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RE: Cameron Duodu's

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Sat, 29 Oct 2016 Source: Lungu, Prof.

By: Prof Lungu

".... As of 2016, Freedom House assigns Ghana's electoral process a score of 12 out of 12, same as the UK.., the US a 11 out of 12... As far as we know, even if we were to entertain the idea that it is analogous, a 40% "pupil" passing rate in an exam given to students is not necessarily out of bounds before we consider the specific context...The question for Mr. Duodu is who said...election process, when properly run by an Electoral Commission, is supposed to be just efficient?...What about economy...equity...equality...consistent, non-arbitrary adherence to statutory requirements long specified in the books, in the laws?...", (Prof Lungu, 19 October, 2016).

As we are sending this paper to the publisher, we are reading the news that the Dr. Nduom's PPP has won their case against the Electoral Commission and must be re-instated into the 2016 elections. The arguments by EC attorney that the EC was totally independent of anyone agency in government, including the judiciary was a foolish one. Lawyer Sory needs some training, or re-assignment. Nonetheless, "pedestrian" as Attorney Sory's point was, nothing takes away any of the points we make in this paper, if the reader believes that building Ghanaian institutions require those types of engagements at the highest levels.

So, continuing from our Part 1, in a "comprehensive investigation of voter impersonation" in the US, Professor Justin Levitt of Loyola University found just 31 credible incidents out of one billion ballots cast in US elections at all levels over the last 5 years.

In short, Freedom House recognized the record of the US this time, in spite of US "economic prowess", and assigned a 11 out of 12, noting:

"... The United States received a downward trend arrow because of the cumulative impact of flaws in the electoral system, a disturbing increase in the role of private money in election campaigns and the legislative process, legislative gridlock, the failure of the Obama administration to fulfill promises of enhanced government openness, and fresh evidence of racial discrimination and other dysfunctions in the criminal justice system..."

Our belief is, the numerous "...evidence of racial discrimination and other dysfunctions in the criminal justice system...", including their abetment by the US Supreme Court, are 2 of the more significant factors behind the US electoral process debacle. And, that is before we consider the effects of gerrymandering of the boundaries of electoral districts and the fact that the state of Wyoming (pop, 600,000) and Alaska (pop, 740,000) each have 2 Senators and Representatives to the US Congress. But US citizens living in Washington, DC, (pop, 660,000), have not a single Senator, or voting members of Congress.

To the point, predictably, this Donald John Trump era of voter suppression, the US is headed further downward with respect to electoral politics and access, compared to Ghana.

But Ghanaians, like Mr. Cameron Duodu, must know better!

Today, Ghana beats the US in terms of electoral process outcomes.

Yes, with Ms. Charlotte Osei now at the head of the EC, she, having taken the baton from Dr. Afari Djan who in our humble opinion is responsible mightily for the 12/12 score by Ghana, Ghana today beats the US in terms of electoral process outcomes for the average man.

That is data, with supporting facts!

So, with that settled, we now take the analogy Mr. Duodu makes using the example of a teacher and "examination for pupils".

Says Mr. Duodu:

"... Now were a teacher to set an examination in which over 60 percent of his pupils failed, attention would essentially be drawn to his teaching methods, or maybe his marking techniques...No intelligent person would automatically put all the blame on the intellectual capacities of his pupils; right?..."

You don't say, Mr. Duodu!

This is the other shocking part about Mr. Duodu's poorly-reasoned and supported essay. It is a very poor example - comparing cassava to mangoes, we must say.

Regretfully, none of that actually jives with reason, we are sorry to say.

For us, an electoral process has absolutely no affinity (nothing, zilch, zero) with "an examination" given to "pupils" by a teacher in a classroom, who then grades the "pupils" 60/100, fail.

Mr. Duodu's case simply does not fly for the following five (5) non-exclusive reasons:

1. The EC, as a modern bureaucratic organization, did not set the rules: the EC merely administers and enforces the rules. That is the information the EC has communicated to the public. (In this matter, the EC is not a like a policeman standing on the side of the road with a lot of discretion).

2. While a teacher may have rules for a test, those rules may be sharply moderated by empathy for the students under her/his care who are recognized properly with dissimilar, even unequal aptitudes and interests, if they are teacher is worthy of their pay and benefits they receive. So, prior to the test, the teacher could easily have devoted different resources to each student, depending on the need of a particular student. (ECs do not have those liberties and freedoms).

3. For the most part, "pupils" are actually compelled/ordered to go to school and to take examinations. On the other hand, nobody is compelling the adults politicians, the ones Mr. Duodu is making a case for, to take part in anything. Surely, not in any presidential election.

4. For at least 3 years, these same politicians have actually had all the answers to the questions to which they owed proper, accurate, complete, and truthful responses to the People of Ghana, as represented by the EC.

5. Even if we played the "devil's advocate" and assumed for a minute that the electoral process and registration by political parties has indeed an affinity to the Mr. Duodu's teacher/pupil context, why is that a surprise to Mr. Duodu who, we must assume, went to school in Ghana. (With all due respect, how properly resourced, competent, and effective is the average teacher, and how supportive are they of students in their classroom, in Ghana?).

Here is the bottom-line for us!

As far as we know, a 40% (Mr. Duodu's number) passing rate by "pupils" in a test given to students is not necessarily out of bounds anywhere, before we consider the specific context.

As a matter of fact, we could argue that Duodu's "pupils" may just be "freshmen" who, for reasons best known to themselves, or lacking discipline, etc., individually, just did not appreciate the old and new rules of the road as laid down by statutes and by the "new" teacher, prior to the test.

Teachers typically can do do-overs, change their own rules, ask students to do "make-up" with an individual project, or ask for a term paper or other assignment to better serve a particular student based on the peculiar needs of the student.

But the EC is bounded by law, period!

That is the "trouble", Mr. Duodu!

By the way, in the 21st century, who uses the word "pupil", instead of "student"?

READ: "...A pupil is an old-fashioned word for a young person attending school, or it can be that black dot in the center of your eye's iris...".

Communicatively and symbolically, we know that "student" (read "studious") inspires and encourages students to be of a critical mind, compared to the "pupil" label.

Today, a theory of education informs us that learning, like communication, is best understood as a 2-way process where even the teacher is "educated" by the students under their care. So, how about leaving "pupil" to opticians and ophthalmologists? "Seeing", after all, does not conjure comprehension, or even reflection of the mind in any important, critical fashion, compared to "student").

In the same vein, the less Mr. Duodu says about the Electoral Commission as "journalists employed by the better-quality media,....(the)...lady who is covering the activities of a Donald Trump...(who is)...obliged to report what he has tried to do to (her) or has actually done to (her)...", the better.

That proposition is so Donald-John-Trump we won't even bother, further.

Same goes for Mr. Duodu when he concludes his essay, thus:

"...No – a system that cannot be correctly used by the people whom it was designed to serve must be seen as inefficient – pure and simple."

The question for Mr. Duodu is who said governance, (i.e., electoral process and the institution itself in this case), when properly run by an Electoral Commission, is supposed to be just efficient, "pure and simple"?

What about economy?

What about equity?

What about equality?

What about outcome?

Or, what about consistent, non-arbitrary, adherence by the same EC to statutory requirements long specified in the books, in the laws?

So it goes, Ghana!

NOTES/SOURCES

1. Cameron Duodo. Why our Electoral System has failed, (https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/features/Why-our-Electoral-System-has-failed-477840).

2. Prof Lungu: Dr. Bawumia’s case for new voters’ register in Ghana is bloated with more gas than evidence, GhanaHero.com, (http://www.ghanahero.com/Visions/Other_Matters/DR_BAWUMIAS_CASE_final-2.pdf).

3. Freedom House. Political Rights And Civil Liberties: Electoral Process, (https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2016/ghana).

4. Justin Levitt, A comprehensive investigation of voter impersonation finds 31 credible incidents out of one billion ballots cast, (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/08/06/a-comprehensive-investigation-of-voter-impersonation-finds-31-credible-incidents-out-of-one-billion-ballots-cast/?tid=a_inl).

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SUBJ: RE -- Cameron Duodu's Why our Electoral System has failed

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Brought to you courtesy www.GhanaHero.com©28 October, 2016.

Columnist: Lungu, Prof.