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Opinions of Thursday, 29 August 2013

Columnist: Amenyo, Andrew

Coroner’s Inquest into the Ghana’s 2012 Election

and the” Political Death” of Nana Akufo-Addo

Any coroner’s inquest into the “political death” of Nana Akufo-Addo, taking into consideration the 2012 election petition, will reach an Open Verdict of “Chronic Systemic Failure due to Administrative and Clerical Errors resulting from Incapacity of the Presiding Officers to perform the duties entrusted to them”. “Chronic” in the sense that the administrative and clerical errors were associated with all elections conducted in pre-(colonial) and post-independent Ghana and are bound to occur in future elections as the usual common irregularities associated with elections all over the world due to human difficiency. Elections are conducted by humans and as humans, we are all fallible.

The errors are “systemic” as they affect all the contesting candidates equally and therefore should not be made to hurt the winner. Furthermore, the constitution has not prescribed “annulment of the results “as the solution as being sought by the petitioners. The election results should, therefore, stand as declared by the Electoral Commissioner. Panic ahead of the Court Verdict The court verdict is clearly and readily predictable. It is rather the people (including opinion leaders) who are knowingly expressing uncertainty and calling for “all-inclusive government” as a show or sign of respect to/for the Supreme Court and the petitioners who are creating panic among the citizenry. Opinion leaders must be bold to foretell the eminent political retirement of Nana Akufo-Addo in the open to save the nation from any predicament that may arise from the unpalatable court verdict.

Food for Thought as Basis for the above Assertions Contrary to the long-held view of the petitioners that the pink sheets are the primary election document, I beg to differ that it is rather the print-outs from the Biometric Verification Machine and the ballot papers.

Primary Election Document 1 – The Print-Outs from the Biometric Verification Machine (BVM) The petitioners failed to discharge their burden of proof that voters were allowed to vote without being verified by the BVM. The evidence to prove this statutory violation lies in the matching of the print-outs from the BVM against the voters (ballots cast) at the various polling stations to establish a discrepancy since the Electoral Commission vehemently denied the allegation. The failure of the Court to order this verification exercise to be carried out speaks for itself. The constitutional aspect of this allegation is a secondary issue.

Primary Election Document 2- The Ballot Papers

Over-voting and excess ballots can only be ascertained through ballot auditing and recount of ballots cast. Ballot accounting or recording on the face of the pink sheets alone does not pass the test of evidence as an incontrovertible proof of over-voting and excess ballots based on which a sitting president will be removed from office. This is a fact that the petitioners are aware of and, therefore, should be told the truth no matter how painful it is to calm the tension in the country.

“Unsigned” Pink Sheets

As I wrote in my previous article, it will be an absurdity for the Supreme Court to clothe the presiding officers with the power to annul polling station election results. This will be very problematic and chaotic to future elections in the country. It will also make selection of presiding officers a political decision with political parties and contesting candidates putting forward and vigorously doing underground work or bidding for their sympathisers to be selected. Furthermore, the petitioners have not produced any alternate results to discredit what are on the so-called unsigned pink sheets; so-called because polling/party agents signed. We as a nation may have to think of a way of dealing with or punishing electoral officers who failed woefully to perform their public duties but not to disenfranchise voters. Duplicate Serial Numbers The least said about it the better since serial numbers on the pink sheets are irrelevant to the election.

Once again, I wish to reiterate that the petition is an embarrassment to the NPP and the petitioners have only succeeded in creating and arming the opposition NDC with political campaign slogans such as “You and I were not there”, “Dr Pink Sheet”, “On the Face of the Pink Sheet” and “ Blank is equal to Zero” to mention a few.

Finally, the petitioners and for that matter the supporters of NPP must be told the bitter truth as is done in psychiatry to mental patients. This is the best help we can give to the NPP supporters and the best way to prepare for the Supreme Court verdict. Raising their hopes and expectations very high while it is patently clear that the decision will not go their way will only lead to rioting and chaos when the unfavourable verdict finally lands or splashes in their face. Telling them the truth ahead of the verdict will prevent surprise and shock associated with bad and negative news.

Opinion leaders in Ghana must stop behaving like the late Saddam Hussain of Iraq who continued to urge his people on by telling them that they were winning the Gulf War while he knew very well that the Allied Forces were killing his soldiers even to the extent of announcing to the whole nation that victory was on their side and in sight within 24 hours of his surrender to the Allied Forces.

A mad man must always be told the truth. If you deceive him and he finds out the truth or fail to fulfil a promise made to him, he will attack and kill you. 29TH AUGUST, 2013 WILL MARK THE CELEBRATION OF THE “POLITICAL DEATH AND BURIAL” OF NANA ADDO DANKWA AKUFO-ADDO UNDER THE THEME “RESPECT THE SANCTITY OF VOTES; LET MY VOTE COUNT”. Andrew Amenyo