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General News of Thursday, 10 January 2013

Source: myjoyonline.com

EC’s admission of error in elections figure raises questions – Law lecturer

A Lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ghana, Mr. Kissi Adjabeng, says the admission by the Electoral Commission that it made a ‘genuine’ error in the figure of registered voters stated in the declared results raises questions as to what other errors may have been made.

He said the Commission’s admission, contained in its response to the petition filed by the opposition New Patriotic Party at the Supreme Court challenging the declaration of John Mahama as winner of the December polls, formed sufficient basis for the NPP’s case to go the full throttle.

The NPP pointed to the sudden jump in the number of registered voters from 14,031,793 (a figure given by the EC in November) to 14,158,890 (the figure stated during the declaration of the results) and wondered whether the Electoral Commission registered any new voters between November and December to account for the rise in the figure.

The EC in its response explained that "the figure of 14,158,890 registered voters stated in the declaration of results was an error occasioned by picking the wrong figure. The number of registered voters which should have been picked was 14,031,793".

It further stated that "…this error has no bearing whatsoever on the total votes cast in the election and, consequently, the valid votes obtained by each candidate. The error would only affect the voter turnout percentage and change it from 79.43 per cent to 80.15 per cent."

But Mr. Adjabeng told Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Wednesday that admission in and of itself constituted grounds for the whole elections process to be thoroughly investigated.

For him, it is entirely legitimate to ask, what other ‘genuine errors’ may have been made by the Commission in the election process which may have had a bearing on the outcome?

He said the Electoral Commission’s appeal to the Supreme Court to compel the petitioners – Nana Akufo-Addo, Presidential Candidate of the NPP, his running-mate Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and NPP Chairman, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey – to produce evidence to back its claims against the respondents was clear indication the EC was seeking to put the onus back on the NPP.

The petitioners, for instance claim in their petition that voting without verification - which was a clear violation of provisions of Constitutional Instrument (C.I. 75) which required every voter’s identity to be verified through a biometric verification machine – was allowed in large numbers of polling stations across the country.

This has been rejected by the second respondents (EC) who are demanding proof.

A member of the legal team of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), which has applied to the Supreme Court to join President John Mahama (the 1st respondent) in the case, Victor Adawudu, said the defence filed by the EC exposed the hollowness and the lies contained in the petition brought by the petitioners.

He said the request for better particulars of the claims of the three will make the point quite succinctly that the petitioners had no grounds in the first place to bright the petition.

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