By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Sunday, May 12, 2013
My good friends, we want to analyze the circumstances surrounding the NPP’s petition that have brought matters to a head at the end of the 14th day of the Supreme Court’s sitting and the order for the KPMG firm to recount/audit the pink sheets exhibited submitted by the petitioners as their affidavits.
I strongly believe that whatever doubts, suspicions, and apprehensions there may be at this stage can be traced to the history behind this petition. That history is not only murky but also suggestive of dishonesty, which if we get to know well won’t surprise us that the quantum of pink sheet exhibits is under scrutiny at this stage in the determination of the case.
Let’s start analyzing the issues from the very genesis of the suit and plot how the inconsistencies and murkiness set the tone for what has led to the Supreme Court’s order that the KPMG recount/audit the pink sheet exhibits as requested by Tsatsu Tsikata, counsel for the third respondents (the NDC).
Leaping before looking
When just about 10% of the results of the Presidential elections were announced, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie (NPP General Secretary) took to the airwaves to announce victory for Akufo-Addo. He didn’t stop there but proceeded to instruct the party’s followers to wear white and prepare for a massive celebration and church services on Sunday, December 9.
Then, reality sank to change the equation after the official results had been compiled and readied for release by the Electoral Commissioner. Faced with the embarrassment of a shocking first-round defeat at the hands of President Mahama, the NPP leaders forcefully appealed to the Electoral Commissioner to withhold the announcement of the results because they had been informed of certain malpractices that robbed Akufo-Addo of victory.
Afari Gyan asked them to provide documentary evidence but they couldn’t, whereupon he shrugged off their protestations and went ahead to announce the official results, satisfied that the elections were conducted in a free, fair, and transparent manner to the admiration of both local and international observers. These observers issued official statements praising Ghana for that feat. Interestingly enough, the NPP’s Agyarko had already confirmed in an official statement that the elections were, indeed, free, fair, and transparent. He even went further to praise Ghanaians for doing a good job.
But when the dust settled for them to know their sad fate, they quickly ate back their own vomit and began making all manner of allegations, which they carried further into the initial version of the petition that they filed against the President and the EC on January 28, 2013.
Initial allegations and later developments
We want to retrace their steps to see what their allegations were, how they changed the tune at every juncture, and what they eventually settled on as the substance of their petition being heard by the Supreme Court. We do so to prove that the doubts cast on their quantity of pink sheet exhibits have their root in the duplicity and vain propaganda with which they tenaciously began their agitations and with which they seem to be grinding to a halt midstream. That’s how they have dug their own grave.
What were the initial allegations against the President and the EC? Numerous, mainly:
• that the EC colluded with President Mahama to indulge in malpractices at the elections;
• that votes meant for Akufo-Addo were stolen for President Mahama;
• that votes were padded for President Mahama;
• Incontrovertible electoral fraud—stealing of the mandate of the people;
• that unverified voters were allowed in the NDC’s strongholds to vote for President Mahama while voters in the NPP’s strongholds not verified biometrically were prevented from voting;
• that massive rigging was done by the EC to favour President Mahama;
• that the Israeli company (STL?) in Dzorwulu was complicit in intercepting election results, doctoring them to favour President Mahama before forwarding them to the EC to release;
• that 28 illegal polling stations were opened to serve the interests of President Mahama;
• that Ghanaians outside the country voted for President Mahama;
• that the electoral register had been tampered with and votes of 241,000 Ghanaians abroad added to the votes meant for President Mahama;
• that the total figure for voters had been inflated to over 14 million; that the malpractices occurred at 4,709 polling stations;
• electoral and constitutional coup d’état; and
• many more allegations that got added or reformulated over time.
In effect, the NPP’s initial allegations suggested that the elections were fraudulent; and the EC worked purposely to rig the elections to favour President Mahama. That was why the petition was generated to catalogue those electoral malpractices and seek redress at the Supreme Court.
Inconsistency in the allegations
From the first press conference at the Alisa Hotel in Accra after filing the petition, where all these allegations were trumpeted, many public pronouncements by leading members of the NPP created the impression that the elections were characterized by massive corruption against Akufo-Addo.
They claimed that after counting just 28 constituencies, the votes fraudulently given to President Mahama exceeded 100,000. They started with 30,000 and went up to 50,000, then 100,000, and 1 million votes stolen for President Mahama.
Many of us questioned why the NPP chose only the Presidential aspect of the general elections to complain about when indeed both that and the Parliamentary one constituted the elections held on December 7 and 8.
Even before the Court could fix a date for hearing the matter, the tune changed when the NPP raised the number of polling stations allegedly fingered as venues where the malpractices were carried out. From the initial 4,709 polling stations, the figure shot up to 11,976 and as of now, it is pegged at 11,842 (which the KPMG will recount, anyway, because of Tsatsu Tsikata’s cross-examination of Bawumia, which has revealed anomalies, inconsistencies, duplications, triplications, and quadruplications in the pink sheet exhibits.
Of interest too is the number of polling stations from where the pink sheet exhibits were gathered. The NPP claimed that out of the 26,002 polling stations at which the general elections were held, it concentrated on 24,000 out of which it finally settled on 11,842 as the core of the petition.
Even out of the 24,000 polling stations that they claimed to have worked on, all the pink sheet exhibits are from only the NDC’s strongholds, where President Mahama won. That is where the petitioners are asking that 55% of votes for President Mahama and 28% for Akufo-Addo be nullified.
Purpose of the petition
Initially, the petitioners sought reliefs, the most important of which was for Akufo-Addo to be declared as winner of the Presidential elections. Now, they are no more stressing that relief but broadening their perspective to suggest that their petition seeks to enhance our democracy. As to how, only then can tell.
They are even claiming that their petition is to give “justice to the Ghanaian people.” In reality, they are telling their followers one thing and officially doing a different thing.
Tsatsu’s cross-examination of Bawumia and matters arising
We have watched and heard the questions-and-answer sessions throughout the 14-day proceedings at the Supreme Court and can attest to the fact that Bawumia’s admission that the petition was based on nothing but the pink sheets and that the evidence adduced for the petition lay nowhere else. Thus, no first-hand evidence from any party agent who participated in the procedures for the elections has so far been given nor is there any indication that any will be given.
The cross-examination has centred on many issues regarding administrative procedures: whether the election results were recorded, whether the pink sheets were signed by the Presiding Officers, whether the party agents signed the pink sheets or whether they lodged any formal complaint against any aspect of the elections.
Bawumia has insisted that the pink sheets proved over-voting (in instances where columns were left blank, especially, or where numbers on the pink sheets conflicted with how they were written in words and not figures; mislabelling of pink sheet exhibits, miscalculations, and many other anomalies attributable to administrative errors. In effect, the evidence is in the pink sheets!
What the petitioners are not telling their followers is that the results announced by the Electoral Commissioner came directly from what was collated, tallied, and announced at the various polling stations and faxed to the EC’s headquarters in Accra.
Have we been told by the Electoral Commissioner that what is on the pink sheets was what he announced as the outcome of Election 2012? That’s not the norm. The pink sheets are just records of what transpired and errors in the entries don’t necessarily amount to stealing of votes for President Mahama. That’s what the petitioners have failed to know; hence, their over-reliance on the pink sheet exhibits, which is further exposing their own mischief because of the erroneous manner in which they were assembled and submitted as affidavits.
As Fate would have it, their own pink sheet exhibits have confounding errors that make a mockery of their protestations against the EC after denying that as a human institution the EC couldn’t be insulated against infallibility.
The duplications, triplications, and quadruplications evident in their own exhibits as well as the instances of padding pink sheets for Parliamentary elections with those assembled for their case can’t be explained away as a mere “oversight” but a calculated act of mischief and treachery, which Tsatsu has exposed, leading to the order for those exhibits to be recounted and audited.
If for nothing at all, the history of this NPP petition has established one incontrovertible fact: that despite all the inconsistencies in their claims and allegations, these NPP petitioners and party leaders have consistently told lies and misled their own followers to the point that they waste their energies and time looking for DUNG where no cow has grazed. Isn’t that pathetic?
Once we know the history behind what they are in court doing, we won’t be perturbed at all by the revelations emerging during the proceedings at the Supreme Court. Now that their own lies are beginning to catch up with them, we won’t be surprised at if they change the tune again. Gradually, they are inching toward the grave that they have dug for themselves and we will help them lie therein.
I shall return…
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