Ghana’s So-Called Psephologists

Psephology is the study of elections. Some persons in Ghana think they are masters of the art. They would never render a ‘thumbs-up’ gesture to anybody occupying the important seat of Chairperson, Electoral Commission (EC); positive performance notwithstanding.

Fate has, however, denied them the responsibility of being at the helm of the respectable yet stressful occupation of managing polls in Ghana.   

The Coalition Of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) did not deem it appropriate to don the cap of the EC with a feather. Maybe they deserve such a feather for the speed with which they delivered their report. It almost outpaced the EC announcement of the bye-election result.

They preferred going on a merry-go-round on security issues at the polling stations as though the term of reference is no longer the Police’s. It was a calculated venture to eventually deny the EC important marks.

Where plaudits are due, they should be showered unlimitedly: even when the EC was thought of not sufficiently primed to hold a referendum, the Commission proved such skeptics wrong. And now the bye-election was successfully conducted in a country with a negative track record of logistics deficient polls and the attendant late start et al.  

We find it outlandish the unproductive effort by CODEO to generalize a localized security challenge at the residence of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate and to nail the EC for that.

Indeed the Ghana Police Service is the constitutionally mandated state agency charged with manning internal security: the policing of elections included.

If in the estimation of CODEO, there is a lapse in the execution of policing duties on the election grounds, stretching this to implicate the EC would be a tendentious machination deserving of condemnation.

The National Security Council which is responsible for coordinating the operations of the security agencies in the country can, as they deem fit,  deploy other quasi-regimental outfits such as Ghana Immigration Service, Ghana National Fire Service or Ghana Prisons Service personnel to complement the service of the police.

CODEO’s exaggeration of the number of such personnel on the grounds and erroneously linking their presence to the EC is misplaced.

 To seek to create an impression of a widespread violence which therefore impacted negatively on voting in the various polling stations is a mendacious submission on the part of CODEO.

When our civil society organizations especially those inclined to election observation begin to show symptoms of insincerity and mendaciousness, we must get worried. A moral deficiency can rob a hastily penned report of the deference needed to make it important and worthy of reading.

It is unsurprising that the EC Chairperson reacted to the so-called report the way she did. Seeking to assign security matters at the polling stations to the EC is a glaring attempt at giving the Commission a bad name so it would be the subject of public ridicule.

It is not surprising therefore that none of the terms of reference of the EC has been faulted regarding the management of the bye-elections.

The integrity challenges of running clandestine lessons for favourite party faithful has not been associated with a Jean Mensa-managed EC.

The quality of the polls so far managed by the new faces at the EC can only be determined when juxtaposed with previous ones. For us, these are better than the previous ones and they show clearly.