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Opinions of Saturday, 11 December 2004

Columnist: Annor, Joseph

NDC demands Recount - Rejoinder

While all election observers have declared that apart from some isolated incidents, the presidential and parliamentary elections were generally free and fair; the NDC has called for a recount of the rejected votes as they claim that the percentage rejected is too high. According to Dr Josiah Aryeh (NDC General Secretary) "[t]he invalid votes are excessively high.? Mr Rawlings also complained about the election results before vanishing to Congo, I wished that he had stayed in Ghana to see fully what was happening and would not return after the elections and make empty noises.

According to Mr Dan Botwe (NPP General Secretary), in the 2000 general elections which were organised while Mr Rawlings was still the president of Ghana, "2.3 per cent of the vote cast were invalid and no one raised an objection" why objection now?

According to figures provided by Dr Afari-Gyan, the percentage of the invalid votes of the 2004 general elections is 2.14 for the 225 of the 230 constituencies that had been assessed at the time of his press conference. Clearly, if any thing at all, this percentage is lower than that of the 2000 percentage. Yet, the NDC did not find any problem with the percentage of votes rejected during the 2000 elections.

I must state that given the high illiteracy rate among our elderly in particular, 2.14 percent of invalid votes is not excessive. After all, the western countries also reject some votes because they are invalid.

In any case, according to the figures provided by Dr Afari-Gyan, the total number of all votes cast in the 225 constituencies which had been declared before his press conference was 8,615,306 (this number includes both valid and invalid votes for the 225 constituencies certified and declared). Dr Afari-Gyan said further that the remaining 5 undeclared constituencies have the total registered voters of 220,216.

With these figures, we can easily determine whether it is necessary to recount the reject votes or not. Supposing all the registered voters in the 5 undeclared constituencies voted and none of their votes were rejected, this will bring the total votes cast during the elections for the entire 230 constituencies to 8,835,522 (8,615,306 + 220,216).

Assuming that all the rejected votes from the declared constituencies and the 220,216 possible maximum votes from the other 5 constituencies were to go to Professor Mills, President Kuffour would still have won the elections with the 4,463,731 votes which he has already in his favour. When the (most possible) 8,835,522 cast votes are divided by 4,463,731, it gives approximately 50.52% of the maximum possible votes cast during the elections to President Kuffour. In other words, Mr Kuffour would have won 50% plus 45,970 votes of all possible votes cast during the elections.

According to the 1992 Ghana constitution (which was primarily written by NDC), who ever wins 50 per cent plus one of the total votes cast wins the presidential race. On the basis of the above analysis, it is clear that the recounting of the rejected votes will not change the overall outcome of the results of the elections and therefore, it is a mere waste of time.

Further, Dr Afari-Gyan has explained that the presiding officers have used proper procedures in accordance with the EC Handbook for Polling Agents, in declaring some votes invalid.

It seems therefore to me that there is no wisdom in unduly requesting for the recount of the rejected votes, if they will not change the outcome of the elections. Therefore, Dr Aryeh and other NDC members such as Mr Rawlings (who has vanished to Congo) should in their wisdom accept the voice of the people.

Rawlings was complaining about the votes that were coming from Ashanti Region, yet he failed to notice that in percentage terms, the votes that Volta Region cast for Professor Mills was significantly larger than those that Ashantis cast for Kuffour. I mean, these people should analyse their argument before they expose the weaknesses.


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