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Opinions of Saturday, 5 November 2016

Columnist: Agbenu, Charles

Supreme Court plugs the great electoral loophole; NDC/EC in disarray.

Electoral Commission logo . File photo.

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My uncle philosophized in the 1990s thus: -‘’everything can really be made complicated and the same can be made simple. It all depends on the one driving the system’’ In other words, the system operators can make or unmake the operations simple or complicated. The behavior of the Electoral Commission (EC) as backed by the NDC has proved my uncle right.

EC is simply an example of what my uncle talked about. EC has made its operations all along complicated but with simple reforms things can be ordered and streamlined practically to simplify our election operations, stabilize the processes and generate the requisite confidence in the system.

With the bitter controversy about the 2012 Presidential Elections which culminated into the Election Petition, it is a wonder how EC would still shamelessly want us to go into 2016 elections with the same baggage of confusions, firstly, with the Voters’ Register and secondly, with the non-disclosures of constituency collation sheets results.

The opaque way of doing things do not make sense to me. NDC are surely the harbinger of these strange opacity. They just don’t want any reforms. They just want the disorderly status quo to remain to facilitate their electoral exploitative acts. They even resist simple and effective National Identification System to streamline and regulate our socio-politico lives.

Overall, we Ghanaians too are something. The sort of docility Ghanaians have displayed without pouring out in mass protests on some of these EC rots is amazing. We laugh and move on just allowing simple things to overwhelm us. My Nigeria friends are amazed and wonder whether Ghanaians have an outrage?

The EC has somehow succeeded to bamboozle its way, with the connivance of the disorderly and unsystematic NDC executive into using the Old Register for 2016. Whether EC will succeed again in rejecting a fresh register for 2020 is what I am not sure of. Fortunately for the 2016 elections, the Supreme Court has broken the sacrosanctity of the 275 constituency collation sheets, which have created myths and complications around our elections since 1992.

The origin of this matter is interesting. Early last year, NPP suggested as part of their reform package of proposals to EC towards 2016 elections that constituency collation result sheets must be made available to the party representatives. In fact amongst others, NPP made these 4 specific proposals: -

A. Copies of the EC’s collation sheets - EL 23 A – Presidential and EL 23 B - Parliamentary shall be given to the political parties..
B. Constituency collation forms should be duly signed by Returning Officers and Agents of candidates.
C. Constituency collation forms should be in multiples and copies should be given out to Agents of the candidates and one posted conspicuously at the constituency collation centers.
D. The EC shall publicly display a copy of the constituency collation sheets in its district, regional, and national offices.

Happily, the Electoral Reforms Committee set by EC led by Justice VCRAC Crabbe duly accepted the NPP proposals A, C and D and embodied same in their final report. Reference; -
Well-meaning Ghanaians rejoiced because, it looked like the true transparency of the electoral process was going to be established by these adoptions. However, the EC rudely interrupted the rejoicings with the CI 94, which would govern the 2016 elections, which contained rather the objectionable stipulation that no political party or presidential candidate or their agents is entitled to a copy of the 275 collation sheets. Of course the NDC majority were behind the obnoxity.

We remind ourselves that the 275 collation sheets are crucial in the process because they conveniently constitute proof that the results declared by the EC match the results captured on the 39,000 pink sheets. In the absence of the 275 collation sheets, 39,000 sheets are to be relied upon. These 39,000 pink sheets were the ones NPP tendered in the Supreme Court. It was very unwieldy and NDC confused the situation by saying they would call 39,000 witnesses in the NPP petition. NDC are clearly bent on taking Ghanaians for monkee rides forever.

Going forward, any rational being would think new CI formulations will simplify the system to target manageable 275 collation sheets in future disputes. But not with EC. Still not with NDC. They unscrupulously connived and forced down our throats theloophole- ridden CI 94 for 2016 elections. It’s a wonder how EC and NDC still want to perpetuate disorderliness and chaos in the face of the 2012 election petition and the associated happenings. Of course, the big idea is to make things difficult to challenge any rigged elections, which is the NDC cup of tea.

Enter the great patriot, the Petitioner Lawyer Kwesi Nyame Eshun, a former Director of Research at Parliament to challenge CI 94 at the Apex Court to expose the aforesaid flaws; his lawyer being another illustrious and great patriot, Akoto Ampaw; to get the Supreme Court to frustrate the NDC wicked stratagem. The Supreme Court as expected, pointedly and roundly ruled that the EC make signed constituency collation sheets for Presidential elections available to parties and their agents after close of polls and subsequently after close of collations prior to sending them to the EC headquarters in Accra. Read portions of the Akoto Ampaw writ which was upheld by the SC thus, ‘’It defies reason and constitutes an absurdity for the EC not to make provisions for furnishing the candidates or their agents with copies of the collation sheets thereof at the constituency collation centers’’

NDC are in complete disarray with the S. Court order to EC to plug the famous electoral loophole whereby constituency collation sheets are perennially manipulated, propped by STL duplicity and with delayed results from NDC strongholds like Ketu South & North, North Tongu etc to conjure phantom and voodoo figures to overwhelm the real results. With the collation results available to the parties, transmission intermediaries like STL are clearly now redundant and uneconomic, there will be no incentive to deliberately delay constituency results which now can’t be altered.

Lawyers Kwesi Nyame Eshun and Akoto Ampaw and the Supreme Court judges, you are my men of the year 2016.

Charles Agbenu

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