swiped against a biometric device provided or configured by NIA. DVLA can only access restricted info…i.e those information in the National Database that is needed for a drivers’ license. When the Drivers’ license is issued, that record is updated in the national database.
In simple terms, we wouldn’t keep or host records on the individual ID cards. The ID cards become keys to open the records stored in our National Database. This also holds an argument for security. If an individual should lost an ID card, we can be sure hackers or crooks will not access all the ‘secret’ information of that individual.
11. A serious National ID Database should tell us with confidence how many unemployed graduates we have, how many tax-payers we have…how many businesses an individual owes, the worth of an individual (bank accounts), etc. A true National ID should help us reduce crime, help us effectively tax, help us take smart decisions and help us avoid future credible or bogus voters’ register drama!
12. With a simple kpakpakpa estimate, if we are serious and smart with, it should not cost us more than $200million to carry-through points 3 – 11. Not that we are going to start everything from scratch….We already have some resources to build on.
13. Should the above be well implemented, our next headache of double voting is automatically solved!
The next National challenge will be to find solution to our problem of voting based on emotions or voting by association to ancestors…and start choosing leaders based on competence and proper thinking! #kpakuThought