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Tamale does not need an interchange -Hannah Bissiw.

During the 2016 electioneering campaign, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) told Ghanaians how it have improved upon the infrastructure of the country. The New Patriotic Party (NPP), on the other hand, told voters measures they would put in place to improve upon infrastructure.

Then incumbent President then, who was also the flagbearer of the NDC, John Dramani Mahama, together with his party bigwigs, subsequently published a book titled the Green Book, where they listed all the projects they had executed during their tenure, and these projects included interchanges as well.

The NPP, however, punctured holes in most of the claims by the NDC, and promised to do better when given the mandate, a promise which contributed largely to their landslide victory at the 2016 general elections.

Fast forward, the Akufo-Addo government, through its commitment to spread development to every corner of the nation, is constructing the first-ever interchange in Tamale, but a national executive of the NDC, who had touted construction of interchanges as an achievement, now believes a different project could have been undertaken instead of the interchange.

During an interview with Tamale Radio, a video of which is posted on the station's Facebook page, the National Women's Organiser of the NDC, Dr Hannah Bissiw, who was in the studio with the party's National Organiser, Joshua Akamba, described the much-praised project as needless.

Commenting on the Electoral Commission's (EC) plan to compile a new voters' register, upon which Parliament has approved some GHS390 million for the exercise, Dr Hannah Bissiw said the government could have used that money to repair roads in Tamale.

With passion, she continued, 'they (government) could have used that money to do the interchange that Tamale people... I don't even think that we in Tamale will say we need an interchange.

'We say give us good roads, give us water, give us good schools for our children to attend. I mean give us good livelihoods. That's what we want. So that they'll stop deceiving the people of Tamale with these roofing sheets that they've used to be blocking our roads and causing so much discomfort, inconvenience in the metropolis,' vociferous Dr Hannah Bissiw ranted.

Nonetheless, Dr Hannah Bissiw's party, the NDC, is vehemently opposing the decision of the EC, an independent electoral body, to have a new voter register for the 2020 election.

Even the party's representatives in Parliament boycotted the sitting which discussed the budget for the new register.

Last weekend, the NDC joined supporters of the Progressive People's Party (PPP), People's National Convention (PNC), Every Ghanaian Living Everywhere (EGLE) Party, All Progressives Party (APC), and Great Consolidated Population Party (GCPP) to demonstrate in Tamale against the new voters' register.

Meanwhile, 13 other political parties have backed the EC's decision.

The parties, which include the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG), National Democratic Party (NDP), and People's National Convention (PNC), among others, believe the EC has made a solid case for a new register in terms of cost, time and credibility.

Solidifying its stance, the EC during a news conference said it took the decision based on the advice of its IT team and external Consultants to the effect that, it would be prudent to acquire a new system rather than refurbish the current system.

According to the Commission, in the view of experts, the cost of frequent replacement of failing parts and the renewal of warranties through third-parties was comparable to the acquisition of a brand new system with full service and warranties.

In effect, the amount of money spent on refurbishing parts and renewing warranties could be used to acquire a brand new system that is robust, modern, durable, and user-friendly with full functionality and warranties.

Worthy of note, the EC explained further that the equipment the entire voter management system runs on, from enrollment, duplication, and adjudication to voters' verification was obsolete and no longer supported by the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM).

It added that the report from the immediate past vendors of the solution indicated that the Commission would assume so much needless risks if steps were not taken to change the equipment.
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Publication:Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra, Ghana)
Date:Jan 23, 2020
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