The Centre for Creativity, Ghana (CFC-Ghana) has called on the judiciary to use the NPP’s court case against the Electoral Commission as an opportunity to prove to Ghanaians of its neutrality.
“The confidence the good people of Ghana have in the Judiciary should be justified,” the Centre said in a press statement signed by its Executive Director Abdel Manan Abdel Rahman, and Executive Secretary Ebenezer Kondo.
Below is the full statement
The Centre for Creativity, Ghana (CFC-Ghana) wishes to express its views and caution about the NPP’s decision to go the Supreme Court to challenge the outcome of the 2012 presidential election results, the sequence of events leading to their going to court, the perception of the public about the Judicial system and our piece of advice to the NPP and the Court.
It would be recalled that, on Saturday 9th December while the voting was going on, Mr. Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, the General Secretary of the NPP addressed a press conference where he declared Nana Addo as the winner with 51.3 per cent and called on the supporters to come out in white to jubilate.
No sooner had the NPP organised their press conference than the National Peace Council also held a press conference to condemn the action of the NPP.
After that, the NPP alleged that an ICT centre owned by some Israelis was being used to intercept results from the districts. As if that was not enough they published figures that turn up to be false after the Electoral Commission had published the entire results. They also went ahead to attempt to put injunction on EC from declaring the results.
It would be recalled that many eminent persons of the land, religious bodies, etc condemned what many classified as the relentless attack on the EC and the personality of Dr. Afari Djan since the declaration of election 2012 results.
We must not destroy the nation’s democratic pillars in the quest for perceived justice. The NPP must proceed to court tomorrow and stop the unbridled attack on the EC and its Chairman.
NPP AND THEIR FIGURES
It is also worthy to note that the figures being bandied around by the NPP as “stolen” figures added to that of John Mahama is not only full of inconsistencies and contradictions but also shameful nd laughable. According to their General Secretary Mr Owusu Afriyie ( Sir John ) a whopping number of 1,000,000, one million votes were added to that of President John Mahama whilst Mr Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu claims 150,000 was the figure and Nana Akomea’s figure was 84,000. Deputy Communications Director John Boadu is also alleging the figure is 53,000. Is this the incontrovertible evidence they have been talking about?
CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS FOR DETERMINING THE WILL OF THE ELECTORATE
Article 49 of the Constitution provides the rules for determining the will of the electorate during an election. It requires that “immediately after the close of the poll, the presiding officer shall, in the presence of such of the candidates or their representatives and their polling agents as are present, proceed to count, at that polling station, the ballot of that station and record the votes cast in favour of each candidate.” (Article 49(1). Furthermore, the “presiding officer, the candidates or their representatives shall then sign a declaration stating (a) the polling station; and (b) the number of votes cast in favour of each candidate and the presiding officer shall, there and then, announce the result of the voting at the polling station before communicating them to the returning officer.” Article 49(2). The Public Elections Regulations adopted in 2012 pursuant to Constitutional Instrument 75 (hereinafter referred to as CI 75), also requires the presiding officer to “give each candidate, or the representative of the candidate or counting agent a copy of the declaration of the results.” CI 75, Section 36(3)(b).
Furthermore, “immediately after the results of the poll for all the polling stations in the constituency have been given to the returning officer, the returning officer shall, in the presence of the candidates or the representatives of the candidates or not more than two counting agents appointed by each candidate (a) assemble the results from the polling stations without recounting the ballots in the ballot boxes, except where there is a challenge by a candidate or counting agent in respect of a specific box; [and] (b) give public notice of the total number of votes cast for each candidate.” CI 75, Section 40(1).
Thus, the most important piece of evidence in any challenge of the results of the 2012 election will be the declarations signed at each polling station. Any discrepancies in the figures as reported in the declarations at the polling stations on the one hand, and the figures as reported for collation purposes at the constituency level, would introduce errors into the vote tallies and potentially could affect the outcome of the election. Indeed, the discrepancies would have this effect if a revision of the figures previously declared by the EC (on the basis of collations after the voting on December 7 and 8, 2012) would reduce the percentage of votes for President John Mahama to 50% or less, and /or increase Nana Akufo Addo’s vote tallies to more than 50%.
However, it is also clear from the constitutional provisions that no weight is to be attached to evidence other than the polling station declarations in ascertaining the will of the electorate. Therefore, it is not permissible to refer to extraneous evidence such as interviews with polling agents, etc., to attempt to reconstruct the votes of the electorate and then to allege a discrepancy with the EC vote tallies based on such reconstructed figures.
Any claims by the NPP of manipulation of results by the EC will have to be assessed against the numerous safeguards in the electoral regulations to prevent such abuse as provided for in Article 49 of the Constitution and Sections 35, 36, 37 and 40 of CI 75.
(1) At the polling stations, ballots are counted publicly in front of everyone who cares to watch.
(2) Each presidential candidate is allowed to appoint one counting agent at the polling station to attend to the counting at the polling station.
(3) The presiding officer and polling agents are required to sign a declaration stating the name of the polling station; the total number of persons entitled to vote at that polling station; and the number of votes cast in favour of each candidate.
(4) The presiding officer is required to announce publicly the results of the voting at the polling station.
(5) At the polling station, the presiding office is required to give to the counting agent a copy of the declaration of the results of the polling station.
(6) The counting agent can request an automatic recount of the ballot papers at the polling station if not satisfied with the original counting.
(7) The counting agent can request a second recount of the ballot papers at the polling station but the presiding officer may refuse to perform the second recount if he determines it to be inconvenient.
(8) Where the presiding officer refuses to perform a second recount of the ballot papers at the polling station, the request should be passed on to the returning officer who must perform that second recount of the ballot papers of that polling station only at the constituency collation centre.
(9) After the announcement of the results at the polling station and in the presence of the counting agents, the ballot boxes are to be sealed with the seals of the presiding officer and the polling agents to prevent introduction of additional ballot papers.
(10) The presiding officer is required to deliver the sealed ballot papers to the returning officer with a statement indicating the number of ballot papers entrusted to the presiding officer.
(11) No recount of ballot boxes is permitted at the constituency collation centres except where there is a challenge by a counting agent in respect of a specific ballot box.
(12) At the constituency collation centre, the results of all polling stations in the constituency are assembled publicly by the returning officer.
(13) Each presidential candidate is allowed to appoint at least two counting agents to represent him at the constituency centre during the collation of results from the polling stations.
(14) The returning officer is required to publicly announce the total number of votes cast for each candidate, and in parliamentary elections, declare as elected the candidate to whom most votes have been given.
(15) The counting agents are authorized to sign the declaration of result form and can check for any errors made in adding up the results from the polling stations.
(16) When signed, a copy of the declaration of result form is posted at the constituency collation centre by the returning officer.
(17) Finally, the returning officer is required to forward figures from the constituency collation sheets to the EC headquarters.
OUR ADVICE TO THE COURT
This is an opportunity for the judiciary to prove to Ghanaians of its neutrality. The confidence the good people of Ghana have in the Judiciary should be justified.
It would be recalled that in 2008 elections, Hon. Atta Akyea then MP Elect of Abuakwa South was got on tape with his NPP colleagues bragging that he could talk to his in-law the Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood to woo her into solidarising with their stance. Indeed Lawyer Atta Akyea’s Ex-Parte motion to stop the EC from declaring the results during a national holiday was successful. Could it be because of the relationship he has with the CJ that enabled the CJ convened the seating on a holiday?
What is the role of Atta Akyea in this upcoming Supreme Court case? What about the role of Ex-President Kufour, who virtually awarded her the position after she had successfully chaired the “Cocaine Commission” which exonerated the then Government. What about the land which was alleged to have been given to Madam Wood by NPP Government?
It is the hope of CfC Ghana that the truth will prevail to ensure that H. E. the President continue to serve this country and its people by the Fulfilling the Better Ghana Agenda.