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Opinions of Monday, 8 February 2021

Columnist: P.K. Sarpong

EC’s 2020 strong room was no secret cult

Jean Adukwei Mensa, EC chair Jean Adukwei Mensa, EC chair

Oftentimes, people perceive the strong room of the Electoral Commission as some grotesque, clandestine four-walled building where election results are massaged or changed.

Many are under the mistaken impression that even if a political party doesn’t do well in the elections, collated results faxed or emailed to the strong room can be changed to suit the convenience of that political party.

More worrying is the belief that if a presidential candidate does not perform well at the polling stations during the elections, the EC uses the strong room to propel that candidate to the top as long as the candidate is perceived to be in the good books of the leadership of the electoral body. This is an illusion. It is a fallacy. No such thing takes place in the strong room and same must be demystified.

Zeroing the current brouhaha of events alleged to have occurred in the strong room into the current structure of the place, one would be wrong in saying that numbers which appeared at the place were changed or massaged to favour President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Unlike previous years, the 2020 version of the strong room was an open place. The strong room was not a restricted area to only EC bosses and a few agents of political parties. The strong room, in its current form, allowed many agencies and stakeholders to not only familiarize themselves with how collated results are added up but also get involved in these activities.

Contrary to the erroneous impression Rojo Mettle-Nunoo and his partner in crime, Michael Kpessa-Whyte have created in court, the strong room they have described as a no-go-area for them as NDC agents held many people from different backgrounds.

Transparency was the central focus of the Electoral Commission with respect to the 2020 elections and that gave rise to the Commission giving accreditations to the Peace Council, CHRAJ, WANEP, Abantu for Women and CODEO.

ECOWAS had representatives at the strong room as well as the Atta-Mills Foundation.

The strong room also had representatives from the African Union, U.S. Embassy, European Union and the British High Commission.

The strong room as set up for the 2020 elections was an open place since all these agencies and entities were heavily represented during the period under review.

The claim that collated results faxed to the EC were handled in an obscure manner cannot be the case since the above-mentioned entities were duly represented in the room, and, therefore, nothing akin to massaging of figures can ever take place.

The 2020 elections had a strong room which made transparency its cardinal trait and left no room for underhanded deals if even the thought crossed anybody’s mind.

P.K.Sarpong, Whispers from the Corridors of the Thinking Place.