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Opinions of Monday, 3 December 2012

Columnist: Ata, Kofi

NPP/NDC Must Ignore Predictions by Foreign Organizations?

By Kofi Ata, Cambridge, UK

In the last few months, weeks and days to the December 7, 2012 Presidential Election, some foreign based research organizations have made a number of predictions in favour of either NPP or NDC. I have read and analysed three of the predictions with caution and concluded that they are all not based on sound and logical conclusions and must be ignored by both NPP and NDC. The two parties rely on such predictions at their own risk and at the peril of the state. It’s three of the predictions that I review in this article.

The first of the foreign predictions in September was by DaMina Advisors, LLB, (see “NPP will win 53%-International Research”, Ghanaweb of September 26, 2012). I posted an article to challenge the basis of their predictions the next day (see Ghanaweb 27, 2012) and concluded that their conclusions were unreliable. I must point out that of all the research reports, it is that of DaMina Advisors which was the most comprehensive that I read.

The second was by the renowned Economist Intelligent Unit which was also reported by the Ghanaian media (see “Mahama leads in close 2012 election - EIU report”, Ghanaweb November 8, 2012. This report, to say the least, is the most ridiculous of the three predictions because, despite the EIU giving a number of factors damaging to the NDC and inimical to NDC’s electoral success (corruption allegations, incompetency and inability to deliver on their promises, etc), incumbency appears to be one of a few factors in their favour, yet it is predicted that NDC will win by a narrow margin. The other favourable factor appears to be some unidentified recent development that I guess may include the disqualification of Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings as a presidential candidate and the apparent coexistence with Ex-President Rawlings. I now know from Margaret Jackson’s article on Saturday December 1, 2012 that the demise of President Atta Mills could be one of such recent fortunes.

The final one was last week’s prediction by African Confidential (see “Dec. 7 Polls: Mahama Leads Akufo-Addo”, Ghanaweb November 28, 2012). Again, this prediction also lacks credibility because it did not provide any reliable evidence to buttress its conclusions. I tried to get access to the full reports of the last two to do a comprehensive analysis but unaware that my LSE Alumni Library Card that allows me access to numerous academic journals and research papers had expired, I was unable to access them. I contacted the EIU but I was only given complimentary access to the summary and not the whole report.

In my view, the EIU and African Confidential predictions should be dismissed outright. However, the DaMina Advisor’s prediction needs further analysis due to the availability of data on registered voters for the 2012 general elections from Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC). That is, the total number of registered voters for the December 7 elections region by region. Since the DaMina report was based on projected total regional votes and percentage share of the total vote by NPP and NDC, it would be useful to examine their predictions relative to EC’s data

I reproduce the EC’s registered voters’ data and the DaMina projected results for the 2012 Presidential Election. The EC data is from their website and those of DaMina are from the report which predicted that NPP will win by 53% (available on their website). I have extrapolated the data in columns four, five and seven from EC’s and DaMina’s data.

Region EC’s Registered Voters DaMina’s Projected Vote Difference Between EC’s data and DaMina Percentage Difference DaMina Projected % Share NDC NPP DaMina %Turnout Based on Registered Voters Ashanti 2,559,157 2,078,177 480,980 19% 20%, 80% 71% Brong Ahafo 1,246,145 758,740 487,405 39% 47%, 53% 61% Central 1,228,544 779,391 449,153 36.5% 56%, 44% 53.5% Eastern 1,428,060 1,015,860 412,200 29% 40%, 60% 71% Greater Accra 2,788,091 1,568,813 1,219,277 43% 52% 47% 57% Northern 1,264,881 968,902 295,979 23% 56%, 42% 77% Upper East 565,852 405,339 160,513 28% 63%, 38% 72% Upper West 365,769 259,926 105,843 29% 60%, 40% 71% Volta 1,189,512 760,906 428,602 36% 80%, 20% 64% Western 1,424,562 895,976 528,586 37% 46%, 53% 63% TOTAL 14,060,573 9,492,030 4,568,538 32.5% - 67.5%

From DaMina’s projected votes (column three above) compared to EC’s total registered voters in column two, it means voter turnout in 2012 will be 67.5% (roll seven), which is reasonable. However, the DaMina projected total turnout for Central and Greater Accra regions are considerable lower. That is, 53.5% for Central and 57% for Greater Accra. No explanation is offered for the relatively low turnout in the two regions.

With the exception of the 19992 elections, regional turnout at elections since 200 have always been on average, at least, 60% (though turnout in Upper West were 59% and 54% respectively in the first and second rounds for 2000). For example, in 2004 all regions recorded total turnout of over 80% and in 2008 regional turnout in the first round was between 67% and 75% and between 66% and 83% in the second round. The 53.5% and 57% projected turnout for Central and Greater regions respectively are too low and could make the DaMina prediction unreliable. This is more so because of the huge difference between the DaMina’s projected voter turnout and the EC’s total registered voters in Greater Accra region (see columns two, three and four above). Since DaMina projected NDC to win in both regions (see column six above), these disparities cast doubt on their prediction.

I appreciate that by the time DaMina made their projections, Electoral Commission’s registered voters’ data were unavailable. Nonetheless, historical data at the time of their research makes the relatively low projected turnout figures for the two regions questionable. For these reasons and others that I outlined in my article of September 28, 2012, I advise both NPP and NDC not to rely on DaMina’s prediction or any other predictions by foreign organizations that were in their favour or against them.

The only prediction that matters on December 7, 2012, will be what Ghanaian voters decide to do once in the ballot box. That is what will determine who wins the presidential elections if the Electoral Commission is able to conduct free, fair and transparent elections. Therefore NPP and NDC should not rely on any of these predictions as grounds to reject the results declared by the Electoral Commission, if they are not in their favour, contrary to what were predicted by the foreign research organizations. Good luck to NPP and NDC.

Kofi Ata, Cambridge, UK