Did the 14,158,890 voter number only affect turnout percentage?

Sat, 27 Apr 2013 Source: Ohemeng, Yaw

One of the issues that came up during cross-examination of the Petitioners’ witness in chief by the Counsel for the EC was the total number of registered voters for the 2012 elections. It will be recalled that amongst the complaints of the Petitioners is the apparent existence of separate registers for the parliamentary and presidential elections based on the different total number of voters given by the EC in the declaration of results. The basis of the petitioner’s complain is that the EC in declaring the Presidential result on the 9th of December 2012 gave the total number of registered voters as 14,158, 890, as against the figure of 14,031, 793 that it later claimed. This latter figure is even problematic since the register it gave to the Petitioners’ party prior to the elections had a figure of 14,031,680. Upon querying, the EC responded that 14,158,890 was a figure that Dr Afari-Gyan picked in error. It went on to say that it had no effect on the results other than the percentage turnout. By this response, the EC has sought to give the impression that this was a single figure it picked in error. This is, however not the case. On 12th December 2012, the EC, then smarting from allegations of rigging, released a 75-page document that contained the full results of the Presidential polls listed by constituencies and regions in its bid to show that the elections were transparent, free and fair. From the results released, it can be seen that the figure of 14,158,890 was the aggregation of total registered voter numbers from all the 275 constituencies in the country. This figure can therefore not be conveniently explained away as having been picked in error. The response needs not end there. By comparing the total regional registered voter numbers given prior to the elections and those in the released results, there are major discrepancies. For instance, on the eve of the elections, the total number of registered voters, given on the EC’s website for the Greater Accra Region was 2,792,576. Yet in the published results, the number jumped to 2,819,678 – an increase of 27,102. In fact increases can be found in every regional total voter population number. Ashanti Region is second with an increase of 22,679 followed by Northern, Brong Ahafo and Eastern Regions with increases of about 12,600 each. The region with the least increase is Upper West, where there was an increase of 4,540. With these discrepancies, the Petitioners are right to seek explanations from the EC and to doubt the explanation given to date. The EC must do better in its explanation by chasing the increases through region by region, constituency by constituency and polling station by polling station to show how it resulted in the national aggregation error. But will they do this? I do not think so for attempting to do so will expose the wrongdoing that went on even further.

Dr Yaw Ohemeng Manchester, UK

Columnist: Ohemeng, Yaw