The Electoral Commission (EC) has complied with the Supreme Court order asking it to furnish the petitioners challenging John Mahama’s declaration as winner of the 2012 presidential election with details of the registration exercise it conducted abroad.
Details are emerging about those figures as the total number of Ghanaians registered abroad is believed to be far lower than suggested by the numbers the Commission cited when it declared the general election results.
The EC has submitted that only 705 Ghanaians registered in Ghanaian missions abroad where registration took place, whereas it originally reported that over 241,000 people had registered.
This figure includes diplomatic staff, security persons on peace missions, students on Ghana government scholarships and Ghanaians serving with international bodies.
In its answers to the petitioners earlier in the case, the EC indicated that even though it had announced initial a provisional figure of 13,917,366 total registered voters, that number rose to 14,158,890 after the registration of Ghanaians abroad, an increase of 241,524.
The petitioners, namely New Patriotic Party (NPP) 2012 presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo, his running mate Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and party chairman Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, had filed an application for 'interrogatories' to get the EC to furnish them with documents on the voters registered overseas.
The particulars requested concerned Ghanaians serving abroad including foreign service officials, students abroad on government scholarships, Ghanaians working in international organizations and security service personnel returning from duties as well as the way in which these people were registered.
The petitioners argued that the application should be moved because after the petition was filed, the EC submitted that over 200,000 votes from voters registered abroad were included in the final tally.
When filing his answers as second respondent to the petition, President Mahama affirmed this submission by the EC.
Unless it filed another document detailing the names, addresses and places of registration, the list submitted by the EC in compliance with the court's order would have been considered inadequate.
In documents viewed by the Daily Guide, the EC filed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented to it a list of 2,350 members of staff serving missions abroad, explaining that the commission 'captured' only 705 of the number submitted in September and October 2012.
According to Amadu Sulley, the EC Deputy Chairman in Charge of Finance and Administration, 55 voters who registered in Accra were staff serving in Ghanaian missions abroad but had returned home during the elections.
The locations where the registration exercises took place and the number of people who registered are as follows:
Europe: London, 49; The Hague, 27; Moscow, 34; Berlin, 27; Geneva, 26; Rome, 16; Spain, 3. The Americas: Cuba, 15; Washington DC, 23; New York, 55; Brazil, 13. Asia: China, 20; Seoul, 22; India, 17; Dubai, 19; Malaysia, 13. East & South Africa: Addis Ababa, 36; Pretoria, 43. North Africa: Rabat, 45; Algiers, 28; Cairo, 20. West Africa: Monrovia, 27, Dakar, 21; Abidjan, 13; Bamako, 11; Abuja, 30 and Lome, 7.
The EC insisted that before conducting its registration exercises abroad, it had given the NPP and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) the list of foreign service personnel, their dependants, students on Ghana government scholarships abroad and Ghanaians working with international organisations as well as their locations and proposed dates of registration.
"Honourable Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh [NPP] and Mr George Lawson [NDC] collected the material on behalf of their political parties in the middle of September, 2012," the EC declared, adding that, "no voting took place outside Ghana."
On January 7, the EC denied the petitioners' allegation that the election had been rigged in favour of President Mahama, issuing the denial through their lawyers Lynes, Quarshie-Idun & Co and copying it to Akufo-Addo, Prempeh & Co, lawyers for the petitioners, and to Tony Lithur of Lithur, Brew & Co, lawyers for President Mahama.
The affidavit sworn to by Kwadwo Sarfo-Kantanka, a Deputy EC Commissioner, averred that the total number of registered voters was 14,031,680 and that the use of the figure 14,158,890 to declare the results was a 'genuine' error that ultimately had no bearing on the results declared.
The Commission said the discrepancy rather affected reported voter turnout by increasing it from 79.43% to 80.15%.