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Opinions of Saturday, 19 December 2020

Columnist: Awotunde Awosika

Techiman South MP's seat: A connivance of silence

Parliament of Ghana Parliament of Ghana

My rational sociopolitical self has been interrogating some very fundamental issues, in the case of Techiman South Parliamentary seat, in the just ended December 7th election, 2020.

The New Patriotic Party's head of IT for the 2020 election results collation, Joe Anokye, on December 15, 2020, on of Metro TV's Good Evening Ghana, is on record to have said that the NPP does not have the parliamentary results for Techiman south. Simply put, they don't have the basis for which the NPP Parliamentary candidate is purported to have been declared the winner of that seat.

The Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana has not been able to provide the summary sheet (collation sheet) based on which the NPP Parliamentary candidate was declared winner. If they had provided it, it would have either settled the issue or provided the basis for verification of their declaration.

If the EC has the collation or summary sheet, based on which the winner for that seat was declared, there would not be the need for them to be engaging in all the dilly dally, they would have simply provided it without any difficulty; either to the public, the media, or all parties involved. It is a matter of right for it to be made available, and not an option.

Strangely enough, the media which is supposed to serve as a kind of 'watchdog', is also unable to show any evidence; evidence from their reporters who were there, that there was a collation, or that they even have a copy of the summary sheet, based on which they the media or EC called the seat for the NPP Parliamentary candidate there. The media would have done a lot of good in unraveling the uncertainties around the issue. Unless it is the argument of the media that they just report whatever officialdom says, without interrogation or authentication, in which case would affront media practice in Ghana.

So now, without any verifiable evidence from all these stakeholders, but by mere words from the EC that NPP has won that seat, people have accepted hook, line, and sinker. This is ridiculous, to say the least, and constitutes very dangerous precedence which we are all conniving to set with our silence. The precedence that, all one needs to win an election is a mere word of an EC official to that effect, whether there is the basis or not.

Earlier, the NDC called a press conference, where they explained that there was 'declaration of results' without 'collation of results'. The latter is the basis for the former, and subsequently demanding that, if there was a collation, they should be given a copy of that collation or summary sheet as they are entitled to.

The NPP later had their press conference also. In NPP's press conference, they showed a video. In that video, we see a declaration of results, followed by a violent eruption. Now, the video did not show 'collation of results', rather a 'declaration' of results, which is the exact argument NDC made. Indeed the one narrating the video during the NPP's press conference said, "The returning officer is the man in the EC jacket. He is 'declaring the result'".

He concluded that part of the narration by saying, "So if anybody says there is no declaration, then you've seen it ladies and gentlemen. That the returning officer declared the results... ". In effect, the press conference was addressing a matter that is not in contention i.e. 'declaration of results'.

For NPP to be able to rebut NDC's narrative, they needed to rather show collation of results and subsequent declaration. Their video evidence at the press conference failed to do that. Rather, their video evidence fits the NDC's narrative that there was a declaration without collation.

Irrespective of the above press conferences by the two parties, and granted there was a collation. Where is the collation sheet or the summary sheet which the EC official looked at to do the declaration? It is not available. So what was the basis for the declaration? Nothing! That is the focus of this writer because the summary sheet is the game-changer in this blame game, it resolves the issue or provides a basis to properly interrogate the issue.

Unfortunately, all we have is mere words of the EC, that there was collation, without any proof of such. Yet we are all silent, connivance of silence from all of us who are watching on.

I stand to argue in the wisdom of the legendary Lord Denning, that "you cannot put something upon nothing and expect it to stand”. This is in harmony with the Latin similarcum which goes "Ex nihilo nihil fit”. To wit, nothing can come out of nothing. There cannot be a winner for a Parliamentary seat when the basis for such declaration does not exist.