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Opinions of Friday, 4 January 2013

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

Understanding the Relevance of winning the Presidency

..... by majority of Popular Votes without Regional Balance

I am compelled to put out this write-up subsequent upon a lengthy and costly telephone conversation I held with a friend early Tuesday 01/01/2013 morning at around 07:00 hours. I called from London to Ghana intending to wish a friend of mine a more Prosperous and a Happy New (2013) Year. However, my intended 2 to 3 minutes conversation lasted more than an hour.

He raised an issue about how irrational the NPP's petition to the Supreme Court over the alleged impropriety and fraud in the presidential elections held on December 7, 2012 is. The irregularities that had the potency to affect, and did affect, the outcome of the presidential results, are to him not worth bothering the Supreme Court about. He went on to establish that it would be preposterous on the part of the Supreme Court to entertain the NPP's petition on two grounds (a) and (b). He advised the NPP on ground (c).

(a) How can Nana Akuffo-Addo become the president of Ghana by winning only two regions out of ten? The Supreme Court can never overturn the results in his favour regardless. It is an insurmountable obstacle for the Supreme Court to overcome.

(b) How could the NPP allege that the election results faxed through to the Electoral Commission's Strong or Collation room from various district/regional collation centres were wrong? Where were the NPP representatives when the presiding electoral officers were faxing them through?

(c) The NPP are just wasting their time and that of Ghanaians. They had better drop the case and concentrate on strategizing for Election 2016 before divisions set in the party. Alan Kyeremateng's faction is putting up his posters in Kumasi, a sign of eventual division in the party.

He is though a sympathiser of NPP, look how the falsehoods the "educated illiterates" are peddling around have adversely influenced his reasoning. Kwesi Pratt, the Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper or publication was the first among other equally sly persons to exhibit complete ignorance on Ghana's electoral processes. He knowingly or inadvertently goes on air to throw dust into people's eyes. He was the first person to raise doubts about the credibility of Nana Akuffo-Addo. He can never be confirmed the President of Ghana on account of winning two regions (Ashanti and Eastern), he said. To him, it is not fair on Ghanaians for Nana Akuffo-Addo to ascend the presidency even if he ever emerges the overall winner of the popular votes cast based on only two regions.

I have decided not to be emotional or invective when discussing things of national, collective or personal interest. This is one of my New Year's resolutions. I will therefore exercise extreme patience and choose my words carefully when proving how cunning Kwesi Pratt and his entire ilk are in deceiving Ghanaians.

Firstly, Ghana is a Unitary State and currently practices Executive Presidency type of democratic government, or, democracy. Under this system, the Constitution confers on the President powers to manage or run the affairs of the nation. He chooses and appoints trusted and qualified persons of his own, though in consultation with the Council of State, as Sector Ministers to form a government, to help him run the affairs of the nation. The President may choose to exhibit biases in the distribution of the national cake. He may favour some regions, accord them more developmental projects than others of which no institution can hold him criminally liable but probably morally. Anyway, this is not the core of my discussion but I raised it in passing as it may one day form the basis of another write-up.

Ghana does not practice a Federal system of government as pertains in the United States of America. In the United States of America, "Presidents are elected indirectly in the United States. A number of electors, collectively known as the Electoral College, officially select the president. On Election Day, voters in each of the states and the District of Columbia cast ballots for these electors. Each state is allocated a number of electors, equal to the size of its delegation in both Houses of Congress combined. Generally, the ticket that wins the most votes in a state wins all of that state's electoral votes and thus has its slate of electors chosen to vote in the Electoral College”.

Each State within the US is allocated a number of electoral votes to it following the reapportionment based on the 2010 census; 270 electoral votes are required for a majority out of 538 overall.

"The ticket that wins the most votes in a State" as stated in the paragraph above refers to the presidential candidate or contestant, be him or her a Democrat, Republican or an Independent.

Even in the US case scenario, the winning contestant does not necessarily have to win the most States within the Federation but majority of the electoral votes. As California has 55, Texas 38, Florida 29, New York 29, Illinois 20 etc., a candidate lucky enough to win the first 15 States with the biggest electoral votes adding up to 270 wins the presidency even though there are 50 States.

In Ghana, the electoral rule as mandated by the Constitution in respect of a candidate winning the presidency requires him or her to win 50% + 1 vote of the popular votes cast. The regulation does not allocate a number of electoral votes to each region within the country, as it is the case of the United States. All that a presidential contestant needs is to garner 50% + 1 vote of the popular votes cast. The winning number of regions enabling him or her to satisfy the requirement is as irrelevant as the suggestion of refusal by Kwesi Pratt is.

From the population census of 2010, one could see that the population of Ashanti Region alone is bigger than that of Volta, Upper East and Upper West Regions combined or any other two regions excluding Greater Accra combined. In addition, the margin difference as won in each region is crucial to deciding who wins the majority of the popular outcome-deciding votes for the presidency. What do I intend by this? If say candidate “A” wins 8 regions beating candidate “B” in each case by a margin difference ranging between 10,000 to 15,000, and candidate “B” in the remaining two regions wins by beating candidate “A” by a margin difference of 200,000 in each of the two regions, who in this case has won the overall majority of the popular votes cast as required by the Electoral regulation?

No one should therefore be dismissive about Nana Akuffo-Addo's chances of ever becoming the president of Ghana based on the irrelevance of how many regions he won. Some people, principally among who is Kwesi Pratt, are touting that populist idea of the unacceptability of Nana Akuffo-Addo as President based on how many regions he won.

Until the Electoral rule changes consequent upon the amendment of the section of the Constitution dealing with elections and how our president is chosen, my submission herein stated stands supreme. Unless we go the American way where even there is a catch, the fabrication of lies and stomach politics in Kwesi Pratt's assertions will not wash.

I will be back to continue with this discussion in another write-up. Until then, let us leave the judgment of who actually won the presidential Election 2012 in the able hands of the Supreme Court judges.

We should however try to be objective, stay above reproach in the dissemination of information. I wonder why for parochial self interests some people may decide to misinform the public on pertinent issues of national interest.

Lest I forget, the advice at (c) is well noted but will not be adhered to since it is the shoddy work of the NDC propaganda.?

I wish you all a more Prosperous and a Happy New Year. I wish to dedicate this article to Kofi Basoah for giving the NPP hope by his dream - Stay RESOLUTE, he had said.

Rockson Adofo