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Further & Better Particulars Needed On E-Transmission Of Election Results   
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At the request of Her Excellency Lady Lordina, Papa J has deferred the traditional pre-election ‘boom’ speech till after December 7, 2016. But just as I was about to fill the void with a ‘Tarzanic boom’ on E- transmission of this year’s election results, my lips were sealed by an amazing discovery I came across in my research for this essay.

I had intended to expatiate on my earlier position that the e-transmission of results from all of the 29,000 polling stations would not only be a waste of public resources, but could possibly infringe on the law and established processes for the declaration of results at public general elections. 

Can you imagine my utter surprise when my research unearthed that after all the EC & I were not only singing from the same hymn sheet, we were in complete harmony about what and how e-transmission should be done? To boot, even though the EC had put forward this position before my last essay, it reacted to my argument with  an inexplicable “Y3nte Gyae” response to the suggestion that the ongoing demonstration by potential e-vendors, based on transmission from almost 29,300 points, was a veritable case of putting the horse before the cart, and should be stopped in its tracks until such time as agreement had been reached by all parties on the objects and methodologies for e-transmission of the 2016 election results.

The 4th August 2016 edition of the ‘People’s Daily Graphic, carried a story with the title: “No E- transmission of polling station results- EC”. The story, penned by Enoch Darfah Frimpong, was based on an interview that the new and very media-friendly Head of Communications at the EC, Mr. Eric Kofi Dzakpasu, had given to Okay FM, an Accra-based FM station. He was quoted as saying,” nobody has said he was going to transmit results electronically from the 29,000 polling stations.” The story’s opening paragraph read, “The Electoral Commission has clarified that the proposed electronic transmission of election results in 2016 will only be done from the constituency collation centres and not from polling stations.”

Having credited the ‘People’s Daily, I would like to quote copiously from it to share my discovery. The second paragraph elaborates further as follows: “According to the Commission, it will not be practically possible considering infrastructure challenges and the cost involved, to transmit election results electronically from all 29,000 polling stations across the country. Rather, presiding officers after declaring results at the polling stations, will have to personally deliver their polling station results to the constituency collation centres for them to be entered on the collation sheet by hand writing. After that, party agents and election officers will append their signatures to the tallied constituency results and then scan and transmit electronically to the national collation centre in Accra”

So there we have it, “Yes, Tarzan & the EC are indeed singing harmoniously from the same hymn sheet on E –transmission, Yippee, let’s go to the spot and drink a few bottles in celebration and wait for Dec 7.” Not so fast brothers & sisters, I say. The very fact of a seeming common position on the process of E-transmission is itself very troubling. In fact, “there are more questions than answers”, which can and must only be clarified by the EC offering further and better particulars to us Ghanaians on E-transmission of this year’s election results.

I believe we need clear answers to the following questions, amongst others:

1.        When did the EC come to the position enunciated by its Head of Communications in the Okay FM interview?

2.      Was it before or after the public advertisement inviting potential vendors to bid for the e-transmission of election results from approx. 29,300 polling stations and constituency collating centres”

3.      If it was before the public invitation, why did the advertisement ask for the supply of scanners and related hardware for transmission from all 29,000 polling stations and collation centres?”;

4.     If it was after publication of the invitation to bid, why did the EC proceed with a process that required demonstration of capacity and capability to transmit from 29300 points, instead of just the 285 collation centres and regional EC offices?”

5.      Is there an intention to run a parallel e-transmission process from all the polling stations to receive and display so called ‘provisional’ results, and if so, what is the purpose and legality of such a process?

6.      If the EC position is for e-transmission as stated by Mr.  Dzakpasu, should the just completed vendor selection process be cancelled and a new process started given the very fundamental change in the scope of the process and its implicit unfairness to the assessment of the capabilities of vendors, especially local ones?”

7.      Can the EC justify the selection of a foreign vendor given the much reduced scope of work and the relatively reliable e-transmission technology infrastructure at almost all of the 285 collating centres and regional EC offices?

8.       Last but not least, Can The EC justify the cost involved in its advertised vendor selection process which is now confirmed by its public spokesperson as a departure from actual process? 

It is absolutely important that the EC and the competing political parties and individual candidates confer and agree clear and unambiguous answers to the above and any other related questions. There is no better setting for this than the next meeting of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC).

I commend this to all in the interest of integrity, transparency and credibility of the E-transmission of the results of the 2016 General Elections. As an added bonus, it will ensure that all sides will accept the outcome of the elections and Ghana shall continue to enjoy the peace and tranquility that has been the hallmark of democratic governance in the 4th Republic.       

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