You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2018 01 12Article 616977

Opinions of Friday, 12 January 2018

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

Did Ex-President Mahama really express his dissatisfaction on Charlotte Osei’s work?

I was taken aback upon watching Ex-President Mahama on GTV a few days ago, where he ventilated his arousing disgust over the conduct of 2016 election and bizarrely alleged that it was characterised with unpardonable irregularities.

Ex-President Mahama went on to asseverate that he could have gone around the country to gather the evidence of the alleged irregularities and lodge a protest at the law court, but for NDC’s irrevocable belief in the democratic ideals.

If, indeed, former President Mahama was convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that there were unobjectionable irregularities in the 2016 election and failed to take action, then he did not discharge his duty as a patriotic Ghanaian, so to speak.

The other time I read from somewhere that some members of the opposition NDC have been blaming their humiliating 2016 election defeat on a technical hitch to their results collation system. How bizarre?

In fact, when I was perusing through the weird story, I thought I was dreaming. But I was not, I was alive and kicking. The story was so bizarre, so to speak.

After all, haven’t we been told by our apex court that elections are won at the polling stations? Indeed, the eminent Supreme Court judges pronouncement was in order.

Vote rigging, in my opinion, is comparable to a violation of allegiance to a sovereign nation. Thus frankly speaking, such a high crime must not and cannot be overlooked with a stark perfunctory.

Ironically, the worst part of vote rigging is that, the deserving winners’ may never know they ever won. How cruel, how pathetic and how unfair that would be?

Apparently, I have said time and time again that it is unacceptable for the electorates to go to the polls with a view to voting for their preferred candidate and only for the people behind the scenes to select who should become a winner.

In his 2012 election petition verdict, Justice Atuguba made some contestable observations, including the definition of over-voting which was one of the claims brought up by the petitioners.

“The first is where the number of those who voted at a polling station exceeds the number of voters contained in the relevant polling station register.” “The second situation is where the number of ballots in the ballot book exceeds the number of ballot papers issued to the relevant polling station.”

“Pondering over these two categories closely, I would think that the second category of over voting is rather an instance of ballot-stuffing as testified by Johnson Asiedu-Nketia,” the presiding judge delineated in his 48-page opinion.

Given the suspects apparent contemptible approach to gaining electoral advantage over their opponents, I will forever be in disagreement with anyone who acknowledges ballot stuffing as a mere misdemeanour.

Yes, I wholly assent to the fact that ballot stuffing does exist, but the big question is: would such squeamish and conspiratorial plot not amount to over voting, going by Asiedu Nketia’s unconventional definition of over voting?

If you may recall, during the 2012 election petition hearing, Asiedu Nketia infamously referred to over voting as “the influx of foreign materials in the ballot box”.

Interestingly, however, Dr Afari-Gyan admitted under cross examination during the 2012 election petition hearing that over voting may also occur in the event of the votes in the ballot box exceeding the number of verified voters.

This, for me, is a poignant definition of over voting, as in my opinion it would be easier to fish out the phony votes or stuffed ballot papers (Apologies to Justice Atuguba).

I would like to believe that the 2012 election petition spawned enormous benefits, most notably, the eminent Supreme Court Judges pronouncement to the effect that elections are usually won at the polling stations and not in the courtrooms.

Obviously, such pronouncement illuminated the then opposition NPP’s benightedness on the need to be more vigilant on future elections.

Unsurprisingly, however, the NPP Party leadership put in place perfect strategy. More importantly, the party loyalists and sympathisers were more vigilant before, during and after the 2016 election.

Take, for instance, we were told that the NPP leadership hired erudite information technology personnel gave bespoke training to their numerous polling station agents and motivated them, which resulted in motivation to transfer during the electoral process.

We also heard that in the Volta Region (the stronghold of the NDC), the NPP leadership prudently prevented non-Ghanaians from voting through their ‘Operation Eagle Eye.

Coincidentally, however, the Region registered a very low voter turnout, and the NDC’s votes in the Volta Region reduced drastically compared to the previous elections.

Somehow, the trend continued in almost all the ten regions in Ghana. Thus, many NDC observers have been attributing the reason to voter apathy. But I, for one, would not buy such a specious observation.

The fact of the matter, however, is that the NPP leadership played their cards right on that occasion through well-executed strategy and the all-important vigilance.

So, to the NDC sore losers: cease your needless political insobriety and concentrate on winning elections at the polling stations rather than always banking all hopes on technological and behind the scenes gimmicks.

K. Badu, UK.