The Electoral Commission (EC) has terminated the contract of the foreign IT firm engaged in 2012 to manage the country’s elections data centre.
According to the EC, the foreign firm was given unfettered access to the data centre, could shut down systems arbitrarily, and was charging US$5.2 million for maintenance and internet annually.
The commission said last year, the firm presented a budget of US$56 million to upgrade the IT systems to be able to conduct the referendum held late last year.
The Chairperson of the EC, Mrs Jean Mensa, said the commission decided to terminate the contract and, instead, use its internal I.T staff to manage all I.T related activities involved in the management of elections.
In a meeting with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the Jubilee House in Accra yesterday, the EC Chairperson said the commission’s internal I.T staff of 55 personnel had been well trained to manage the electoral systems.
She said the internal staff was used to conduct last year’s referendum successfully to save the country from spending US$56 million on systems upgrade.
Mrs Mensa indicated that the local staff, when given the necessary training and support, could manage the country’s elections successfully “without placing the sovereignty of the country in the hands of a foreign entity.”
The EC Chairperson said she observed certain institutional lapses at the EC when she took over last year and described the culture there as “a free for all.”
“It is an institution that is not founded on rules, administrative policies and governance framework. There were no policies to guide finance, procurement, human resource, and administration,” she said.
Mrs Mensah noted that the commission existed solely as an election machine, with weak internal structures, systems, and policies.
To resolve that, she said the EC had engaged KPMG to carry out an institutional assessment which would be followed with a proper framework to govern all internal activities and practices.
Furthermore, she said the commission was making efforts to establish a permanent legal department and restructure its procurement department.
“We make procurements running into millions but we have only two people there. We are strengthening our capacity by bringing on board new staff,” he said.
Mrs Mensa spoke about the commission’s decision to institutionalise its Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) and efforts aimed at ensuring that political parties complied with all relevant legal provisions.
She commended President Akufo-Addo for giving the commission the necessary support and noted that the President had, since her assumption as EC Chairperson, not influenced its work in any way.
On electoral violence, the EC Chairperson said the commission had learnt lessons from the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election and was working with the security services on how to prevent such violence in future.
She said a security task force had been established to prepare and identify flash points to prevent violence in the general elections next year.
President Akufo-Addo, on his part, commended the commission for the work done so far and pledged to give it the necessary support.
He said the government would not involve itself in the work of the EC and urged the commission not to be open for manipulation.
“What the ballot should do is to give the verdict of the will of the people. That is what should take place in any functioning democratic state,” he said.
According to the President, any form of interference in the work of the EC would be a distortion of the popular will of the people.
While commending the commissioners for institutionalising the IPAC meeting, he praised them for their efforts to reform the internal structures of the commission.
He said it was alarmed to hear that the commission’s I.T systems were managed arbitrarily by a foreign firm which had monopoly of the data centre.
The President said the decision to use internal staff to manage all aspects of the electoral process had the full support and commendation of the government.
Curvy high school students disqualified for ‘swimsuit violation’
‘Curvy’ High School Swimmer Disqualified for Swimsuit ‘Malfunction’ — Feminists Cry ‘Body Shaming’
A high school swimmer in Alaska was denied victory at a swim meet Friday because of a “uniform violation,” triggering accusations of sexism and racism.
Breckynn Willis, a 17-year-old state champion swimmer for Dimond High School in Anchorage, emerged from the water after a dominating performance in the 100-meter freestyle. But the male referee immediately disqualified Willis, ruling that her swimsuit was exposing too much of her butt.
An official at the meet, Annette Rohde, told the Anchorage Daily News that a female referee said the bottom of the teenager’s suit “was so far up I could see butt cheek touching butt cheek.’’
Rohde recalled that after the meet she warned the referee, who has not been identified, “This is going to blow up.”
The referee did not respond to requests for comment by local press.
However, as Rohde predicted, the disqualification became a hot topic in Anchorage and the Alaskan swim and dive community. Then, on Saturday, a woman who coached Willis when she was younger blogged about the incident in a Medium post, and it became national news.
“In a world where young girls are told at every turn that the skin they’re in is not good enough for a thousand reasons, the last thing we need to do in youth athletics is add to that unhealthy dialogue,” wrote Lauren Langford, who coaches swimming at Anchorage’s West High School. “If you do not like the way that swimsuits fit on these girls’ bodies then don’t look; they are minors, children, and no one should be looking at them anyway.”
“All of these girls are all wearing suits that are cut the same way,” Langford later told the Washington Post, referring to the school-issued one-pieces. “And the only girl who gets disqualified is a mixed-race girl with rounder, curvier features.”
“We have a term for it — it’s called a suit wedgie,” she added, of the way the Willis was wearing the suit. “And wedgies happen. It’s uncomfortable. No one’s going to walk around that way intentionally.”
Breckynn Willis and her sisters had faced criticism for overexposure before
Langford’s outrage was echoed by feminists and other social-justice-oriented commentators on Twitter, many of whom cried “body shaming.”
“We treat women like garbage,” said Washington Post foreign affairs reporter Emily Rauhala in response to her colleagues report.
We treat women like garbage https://t.co/ve2SuirZ1l
— Emily Rauhala (@emilyrauhala) September 10, 2019
Rep. Judy Chu, a California Democrat, declared: “Stop. Policing. Girls’. Bodies.”
Stop. Policing. Girls'. Bodies. https://t.co/4u78OuuQJp
— Judy Chu (@RepJudyChu) September 10, 2019
Transgender cyclist and activist Rachel McKinnon reacted withcharacteristic belligerence.
Fuck this bullshithttps://t.co/gA00dvwORA
— Dr. Rachel McKinnon (@rachelvmckinnon) September 10, 2019
As of Tuesday afternoon, the news did not seem to have infiltrated conservative Twitter, which tends to be less sympathetic to identity-based claims of injustice.
According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, the governing body for high school athletics in Alaska, all female swimmers must cover their buttocks and breasts and all male swimmers cover their buttocks.
Rohde and a local swim coach told the Daily News on Monday that they had never seen Willis deliberately adjust her swimsuit to make it more revealing. Whether or not that matters is disputed.
However, the Post reported Tuesday that Willis has been criticized for alleged overexposure before. Last year, a parent took a photo of her from behind and shared it with other parents as proof that girls on the team were wearing inappropriate swimwear.
Meagan Kowatch, Willis’ mother, told KTUU on Monday that the referee who made the call had previously embarrassed one of her two other daughters by critiquing the fit of her suit during a meet. She called for Willis’ victory to be reinstated and for the referee to be barred from officiating her daughters’ future races.
Also Monday, Anchorage School District officials announced that they are reviewing the referee’s decision, saying the disqualification “appears to stem from a difference of opinion in the interpretation of the rules governing high school swim uniforms.”
An Old Vandal Makes Great Strides In Europe.
The maxim is always advanced that “to whom much is given much is expected” but a dude on made grounds has sought to negate this time tested popular saying. With little, Frank Agyeman Prempeh is giving big time back to the society.
Mr. Agyeman Prempeh cognizant of the array of challenges faced his country on many grounds has resorted to teaming up with external donors to offer the needed support to resolve many of the outstanding issues in the country.
The erstwhile Presiding Member of the House of Lords in Commonwealth Hall harbours a long term vision of offering aid to the orphanage homes . Last year on his birthday he was joined with one European Lawyer, JEAN MARIE DE MEESTER, to make a donation to an orphanage home in Nungua .
He has recently been meeting some foreigners in Belgium, France and other European countries who are interested in improving the medical services in the country to make these donations .
Earlier this week he joined his patrons and few executives of the NGO in Belgium to fill up a 40 ft container with over 30 beds , 25 wheel chairs , and 75 boxes of cloths meant for donations to hospitals and orphanage homes in Ghana.
Mr. Frank Agyemang-PREMPEH maintained that all these strides have not been easy and it has taken him a lot of industry to achieve this; from the registration process of the NGO through to today.
As the container handling the medical equipment dispatched to Tema Port the Medihelp team is hoping and appealing that it will receive an import waiver given that it is meant for donation to the vulnerable citizens of Ghana.
UDS:Who wears the crown?
The much awaited campus pageant show FACE OF NAVRONGO CAMPUS comes off this Saturday, 8:30 pm at the school’s auditorium. Speculations have stared on who is going to wear the crown this time, will it be WENDY-she won “MISS AKWAABA” and is loved by most of the famous guys on campus, AISHA – well known for her entrepreneurial skills and some assets she possesses, LILIAN -the girl who has caught the eye of the guys on campus, she was also crowned “MISS NAVRO” or SABINA a beautiful ebony girl who is loved by her peers?
Over the years, we see contestants modeling, exhibiting their talents, giving speeches that hit on relevant issues in our societies, and many more but this year, the scope has been broadened with the introduction of cultural display and runway!
Last year was fun packed where HARRIET took the crown with some beautiful dance moves as her talent, a wonderful speech that touched on important things in our society and a whole lot. The 1st runner up AMORINA also proved not only guys can make use of the paint brush and pencil and leave the figure stunning! She drew as her talent and also gave us a cat walk with her long beautiful legs. The 2nd runner up ANAPORKA also gave us some Whitney Houston kinda voice that will get you on your feet, sway you and make you float in the air.
Because of the excitement the event brings, both students and natives partake in the event. The lecturers are not left out, some come to adjudicate while others come to observe the show-and they are always left mesmerized by the performances of the contestants.
Fashion is the order of the day! The program has got a lot of class-trendy shoes, clothes and other accessories, the perfect blend of different shades of colors to achieve a fine and a flawless combination is really something to talk about. Some go traditional while others go western and the best dressed is awarded.
This year’s show is going to be a blast, you would not miss for anything and don’t forget to vote for your favourite contestant. Just download SPEAKUPP on Appstore or Play Store or dial *713*714#, then dial 8 to vote for your favourite contestant. Come find out who wins the crown!
By: Kwame Boakye
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