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Will less than half of total Pink Sheet do the Trick

Wed, 7 Aug 2013 Source: Dekportor, Mensah

Will less than half of total Pink Sheet do the Trick for NPP?

The words “pink sheets” have gained a lot of prominence in the on-going Supreme Court case in Ghana due essentially to the fact that, the petitioners are primarily relying on information on pink sheets from 10,119 polling stations out of about 26,000 polling stations nationwide to make their case. In addition they are relying on issues relating to serial numbers, double registrations on the electoral register and creation of polling stations to essentially demonstrate a conspiracy between the Electoral Commission and other parties that they claim deprived Nana Akuffo Addo of victory in the 2012 election.

Pink sheets are essentially nothing but a record of specific events at polling stations on the Election Day as captured on the sheets and as confirmed by key stakeholders at various polling stations. These stakeholders include Presiding Officers and Polling Agents of the respective political parties.

By focusing their case on 10,119 pink sheets of polling stations out of about a total 26,000 pink sheets (less than half the total polling stations) the presumption is that the petitioners are claiming that the issues that form the basis of their case are non-existent in about 16,000 polling stations. This is especially so with reference to their request to the court to annul votes based on their analysis of 10,119 pink sheets, and for the court to declare Nana Akuffo Addo winner of the election based on their percentages of the total 26,000 polling station elections results i.e. 56.85 percent to Akuffo Addo and 41.79 percent to John Mahama.

Assuming that one is to accept the petitioners argument that all analysis of the election petition should be restricted to information on the face of the pink sheets, is it safe and accurate to rely on pink sheet analysis of 10,119 polling stations (less than half of 26,000 polling stations) to declare a percentage winner on the basis of total electoral votes cast?

Incidentally the petitioners’ case is based largely on pink sheet analysis of polling stations in which John Mahama won elections.

By failing to present to the court pink sheet analysis of the remaining over 16,000 polling stations the petitioners have denied the court of the opportunity to base their decision on analysis of the totality of 26,000 polling stations in order to safely rule in their favour, assuming that it is prudent to solely rely on the face of pink sheets alone for their decision as preferred by the petitioners. What if analysis of the remaining 16,000 polling stations discloses that 4 million of Nana Akuffo Addo’s votes could also be annulled citing the same irregularities as perceived by them in their analysis of 10,119 pink sheets? Let’s remember that the burden is on the petitioners to fully prove their case.

In other words, to request the court to isolate 10,119 polling stations and get them to presume that, all is well in 16,000 polling stations (including pink sheets of majority of the strong holds of Akuffo Addo) is asking the court to engage in selective justice to deliver an inaccurate decision.

Besides, as earlier indicated pink sheets are only records of events at the polling stations. There were witnesses and stakeholders present at the polling stations when these events unfolded including party polling agents who signed and confirmed the specifics of the events on the pink sheets. These stakeholders including party polling agents are in a better position to explain any discrepancies on the pink sheets than Dr. Bawumia who has admitted and stated that “you and I were not there”. For the petitioners and the NPP, their best witnesses for their case would have been their polling agents who signed the pink sheets. Their failure to call even one of them as witness to support their case implies that the agents were not ready to reverse the positions that they had taken in support of the declared results.

With regard to issues of double registrations, serial numbers etc. since they relate more to conspiracy, the petitioners should have offered concrete evidence of conspiracy between Electoral Commission and the respondents calculated to deny them of victory. Their evidence so far has failed to establish any such conspiracy. For instance there was no proof that double registrations led to double voting in their case.

The decision of the petitioners to live unchallenged, the results of the parliamentary elections when the same Electoral Commission structures and systems were employed for those elections cannot be ignored in a proper decision and analysis of this whole matter.

The long and shot of all of this is that, annulling votes and the consequence of such decisions have serious and drastic implications for nations, and should only be resorted to when evidence to that effect is overwhelming and full proof. Half baked and questionable analysis paraded as evidence should never form the basis of the annulment of valid votes cast by voters in any democracy.

Irregularities will always be a part of any elections that are held for as long as elections involve human actors and for the fact that there is nothing like a perfect election anywhere in the world. The key is to determine whether the irregularities substantially affected the declared result.

The Electoral commission says they did not affect the declared results. The petitioners say they did. The respondents say they did not. On the basis of my opinion above I say they did not. What does the Supreme Court say? We live to see.

God being in control, we shall surely cross the river.

God bless our Nation Ghana.

Report By: Mensah Dekportor

NDC- Germany Communication Director.

Email: cmdekportor@gmail.com

Columnist: Dekportor, Mensah