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General News of Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Source: dailyguideafrica.com

NDC did not collate 2016 results - Botchwey report reveals

It is turning out that the then ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) did not build any official platform to collate results of the December 2016 general election.

Despite the chants of winning the election ‘one-touch’ by then President John Dramani Mahama, it has turned out that the NDC did not collate the results but tied its fate to a possible machination of Charlotte Osei’s Electoral Commission and so when the EC system failed, the NDC was caught flat-footed.

The party relied on Felix Kwakye Ofosu’s ‘private’ arrangement to collate the results, which also failed miserably.

Speculations at the time were that the party was in a secret arrangement with the Electoral Commission to get the results – a move which was unknown to other political parties.

However, when the commission’s system of transmission got ‘compromised’ according to EC Chairperson, Charlotte Osei, on the election night of December 7, 2017, the NDC was found wanting, scurrying for rescue, which was too late.

According to DAILY GUIDE sources, the NDC contracted K-NET to build a digital television platform – DTT – at a whopping cost of over $82 million, but still the system failed to generate any results.

Panicky Executives

The panicky NDC leaders then resorted to the Kwakye Ofosu platform but it was too late for them as the then opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), which had a solid platform for the transmission, had collated results from more than 80%, representing some 24,000 out of the 29,000 polling stations on election night and had realized that provisionally, its candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, was defeating incumbent President John Dramani Mahama, who was seeking a second term in office.

Prof. Kwesi Botchwey’s 13-menmber committee set up by the NDC to investigate causes of the party’s embarrassing defeat, concluded on Page 33 of its 65-page Executive Summary that the party’s collation was “a complete mess.”

Messy Collation

According to the report – a copy of which is available to DAILY GUIDE, – Felix Kwakye Ofosu, a former deputy minister of communications, set up a platform to collate the results of the elections but when the committee asked him about what transpired, he said it was just a back-up for the party’s main collation platform.

The report says the party appeared to have relied on Mr Kwakye Ofosu’s private arrangement when the main collation platform set up under the supervision of the Election Directorate of the party, headed by Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, could have been strengthened to deliver, claiming, “The situation brought dysfunctionalism in the party to a head.

“There were evidently two systems, one party-based, and the other, according to Felix Kwakye Ofosu, a private initiative. The Election Directorate evidently regarded the Kwakye Ofosu initiative as primary whereas Mr. Kwakye Ofosu and his team regarded it only as backup system.”

The report indicates, “For reasons of its obvious importance, we treat the subject fully in the main report,” adding, “Our general finding is that the party’s collation efforts were a complete mess, and a situation that brought the dysfunctionalism in the party to a head!”

Rigging System

The suspicion that the NDC put in place a clandestine plan to rig last year’s polls is not going away any time soon; and the plan failed because of extra measures put in place by the vigilant NPP.

The Botchwey report has further fueled the suspicion that the NDC was in bed with the EC to rig the election. But for the alertness of the NPP, the then ruling NDC would have skewed the more than one million votes margin that went to Nana Addo to its (NDC’s) advantage.

Comments made following the release of the report of Prof. Kwesi Botchwey’s committee showed clearly that the NDC was unprepared as far as the collation of the results were concerned and were ‘relying’ heavily on the EC’s alleged tacit support to clinch on to power.

It is turning out that 10 clear months after such humiliating electoral defeat, the NDC cannot still boast of its own independent collated results, which took the NPP only six hours to put together after close of polls.

Comfortable Lead

In the course of the transmission glitch, the NDC told the entire world that it was in a ‘comfortable lead’ and that its candidate, Mahama – who later became the first incumbent president to lose an election to an opposition candidate in the first round – was going to win.

At an Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting recently, the EC allegedly admitted that the commission had suffered IT system crash during the collation of the 2016 results.

Kofi Adams, the NDC National Organizer, who doubled as Campaign Coordinator for John Mahama, also claimed after the crushing defeat that the IT system failed the NDC – without providing any explanation, since the country doesn’t vote electronically

Report Submission

During the submission of the report, Prof. Botchwey had recommended among other things, that the party must find ways and means to “improve the collation of election results.”

In fact, Prof. Botchwey had said that it was time for the party to find means of collating its own results from polling stations to the top ‘independently.’