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The Electoral Commission shoots down the NPP again

Wed, 6 Jan 2016 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Monday, January 4, 2016

Folks, when Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia led a team of NPP elements to conduct exercises aimed at proving their allegation that the existing voters register was “bloated” and “incredible”, they settled on documents that they regarded as substantial. They spent money and other resources, time, and energy and thumbed their chests at the end of the exercise. The outcome was so rich and pregnant with “evidence” that they felt vindicated and empowered enough to tell the whole world what they found out.

At a press conference, Dr. Bawumia announced that the NPP’s team of investigators had done a comparative analysis of the contents of the voters register of Togo and Ghana and found out that the names of 76,000 Togolese citizens were in Ghana’s register as well. These Togolese were Ewes, implying that the Ghanaian electoral roll was infested. He said many more, including the outcome of the facial biometric verification (or recognition?) method used by his team to establish that the photographs of those voters on the electoral rolls of both countries were doctored. In other words, a lot went wrong as far as the NPP was concerned. That was why the NPP was demanding that a new voters register be compiled for Ghana to weed out such undesirables.

As soon as the NPP’s version was announced, the rogue and book politics by its functionaries took a different turn for the worse. We heard many insulting comments from them about Ewes infiltrating the system and corrupting the Ghanaian electoral process. But the work done by Dr. Bawumia and his team left many ugly traces behind, which some of us questioned:

1. What was the primary motivation for choosing the Ewes as the primary focus for this cross-checking of contents in Ghana and Togo’s voters register? How about Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire, where similar factors existed for cross-border activities by Ghanaians living in those countries yet exercising and enjoying their birth right in Ghana as Ghanaians?

2. How possible was it for the Togolese authorities to release their voters register to the NPP for the kind of work that it did? Could they also be willing to do same to any other political party or Ghanaian institution seeking information thereby?

We monitored the situation with much reservation, especially considering the roughshod manner in which the NPP people were doing their politics with these 76,000 illegal Ewe voters’ issue, especially when some disgruntled NDC supporters in Northern Volta Region came out to say that they had been contracted to do the registration of those Togolese citizens.

As the NPP’s demands heightened, the EC reacted, asking the party to furnish it with its report on the work done by Dr. Bawumia and many other issues to facilitate its own cross-checking of issues to help it determine the way forward. After much hesitation, the NPP claimed to have met the EC’s request.

Now, what do we hear? The EC has made it clear that the NPP’s allegations couldn’t be supported by evidence and that it will not delete the names of the 76,000 voters in Ghana’s register just because the NPP is demanding so. The EC says the law doesn’t allow that line of action. (See http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/We-can-t-remove-names-of-Togo-nationals-EC-405014).

The EC has also said that the Togolese authorities refused to release their voters register to the EC when requested. We know that the EC is more credible a political authority than the NPP, especially when it comes to dealing with a sister electoral body in nearby Togo. Here is our question: If the Togolese authorities won’t release their register to Ghana’s EC, why would they do so to the NPP? How did the NPP have access to that register for Dr. Bawumia’s work but Ghana’s EC couldn’t, even when it officially applied to the Togolese authorities?

The picture is clear now: The EC will neither compile a new voters register for Election 2016 nor delete the names of the so-called 76,000 people that the NPP has alleged are Togolese nationals illegally registered to vote in Ghana. On that score, it will be pointless for the NPP to insist on having its cake while at the same time eating it.

What next for the NPP? Reason demands that campaigning for votes should be its prime objective. No litigation, street protests or condemnation of the EC will change the situation; but true to their nature, they have chosen to litigate (See http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Voters-register-LMVC-to-join-suit-against-EC-405012).

The NPP should stop wasting money on such Quixotic ventures because it won't gain anything from it. By isolating Ewes and creating that negative impression about them, what does the NPP hope to gain from them at the polls? No running of a fool's errand will give it the political capital it direly seeks to return to power.

One expects vigilance, not useless militancy, to help run a free, fair, and transparent Election 2016. It is interesting to learn that a room-to-room campaign approach has been adopted and is being used in the Manhyia constituency. Campaigning for the hearts and minds of the electorate should take precedence over sterile approaches involving militancy and insults. What will win electoral victory depends on convincing messages to the electorate about how the NPP will solve the very problems that its members have characterized President Mahama as “incompetent” in not solving. Then, and only then, will they be making hay while the sun shines. Otherwise, they will be torn into shreds again.

I shall return…

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Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.