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Feature Article of Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Columnist: Darko, Otchere

The EC’s Warning Can Be An Invitation.....

To Criminals That Support Any Party To Secretly “Stuff Ballot Boxes” With Stolen Ballot Papers In Constituencies Where They (The Criminals) Strongly Believes That Their Party Cannot Win Elections, Because Such Constituencies Form Part Of “A Banker-Region” To Their Biggest Rival Party.

By: Otchere Darko

Reference: “The Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, has disclosed that election results will be cancelled if the number of ballot papers in the ballot box is more than voters verified to vote.” Reference: Ghanaweb General News of Tuesday, 20 November 2012; Source: Daily Guide that bore the caption: “EC to cancel election results if.....”

The only scenario that can create the situation where “the number of ballot papers in any ballot box is more than the voters verified to vote” is where and when ‘criminals’ steal extra ballot papers and fill in these; and then manage to “stuff ballot boxes” with those illegitimate extra ballot papers. Where members of a party believe that they will surely win the elections [presidential or parliamentary or both] in any constituency, none of the members of such party will take the risk of “stuffing ballot boxes” with stolen ballot papers. However, where party members believe that they are most likely going to lose the elections, then they can take the risk of attempting to smuggle ballot papers from somewhere, with the help of sympathising election officials; and if their attempt succeeds, then they can find a way to put these stolen extra ballot papers in ballot boxes in those constituencies where they think they are likely to lose. For example, NDC members believe that the Volta Region is a “Sure-Banker Region” for them. They (NDC members) are not likely to worry about losing in Volta Region; and they will, therefore, not risk attempting to “stuff ballot boxes” anywhere in that Region. Members of their biggest rival party (NPP) may take the risk, if the chance is there. Similarly, in Ashanti Region, members of NPP are not likely to take such unnecessary risk, since they (NPP members) believe that they are always likely to win in Ashanti Region. On the other hand, members of NDC may risk to “stuff ballot boxes” in Ashanti Region to improving NDC’s chances of winning.

With the above warning given by the EC, however, there is an extra incentive for the criminal elements in the two dominant parties to attempt to get a few extra ballot papers to help them to get ‘just the extra votes’ they need to push the number of ballot papers in any one ballot box in any of such constituencies in the Volta Region or Ashanti Region, for example, to exceed the number of “voters verified to vote”. What makes this risk even more ‘tempting’ is the fact that in both Volta and Ashanti Regions, in particular, there is always a very high voters’ percentage turn-up, and that makes the needed extra ballot papers the “criminals” in the two dominant parties would need to tip the number of ballot papers in any ballot box in the Volta or Ashanti Region over and above the “voters verified to vote” very small.

For the reasons I have adduced above, I do advise the EC to rescind its decision “that election results will be cancelled if the number of ballot papers in the ballot box is more than voters verified to vote.” *What I think the EC should do is to ‘suspend the election results’ in all places where such ‘abnormality’ occurs, to enable the EC to investigate and establish how it was possible for the number of voters to exceed the number of registered and verified voters in the Voters Register in those places. Investigations may help the EC to identify culprits and their party or parties. Such culprits and their party or parties can then be punished. This post-investigation action will be fairer and better than “cancelling election results” without identifying the culprits involved and punishing them and their party or parties. *Will the EC be fair to NDC, for example, if it decided to cancel some election results in the Volta Region, without first investigating to identify the actual culprits who may not be members of NDC that has its biggest support in that “NDC’s Sure-Banker Region”? Similarly, will the EC be fair to NPP if it decided to cancel some election results in the Ashanti Region without first investigating to identify the actual culprits who may not be members of NPP that has its biggest support in that “NPP’s Sure-Banker Region”? *IT IS GOOD TO PUNISH WRONG DOERS; BUT, FAILING TO IDENTIFY THE RIGHT PEOPLE BEFORE INFLICTING PUNISHMENT CAN RESULT IN MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE.

Source: Otchere Darko

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