The Reality And The Myth Of The UMaT Online Voting
Introduction On UMaT Online Voting
In the wake of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, the world has undergone a robust transformation, of which The University Of Mines And Technology is no exception. Novel ways of doing things have been introduced. A classic example is when for the first time in many years, the UMaT SRC vetting committee resorted to the deployment of technology (zoom) in vetting aspirants.
Consequentially, the UMaT SRC electoral commission also decided to opt for an online voting system which is commendable, but for the deficit that shrouds the chosen voting system which was only explained in details to the aspirants after the vetting had taken place. Subsequently, a section of the aspirants in the SRC elections have petitioned the venerable appellate body of the UMaT SRC for a rectification of the issues.
There is a section of few students who have deliberately resorted to peddling palpable falsehood about the motive of the petition for political expedience as some aspirants and their cohorts also see this as an opportunity. They believe their political survival depends on the ability to push these falsehood and that, the student populace believing in those messages will serve them well and increase their chances in winning the impending elections. They say among other things that, the petition is borne out of dissatisfaction of the vetting results.
They also say that, the signatories to the petition are individuals who harbor fears of losing the elections and some even go ahead questioning why a petition was not sent to halt the online vetting in the first place. Not even the motives, stated in black and white in the petition would deter them from engaging in their self-orchestrated and deliberate misinformation.
It is worth noting that, a student who happens not to be an aspirant on July 2, 2020 petitioned the Judicial committee and copied the Dean of students stating the halting of the online vetting as one of the relief, but the petition was never attended to. The introduction of the online voting system into our body politics in this era of the COVID-19 pandemic is a laudable one and the electoral commission need to be applauded. That notwithstanding, the UMaT SRC EC attempt to deploy this technology should not be a caveat to disenfranchise students.
It should not be a lead way to trample upon the sanity and supremacy of the SRC constitution, even though we are not in normal times. This has been the bone of contention. This is the matter before the appellate body and this is the true motive behind the petition and nothing else. The IT firm contracted by the EC and its associates has admitted that, not all students whose details are presented to them will have access to their pins for the purposes of voting. It says, per their experience, it is about some 90% of students that would receive their pins.
Besides, all international students currently not in the country cannot vote. In all, an estimated number of not less than 400 students cannot vote with the current online voting system and it can be any student including the aspirants themselves. The voting policy document that is supposed to be the legal framework for the online voting has also been cited with some inconsistencies with the UMaT SRC constitution, which is the supreme law of the SRC.
In the petition before the appellate body, the petitioners have sought for the improvement of the online system to allow every legitimate student to vote, should it be the way to get new leaders. The petitioners have also sought for a rectification of the policy document so that, it will be consistent with the SRC constitution.
Some argue that, 90% is a good percentage with justification that most of the previous elections held on the university campus and even in Ghana have had turn outs far less than the 90%. That argument does not hold. Voting is a right but to vote is a choice. Every elections must give all eligible voters the opportunity to vote (100% and not less than that) whether to vote or not to vote depends solely on the individual. That right can never be taken away not by the electoral commission or by a system and not for whatsoever reason. Students of UMaT have long yearned for leaders who will stand and defend their interest and right.
The petitioners have already proven beyond reasonable doubt. Majority of the student body believes the petitioners are the missing piece in the SRC administration who are ready to take on the system and make things right. It is not surprising they have the support of close to 80% of the student population per an independent survey conducted.
Some students go ahead to saying that “Any aspirant who sees nothing wrong with this current online voting system need to rethink”.
The appellate body has decided to sit on the petition on July 24, 2020 at exactly 12:00pm. Students wish a consensus will be reached during the meeting. A decision that will not disenfranchise and leave no one behind. COVID-19 is real, please keep safe.
(Sarpong Albert – Trebla, George Grant’s University of Mines and Technology)
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The Reality And The Myth Of The UMaT Online Voting
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