There is little doubt that there was official manipulation and massaging of both the voting process and the outcome of election 2012 to hand a first round victory to President John Mahama.
Evidence available to me from two incontrovertible sources attests to this.
However, it is my contention that a post- facto proof of abuse of the process, even if successful, will not provide a meritorious and convincing case for the NPP to turn THE STOLEN VERDICT 3 into Victory 2012, even if this time it is in the form of an actual legal process instead of a book.
We may succeed in bringing better performance and greater accountability to the EC. However, while this may achieve a moral victory for us, it will not be Victory 2012. If only all the energies going into proving that we were robbed had been put into preventing the theft! Especially as we knew the likely futility of compiling a list of lost items as the evidence for taking the watchman to court on suspicion of colluding with the burglars.
The results of Election 2012 have been declared. President Obama has congratulated President Mahama. Kofi Annan has done likewise. David Cameron, ditto. Chancellor Merkel has added her two deutschmarks worth. In short, just about all of Ghanas allies in the western democracies plus all other world leaders of note have come to the conclusion that they will live with the outcome declared by the EC and press on with business. Put another way, they may be telling Ghanaians, and especially the NPP, in the most diplomatic but pointed way that Election 2012 is all over now; it is time to move on.
We will also do well to remember 1996, when the court action to reverse the NPP victory in AYAWASO WEST WUOGON dragged on till one week before Parliament rose in 2000 and our brother Amoo achieved a pyrrhic victory of becoming an MP who never took his seat.
All of the above does not, of course, detract from the reality of the deep-seated and extensive official abuse of process on Election Day. For example, reports from monitors who worked with us as part of the election 2012 observation exercise by GIPPO (THE GHANA INSTITUE FOR PUBL IC POLICY OPTIONS) indicated clearly the extent of official interference on voting day. For example, in the Akatsi North constituency in the Volta region, our official monitor reported thus:
Earlier on the Police, NDC Party chairman, Presiding member, the DCE, Deputy Regional Minister and other NDC executives came to the candidates house to arrest the candidate and some of his supporters. The reason given was that some NPP boys were preventing Togolese from coming to cast their vote and they believed it is the candidate who asked them to do that. After a short argument, they went back and called for re-enforcement. We agreed and escorted the candidate to the police station. After writing his statement, they allowed him to go. Within five minutes, the police came back saying that the regional commander says he doesnt want to lose his job, so the candidate should come to Ho to write a statement.
In the KETU SOUTH CONSTITUENCY our monitor reported as follows :
At Temp. Booth Viepe Aflao (A) with code no. D020802 (A), total votes cast was 528 while the verification machine recorded 515. We protested vehemently but the Presiding Officer refused to cancel the votes so our agent also refused to sign but indicated reasons on the form. As a result of these reasons and confrontations, the Electoral Officer in the person of Mr. Aminu refused to give us a copy of the Collation Form
Also, a cursory inspection of the results issued by the EC Central regional directorate gave immediate and ample proof of official manipulation of the results that is for the trained eye that knew what to look for. The first thing that struck me was that virtually all of the constituency result sheets were in the same hand writing; which immediately told you that the original results sheets from the declarations from the constituencies had been substituted by new ones prepared at the Regional EC office. This of course allowed the EC to alter the figures from the original constituency score sheets and substitute their own numbers. In order to cover up this gross act of thievery, the EC officials cut and pasted the signed declaration forms from the constituency sheets onto the bottom of the duplicitous regional result sheet to give the false declaration the stamp of authenticity and corroboration by the contestants.
The above acts, which were repeated all across the country and widely reported by our own and others who participated in and observed Election 2012, provided ample proof of the widespread abuse of the process, never mind the FREE & FAIR pronouncements of the AU & ECOWAS Observer teams, who were more interested in giving lectures on gender participation and equipment foibles of the day, rather than pointing out the obvious flaws. For some curious reason, they gave the verdict ahead of the COUNTING & MANIPULATION, and one need to wonder why.
Indeed, the case was crystallized by the events of Dome-Kwabenya where but for the diligence and persistence of the parliamentary candidate, Adwoa Safo, thievery would have been perpetrated. Here, the EC had no choice but to eventually accept that there had been a misdeed.
In the face of the evidence adduced above, why do I say that the NPP should lick their wounds, circumscribe the legal effort and let sleeping dogs lie, and prepare to put up a better performance in 2016 and beyond? The answer lies in the two key observations: firstly, the NPP put up an abominable performance in its monitoring and policing of the ballot day events, and especially the counting of the votes; and, secondly, the NPP was so confident of a favourable outcome that it completely ignored and wrote off all of the manipulative machinations of the EC in the run-up to the elections, especially the ECs damning failures on the verification of the election register.
Moreover, the NPP has long been aware of the fact that there has always been a big disconnect between the expressed will of the people and the outcome that is declared. Twenty years ago, at the very first election under the 4th Republican Constitution, the party went through the same emotions of early celebrations which gradually turned to gnashing of teeth as the night wore on and Christine Churchers victory at Cape Coast was reversed by the official result, and Ketu South put a stop to GBCs Election night broadcast that is still waiting to resume after a rain stop. This led to the boycott of the Parliamentary Elections and the production of the original STOLEN VERDICT tome. Come 1996, no lessons learnt; same process, same emotional stresses, same outcomes, ergo stolen again verdict.
In the 2000 Elections, a little fortune smiled on the NPP as the contest went into a runoff. Some of us figured out the tricks behind the follies of the two previous elections which snatched defeat from the jaws of victory on both occasions. We remembered two timely pieces of advice about elections; namely
its not the voting that is democracy; but the counting (Tom Stoppard, British Playwright)
Our elections are free -- it's in the results where eventually we pay. (Bill Stern, American comic)
Indeed, I remember quoting the first on the title page of the memorandum to then Candidate Kufuor, outlining the strategy and implementation plan that was to be put in place to ensure that the will of the people in the vote was reflected in the counting and results. As always, Ohene Kwaku and Nana Yaw formed the other two sides of the triangle. We managed to confirm to Candidate Kufuor his victory 24 hours ahead of official EC declaration, go to our bottle of black label whiskey and the rest is history. We found the antidote to the manipulation and made sure we beat the system at its own game.
So why oh why did we fall asleep on the job in 2008 (when we as the incumbent party accused the Opposition of rigging the elections) and this year, when it was all too obvious that we faced a clear and present danger of failing to manifest the will of the people. The people wanted and voted for an NPP Government but were let down by the Party as it failed to secure the victory through an effective policing of the count. The failure is unpardonable and inexplicable and no amount of post facto noise and bravado will atone for the cardinal sins of the NPP leadership. There is overemphasis on whipping up the partys base into a frenzy of we was robbed and we will retrieve our victory through the courts, without explaining to the supporters that we left both the gate and the front door unguarded to make it easy for the burglars, and that prospects of succeeding to dethrone President Mahama and crown President Akufo- Addo have minimal odds.
Let bygones be bygones and focus on guarding the future is a proverb that is embedded in the cultural and social underpinnings of all the ethnic groups of Ghana and probably all the peoples of the world as well. In trying to pull back the bolted horse, all the NPP has to be careful not to allow that horse to kick out and gore innocent Ghanaians who may even be sympathetic to the cause. The Ghana Journalist Association and some of its member bodies are angry with the unwarranted attacks on their members who are simply trying to cover the public protestations and exertions of the party. People whose persons and vehicles are being attacked indiscriminately are rightly crying foul. Our opponents are exploiting every single disruption of public peace as confirmation of the NPPs violent antecedence and manifestation of an unwillingness to accept anything else than a victory declared for the party, even as it failed woefully to work assiduously towards it.
At the end of the day, a main question that the NPP leadership has to answer truthfully to itself and more importantly to Ghanaians is : what are the real chances of the party succeeding to reverse the result of the 2012 presidential elections in court?
This question is posed in the context of:
Massaged EC results which have sometimes been contrived to have the signatures of the partys own accredited agents on the official declaration forms?
With our major development partners and our own Kofi Annan, so far, carefully not encouraging insistence on evidence of systematic abuse, can we expect them to rally to our cause now no matter the weight of post-facto evidence we bring forth?
Last but perhaps most importantly, with our thrust to broaden the partys base, how do we see the current actions of stirring up the base in relation to our ability to move beyond our base and attract the independent voters to return to our cause in 2016?
The decision to go to court, while it may add to strengthening our democratic process, poses significant questions about the NPPs current standing and future electoral prospects than the very simple and emotional appeal to a sorely disappointed base. What we need to remember is this: the eerie quietness of post election Ghana suggests that the majority of Ghanaians did indeed vote for change and are also very disappointed about the outcome. what we should avoid at all cost, is to unconsciously highlight the demonstrated incompetence in the monitoring of the voting and counting that failed to turn their expressed wish into the actual change. Whatever we do, let us not compromise and jeopardize NPPs future election prospects to satisfy the short term desires of those who may have failed the party and the people of Ghana so badly.
Lest anyone thinks that Tarzans glaucomic eyes have miraculously been restored to a perfect 20/20 post- election clarity, let me share 2 paragraphs of what turned out to be a prophetic memorandum that I wrote on October 23, 2012, a full six weeks before Election day:
We must create an army of ABLE, COMMITTED & UNBRIBALE supporters who will be willing to observe the elections at all 27,000 polling stations and other centres on Election Day. The folks must be drawn from PROFESSIONALS, THE YEF, TESCON, FORMER DCES, FORMER POLITICAL OFFICE HOLDERS, AFAG and the whole myriad of people and organizations who are currently offering numerous opinions and commentaries on the Election campaign from the sidelines. They must be mobilized to get involved and get committed and offer themselves as willing and committed to demonstrate their belief in the NPPs cause by rolling up their sleeves on Election Day to work meaningfully for our victory.
We simply cannot allow nor afford to be surprised on Election Day and must take immediate actions to protect what will undoubtedly be an expression by the people of Ghana of their confidence and belief in us on Election Day. It is our duty and responsibility to manifest the will of the people by ensuring that what they vote for is what is declared as the outcome. The best it technology will no doubt help. But the most important driver and guarantor of our success will be the quality, commitment, and integrity of the 30,000 people working for us at all the polling stations and the various cogs in the electoral process on the day.
As far as I am concerned, those who watched things happen then, instead of making things happen, and are now straining their credentials to prosecute stolen verdict 3 simply have no case. Their time would be better spent ensuring that the will of the people of Ghana in election 2016 will be manifested in a victorious outcome.
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