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Recent proposals from the EC; let us ask questions

Sat, 26 Dec 2015 Source: Dr. Nii Amu Darko

The above occurrence was drawn to my attention on a WhatsApp platform so I went to read. Three things caught my attention and I will dilate on them.

1. Constitutional amendment to allow the elections to be held on the 7th November rather than 7th December. I was stunned because I do not think there is a constitutional provision setting aside a particular date for elections. I read the constitution once many years ago and since has read certain portions several times. I have not come across a provision stipulating any date.

I may be wrong. But if I am not wrong, then it is a very serious ‘’sin’’ of commission by the EC Boss and an almost unforgivable ‘’sin’’ of omission of the 275 MPs not to have corrected her. For me it feeds into my theory that we don’t need this number of MPs who do not know something as fundamental as this in the constitution. We need a new Parliament of just 100 members.

2. The EC Boss is reported to have said the Election Officers will be paid more than Ghc 400. I hope it is a reporting mistake. If it is not, I will like EC’s Boss to tell me exactly what the amount is. More than Ghc 400 means nothing. We don’t want another no upper limit ‘’supreme court’’ that may be manipulated. Please is the amount Ghc 401 or 800?

3. The EC Boss submitted a bill of Ghc 1.2b to organise the election. As serious as #1 is and as confusing as #2, I find the Ghc 1.2b or $300m totally unacceptable. This is why.

i. Australia’s 2013 elections cost $150m

ii. Australia’s population 24m but voting is compulsory so though 90% of Ghana’s population, it may have more people on its roll than Ghana.

iii. Australia is 32x the size of Ghana. You have populations scattered everywhere. The logistics of transporting stuff around Australia will cost at least 10x more than Ghana.

iv. Cost of labour in Australia alone should make Ghana spend less than a 3rd of what Australia spends. But here we are being told we would need double Australia’s cost. Nobody is asking any questions. Well, how do you ask when you don’t know any better?

I am not accusing the EC of any graft. I am saying the figure cannot be correct. Ghana a bankrupt nation cannot spend 2x what Australia similar population and 32x the size spends. Somebody must explain it to me. I will follow this up even after the election.

We cannot live in a country where figures are thrown around without proper scrutiny. If this figure is correct, then it is another good reason why the whole system from the EC to Parliament and everything must change.

Another interesting news making waves is the EC proposal to have the elections of 2016 hold on an earlier date than December 7. The EC wants elections be held on 7th November 2016. Why? So there will be enough time for a 2nd ballot or a court challenge. True? It sounds ok but actually, it is false. There have been two 2nd ballots since 1992, and swearing-in took place on 7th of January. There has been one court challenge which took 8 months, bringing elections forward 1 month would make no difference.

So why the change? Why is it so necessary that the EC Boss had to create a non-existing provision in the constitution and pull parliament to amend it?

NDC know this is a make or break elections for them. They are thinking at one year ahead and 23years back. If they lose the elections, the party will collapse. The magic of Jerry has waned, there is no natural leader in the party. Only power can keep them alive.

1992 was a similarly existential election for them. Jerry could not be an opposition leader. His only role in politics at that time was to wield power. It was an unlosable election. Jerry wasn’t sure he would win. Many scenarios had to be envisaged and strategized for.

1st strategy was to separate the presidential and parliamentary elections. This would give adequate time to plan well for each of them. One person told Jerry they an alliance was necessary. NPP might boycott the parliamentary elections if they did not win. NCP and Eagle in parliament would give some legitimacy. It happened as predicted.

2nd strategy was to conduct the Presidential elections on 3rd November same day as the US. The world’s attention would be on the US elections. Once they manage to win the Presidential, the momentum would propel them to win the parliamentary if even NPP decide to contest. Once in power and confident, this arrangement was dropped. In 1996, both elections were held together and in December.

Next year US elections will be held on 8th November. When is the EC advocating for our elections? 7th November. Do you think it is coincidence? Of course it is not. Sleepy NPP can’t see it though.

If there is one thing NPP should not forget, it is the 1992 Presidential elections. They lost, crowned Adu Boahen their own President, I think Nana Akufo-Addo wrote a book ‘’The Stolen Verdict’’ and they boycotted parliamentary elections. So how could they not see the same game being played right in front of them?

NDC’s miscalculation this time round is that, it is not between them and NPP. It is between the New and the Old. We all want credible elections so if the EC’s stated reasons for bringing the elections forward are genuine, we say the elections be held on the 15th November every 4years. We need at least a week of separation from the US elections. This is not too much to ask. EC Boss over to you.

Now let’s get back to the EC budget one more time. Although parliament reportedly cut the EC budget by a 3rd, I insist that the new figure is still too expensive. We cannot and should not spend more than $50m. I gave Australian figures to support my position. That may be too remote for some.

Let us come closer home to our comrade-in-arms Nigeria. 2015 elections –

1. Budget N 93b = $465m, Ghana Ghc 1.2 = $315m

2. Population 175m = 6.5x Ghana’s population

3. Land size 924 000km2 = 4x the size of Ghana

From above alone, nobody can convince me the EC figure is not overinflated.

What did Nigeria elections deliver?

1. National President

2. National bi-camera Parliament – lower house + senate

3. State Governors

4. State Parliament – no senate

What will Ghana elections deliver?

1. National President

2. National uni-camera Parliament – no senate.

Now, I call on all Ghanaians to do the maths and tell me how EC budget is 68% of Nigerian budget. This country is on the ground because of the Institutionalized Rotational Kleptocracy (IRK) by the NDC and NPP. How come the Opposition if they are worth anything have not challenged this fraud?

My message to the appointed body, the EC and the appointing authority President Mahama is that Christmas is about light coming into the world to dispel darkness and this light will shine into every corner of our national life.

My message to NPP is that Christmas is about redemption through the truth. They must up their game to bring the truth out. They must at least until the elections play their meaningful role as the largest opposition and the alternative government in our land.

My message to the Speaker of Parliament is that the voice of the People is the voice of God. He is the head of the representatives of the People. He represents the voice of God in our midst. He must rise to the occasion and set up a committee to look into the EC budget. He will one day have to answer.

People of Ghana arise and shine, for a child is born and a new light has entered your hearts today. Therefore, shine your light into all crevices and dispel the thick darkness that has engulfed our country.

Nii Amu Darko

niiamu.of.africa@gmail.com

Columnist: Dr. Nii Amu Darko