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Opinions Tue, 14 May 2019

Mahama isn’t inferring that the 2012 election was rigged, is he?

Ex-President Mahama has left most Ghanaians in puzzled countenance for bizarrely claiming during his presentation last week at the Oxford University Business School Distinguished Speaker Seminar organized in collaboration with the African Studies Centre and the Oxford Africa Business Alliance that the 2016 election was rigged (see: 2016 election rigged-Mahama; dailyguidenetwork.com/ghanaweb.com, 13/05/2019).

However baffling it may seem, the fact remains that Mahama and his teeming supporters are still in pain and living in a denial over their 2016 humiliating election defeat.

The former president lamented: “As I speak, I am not aware that the Electoral Commission has carried out any investigation into what compromised their IT system,” he complained, adding that political parties, as stakeholders, have not been briefed about what really corrupted the IT system of the EC.”

The other time I read that some members of the opposition NDC have been blaming their humiliating 2016 election defeat on a technical hitch to the Electoral Commission and their results collation system. How bizarre?

In fact, when I was skimming through the weird story, I thought I was dreaming. But I was not, I was alive and kicking. The story was so bizarre, so to speak.

After all, haven’t we been told by our apex court that elections are won at the polling stations?

To be brutally honest, the eminent Supreme Court judges pronouncement was in order.

Dearest reader, if you may recall, somewhere last year,Ex-President Mahama appeared on GTV and ventilated his arousing disgust over the conduct of 2016 election and alleged that it was characterised with unpardonable irregularities.

Ex-President Mahama went on to declare that he could have gone around the country to gather the evidence of the alleged irregularities and lodge a protest at the law court, but for NDC’s irrevocable belief in the democratic ideals.

If, indeed, former President Mahama was convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that there were unobjectionable irregularities in the 2016 election and failed to take action, then he did not discharge his duty as a patriotic Ghanaian, so to speak.

Ex-President Mahama continued: “Ghanaians, in the interest of transparency, want know what really happened during the last polls before the next election in 2020.”

In fact, we do not need a rocket scientist’s superior powers of the mind or a scientific query to know what happened in 2016.

We can neither deny nor ignore the fact that the unbridled corruption, the unpardonable incompetence and the arrogance of power were the main causes of NDC faithful’s humiliating election defeat.

After all, didn’t Professor Kwesi Botchwey Fact-finding Committee’s findings include all the factors that have been enumerated above?

If anything at all, we were told that the Committee beseeched the NDC to address the divisions in the party, especially among the party apparatchiks, the party’s internal biometric registration of members, the licentious electioneering campaign, diversion of campaign cash and materials, public perception of corruption and complacency among others.

Dearest reader, take my word for it, many discerning Ghanaians voted against the infamous bus branding, the Brazil World Cup, the Woyome’s GH51.2M, the $200M STS largesse, the millions of Ghana Cedis embezzled through SUBA, GYEEDA, SADA and all the dubious judgement debt payments amounting to over GH800M.

Given the circumstances, it is quite unfortunate for Ex-President Mahama to blame his 2016 humiliating election defeat on vote rigging.

In fact, former President Mahama has blamed everyone and everything else for his historic 2016 election defeat except himself.

Not long ago, Ex-President Mahama was at his finger pointing best when he bizarrely accused the NDC Executives of diverting 2016 electioneering campaign funds which culminated in his humiliating defeat.

He uncharacteristically poured his heart out when addressing NDC Executives in the Awutu Senya Constituency in the Central Region on Wednesday 26th September 2018 (See: We won’t allow campaign funds, logistics to be diverted – Mahama;citinewsroom.com/ghanaweb.com, 27/09/2018).

Ex-President Mahama is reported to have lamented: “I have noted all our mistakes. We realized campaign funds were diverted, but we have learnt our lessons. We will ensure campaign funds go through the right channel to get the campaign done. In 2020, we must rise up and be vigilant.”

Somehow, former President Mahama is refusing to accept the fact that his dreadful errors in judgement amid rampant corruption, untold economic hardships and business crippling dumsor largely contributed to his 2016 humiliating election defeat.

How can you blame others of your woes when your sibling Ibrahim Mahama took advantage of your presidency and blatantly refused to pay import taxes to the tune of over GH12 million?

Why must you blame others over your historic defeat when you flagrantly gave away 58% of Ghana’s bauxite to your sibling Ibrahim Mahama to the utter disgust of discerning Ghanaians?

How could former President Mahama unjustifiably give apologists like Madam Akua Donkor of Ghana Freedom Party (GFP) two four wheel drive cars and a luxury bungalow (estimated to cost a staggering $470,000) for no work done, and then turn around and blame others for his historic election defeat?

Why must Ex-President Mahama assume that Ghanaians suffer from chronic memory loss and that he can keep taking everyone else for granted?

It would thus appear that former President Mahama hates to accept blame and rather prefers to point accusing fingers at others.

Frankly stating, vote riggings in contemporary elections are real.

That said, it is quite unfair and incommodious for anyone to insist that the 2016 election was rigged without providing admissible evidence.

In his 2012 election petition verdict, Justice Atuguba made some contestable observations, including the definition of over-voting which was one of the claims brought up by the petitioners.

“The first is where the number of those who voted at a polling station exceeds the number of voters contained in the relevant polling station register.” “The second situation is where the number of ballots in the ballot book exceeds the number of ballot papers issued to the relevant polling station.”

“Pondering over these two categories closely, I would think that the second category of over voting is rather an instance of ballot-stuffing as testified by Johnson Asiedu-Nketia,” the presiding judge delineated in his 48-page opinion.

Yes, I would like to agree that ballot stuffing does exist, but the big question is: would such squeamish and conspiratorial plot not amount to over voting, going by Asiedu Nketia’s unconventional definition of over voting?

If you may recall, during the 2012 election petition hearing, Asiedu Nketia infamously referred to over voting as “the influx of foreign materials in the ballot box”.

Interestingly, however, Dr Afari-Gyan admitted under cross examination during the 2012 election petition hearing that over voting may also occur in the event of the votes in the ballot box exceeding the number of verified voters.

That, for me, was a poignant definition of over voting.

Whatever the case, I would like to believe that the 2012 election petition spawned enormous benefits, most notably, the eminent Supreme Court Judges pronouncement to the effect that elections are usually won at the polling stations and not in the court rooms.

Obviously, such pronouncement illuminated the then opposition NPP’s benightedness on the need to be more vigilant on future elections.

Unsurprisingly, therefore, the NPP leadership put in place perfect strategy. More importantly, the party loyalists and sympathisers were more vigilant before, during and after the 2016 election.

Take, for instance, we were told that the NPP leadership hired erudite information technology personnel, gave bespoke training to their numerous polling station agents and motivated them, which resulted in motivation to transfer during the electoral process.

We also heard that in the Volta Region (the stronghold of the NDC), the NPP leadership prudently prevented non-Ghanaians from voting through their ‘Operation Eagle Eye.

Coincidentally, however, the Region registered a very low voter turnout, and the NDC’s votes in the Volta Region reduced drastically compared to the previous elections.

Somehow, the trend continued in almost all the ten regions in Ghana. Thus, many NDC observers have been attributing the reason to voter apathy. But I, for one, would not buy such a specious observation.

The fact of the matter, however, is that the NPP leadership played their cards right on that occasion through well-executed strategy and the all-important vigilance.

So, to the NDC sore losers: cease your needless political insobriety and concentrate on winning elections at the polling stations rather than always banking all hopes on technological and behind the scenes gimmicks.

K. Badu, UK.

k.badu2011@gmail.com

Columnist: K. Badu, UK