It is believed that once upon a time the Soviet dictator, Joseph Stalin, who ruled the Soviet Union for a quarter of a century said that, “the people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.” In other words, those voting for us are not as important as those counting the votes in an election.
Although the truism of his statement is accepted, it is something that the NDC ascribe to; in that that those who cast their votes matter the most as opposed to what he said, hence the need for it to be addressed in this letter the possible vote-rigging in order for us to guard against it for the people’s will to prevail.
In the days of Stalin, the method of vote-rigging was simply based on miscounting; but now it has become more sophisticated to include voter suppression, violence and intimidation, and especially electronic subterfuge which advanced countries like the United States of America even cried foul in their previous elections.
As of now we are seeing the dog showing its bare teeth as the EC is trying to disenfranchise thousands of eligible voters, mostly in our stronghold, as part of the rigging process in the upcoming general elections. The EC cannot be entrusted to organize a free and fair elections with the arrogant and openly bias dispositions of the Chairperson and her two Deputies over the past three years.
Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution provides that every citizen of Ghana of eighteen years of age or above and of sound mind has the right to vote and is entitled to be registered as a voter for the purpose of public elections and referenda. Pursuant to article 51 of the 1992 Constitution, the Electoral Commission (EC) presented to Parliament a Constitutional Instrument (C.I. 126) which makes the Ghana card or passport the only breeder documents acceptable for registration onto the new voters register and which disqualifies the use of the previous voters ID card.
When the NDC brought the matter to the Supreme Court to challenge the validity of C.I. 126 and to seek the Court to declare the birth certificate as a form of identification of citizenship, the Court by a unanimous decision held otherwise that a birth certificate is not a form of identification. Such that, “it is worse than the NHI card which was held to be unconstitutional as evidence of identification of a person who applies for registration as a voter.”
Fellow Akatamansonians, we have an enormous task ahead as stakeholders of the EC to ensure transparency and to protect our victory in this 2020 elections. We would recall that after the voters’ registration, the EC alleged that it has detected minors on the register.
The question most Ghanaians were asking was: how was the EC able to distinguish the minors on the register? This is because, the only mechanism to detect these minors is with the birth certificate of the registrants from the Birth and Death Registry, and now that the birth certificate has been declared unconstitutional as evidence of identification of persons qualified to vote, how is it legal and even possible to expunge them from the register?
Today the EC is claiming that it has found 6,080 duplicate registrations in the roll out of the voters register exhibition. But then again, how is it likely to have duplicate registrations on a biometric system which key features or attributes are fingerprints and facial recognition that is unique to a person which no one else can have?
Aside that details of persons who registered have largely been found to be wrongly entered into the system when they verified from the exhibition exercise. What this implies is that these people would have to present either passport or national ID card to ascertain their registration in order to vote on the Election Day. Suggestion that those who do not have any of these documents would mostly likely be disenfranchised. So why did the EC waste $200 million for a new register which cannot automatically delete a duplicate register only to arrive at the same position as the old register where it could have been cleaned? Obviously, these are inkling mechanism laid out by the EC to rig the elections.
On Monday, Gabby Otchere Darko posted on his Facebook wall saying: Elections are fought and won on the ground. A major political party has contracted a troll consultancy firm to create a false sense that they are in a comfortable lead. Do your best on social media but politics is local, touch base on the ground.
Fellow Akatamansonians, we would agree with him on the aspect that elections are fought and won on the ground. The reason is that, despite our desire to rescue this country by working night and day and with the overwhelming endorsement of our manifesto by Ghanaians, that will not be enough to guarantee us victory if we are not able to avoid rigging.
The NDC needs to be actively smart in all her dealings on the Election Day, especially with the electronic transmission of results. It appears that we are not being proactive to nip in the bud of the vote-rigging by the EC. Never in history had we seen the kind of violence and intimidation meted out on Ghanaians during a registration exercise than what we saw recently. The probable questions one would ask are: didn’t we foresee this? And are we prepared for the worst on the Election Day?
We must take cautions from President Buhari’s road to victory in the last two elections in Nigeria which he and his APC Party claimed to have won and compare that to the NPP’s road to election 2016 which they also claim to have won and are in power now and the happenings in Ghana now towards the 2020 elections.
Despite all odds against Buhari and the APC, especially when former President Olusegun Obasanjo openly campaigned against him, they designed plans to rig the election. This included the suspension of the Nigeria Chief Justice three weeks to the election, who was to preside over disputed election results. In the end, they ruling APC ensured that the election was marred by violence in the stronghold of the opposition PDP, and there was massive vote-rigging in their stronghold up north.
Fellow Akatamansonians, I would like to end by saying that everything the EC does is planned and executed with a squared up approach in the name of the NPP. Winning the elections is not a walk in the park or picking flowers in the garden. According to the late Chairman Mao Zedong, “politics is war without bloodshed. War is politics with bloodshed.”
We have to prepare for the war and win the battles at each stage of the elections. Indeed those voting for us are very important. Therefore we must protect their will to rescue this country from the doldrums.
Thank you all and may God bless our homeland Ghana.
The author, Michael Sumaila Nlasia, is a research analyst. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org