Ghana’s Electoral Commission has set up a 10-member working group to scrutinise raft of proposals submitted to it for electoral reforms aimed at amending existing laws, administrative procedures and arrangements ahead of the 2016 general elections. Following the 2012 presidential election dispute culminating in a petition to the country’s Supreme Court, there was a clamour for electoral reforms from political parties, civil society organisations, individuals and technical staff of the commission. This public outcry, coupled with the Supreme Court’s recommendations, forced the West African country’s elections body to initiate a roadmap for the process. The committee, made up of representatives of the commission’s members, political parties and civil society organisations is, therefore, tasked to examine those proposals for the reform.
Political parties under the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) Ghana Political Parties Programme (GPPP) have proposed electoral reforms in order to enhance the electoral system. The political parties comprised those with representations in parliament such as the National Democratic Congress, New Patriotic Party, People’s National Convention and the Convention People’s Party, as well those with no parliamentary representations. Speaking at the IEA National Stakeholder Workshop on electoral reforms in Accra Dr Ransford Gyampo, a Senior Research Fellow at IEA and Coordinator of GPPP, said two workshops were held for the political parties by the IEA as part of its commitment to deepen Ghana’s democracy.
Political parties in the country have cast doubt on the Electoral Commission’s ability to implement reforms following the challenges which confronted the 2012 polls. The Commission has come under criticisms by some political for its inability to deal effectively with some of the problems that bedevilled the elections, that some argue, could have been avoided. Speaking to Joy News on the sidelines of a workshop to discuss proposals for electoral reforms, some representatives of the political parties say the EC cannot be trusted to effectively carry out the reforms. MP for Manhyia East, Dr Matthew Opoku Prepmeh, who spoke for the New Patriotic Party, observed experience has shown that the Commission is not amenable to change.
Ghana’s Supreme Court is asking for final written arguments by the end of July in an opposition case challenging the 2012 election of President John Mahama. The court will rule in August on the petition to overturn the election in what is considered one of Africa’s most stable democracies. Just weeks after the December 7 election of John Mahama, the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) went to the Supreme Court complaining of election irregularities. Mahama won in the first round with 50.7 percent of the vote in an election certified as free and fair by the election commission and the international community. But the NPP alleges fraud based on data from polling stations, including over voting and voting by people not registered by the new biometric finger printing system.
Chairman of Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC) has told the Supreme Court in the ongoing election petition that the serial numbers embossed on electoral record papers (pink sheets) are irrelevant, and therefore, bear no significance to declared election results. The petitioners had claimed in their pleadings that duplication of serial numbers on pink sheets was one of the vehicles used by the president and the governing National Democratic Congress in collusion with the Electoral Commission to rig the 2012 elections. However, Dr. Afari-Gyan, on Monday, June 3, 2013 told the court during his evidence-in-chief that the serial numbers on the pink sheets have “absolutely no relevance to the compilation and declaration of results”. He maintained that “the pink sheets are distributed randomly”.
Ghana’s Supreme Court must decide in the coming months whether or not to overturn December elections that handed the presidency to John Mahama, in a rare case of African judicial vigour that has transfixed the country. Proceedings in a packed courtroom, where opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo is challenging the outcome of the 2012 poll, are broadcast live on the radio and blare from cars and buses as the population of 25 million tunes in for the latest developments. Legal experts say the verdict, expected some time between late June and August, is too close to call, and several believe there is a genuine chance the court could invalidate the victory of Mahama’s ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The list of the 705 voters submitted by the Electoral commission as being names of Ghanaians registered in various diplomatic missions abroad to vote in the December 2012 polls, “was actually forged and contained several instances of multiple names and fake identities.” This was revealed in the affidavit of the petitioners challenging the outcome of the 2012 presidential elections. On Sunday, the petitioners filed their affidavits with supporting evidence to enable the hearing of the case to begin on April 16. According to the affidavit filed by Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the 2nd petitioner, the list of 705 names from various diplomatic missions abroad furnished by the EC (2nd respondent) contained “51 instances of repeated names to a total of 102.” Furthermore, many of the names supplied by the EC cannot be found in the general voters’ register presented to political parties before the election, the affidavit alleged.
It has emerged that in spite of the fact that the government provided GH¢198 million (198 billion old cedis) through budgetary allocations to the Electoral Commission (EC), for the biometric registration of voters and electronic verification for the December, 2012 elections, the Commission is reported to be owing over GH¢120 million (120 billion old cedis) in respect of the registration and the elections. According to finance ministry officials, the EC has not provided evidence on the over expenditure given the fact that the budget of the EC even included allocations for run off of the Presidential elections between the first two contestants, if no outright winner emerged. The EC is in a debt crisis following its inability to settle debts owed to suppliers of biometric equipment and election material as well as printers and EC officials, regarding the registration exercise and the December, 2012 general elections.
The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) has called on the Electoral Commission not to use high illiteracy rate as an excuse not to implement the e-voting system, but immediately begin a nationwide education on possible use of the system. The party had written to the Electoral Commission after the last election requesting the nation uses the electronic voting system. The Electoral Commission (E.C) Chairman, Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan yesterday announced that the nation is not ready to go electronic voting considering the high illiteracy rate which persists. But speaking to Citi News, PPP General Secretary, Kofi Asamoah said the EC’s excuse is a poor one.
The Electoral Commission (EC) says no voter was allowed to cast his/her ballot without undergoing biometric verification. It said upon being served with the further and better particulars by the petitioners on 11,916 polling stations where alleged irregularities took place, it examined and analysed its records, adding, “the analysis confirmed that, no voters were allowed to vote without verification at any polling station.” In an amended response filed at the registry of the Supreme Court on its behalf by its solicitors, Lynes, Quashie-Idun and Co., the EC denied claims that voters were allowed to vote without undergoing verification, adding that voting continued on December 8, 2012 at about 400 polling stations where slowness or malfunction of machines was recorded on voting day on December 7, 2012.
The Electoral Commission (EC), has stated that it has not directed any of its officials to get people to sign any documents pertaining to the 2012 elections. After the declaration of the election results, “It was absolutely unnecessary to sign any form,” EC Public Relations Director, Mr Owusu Parry told this source. He was reacting to the arrest of three of its officials inTamale at the weekend, for possessing some unsigned pink sheets which they allegedly attempted to validate at Savelugu. They are the Deputy Northern Regional Director of the EC, Mr. Godfred Oakley, the Savelugu/Nanton district director of the commission, Mr. Benjamin Akomanua and a national service person, Salamatu Osman. Mr. Akomanua and Salamatu were alleged to have asked some returning officers in the area to sign 15 pink sheets that were in their possession at Savelugu on Sunday morning. They were however apprehended by some operatives of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and handed over to the Savelugu police.
Without any shred of doubt, the Afari Djan led Electoral Commission has failed to prove the existence of 241,524 voters abroad and returning peacekeepers whose inclusion according to the EC bloated the provisional 13,917,366 to 14,158,890. The Electoral Commission in response to the plaintiffs, Nana Akufo-Addo and Co’s ongoing Supreme Court case challenging the declaration of John Mahama as winner of the Presidential elections that produced John Dramani Mahama as President. Responding to the plaintiff’s questioning the integrity of the voters who register in paragraph 6 of its response, the Electoral Commission stated “In answer to paragraph 12 of the Petition, the 2nd Respondent says that the initial provisional figure it announced of registered voters was 13,917,366. After the conduct of registration of Foreign Service officials, students abroad on government scholarship, other Ghanaians working abroad in International organizations and the late registration of service personnel returning from international peacekeeping duties, it announced a figure of 14, 158,890 representing the raw entries in the Registration Database”.
Ghana: Petitioners submit particulars as Electoral Commission provides number of voters abroad | Ghana Business News
The petitioners contesting the declaration of President Mahama as the winner of the December 2012 polls have submitted the names and codes of 4,709 polling stations where alleged irregularities took place. They have also filed the names and codes of the polling stations where voting took place without biometric verification. President John Dramani Mahama and the Electoral Commission (EC), who are the first and second respondents in the petition are expected to be served with the filed documents before the end of the week.
Ghana: Supreme Court Grants NPP Request – Orders EC to Provide Details…Directs Akufo-Addo to Furnish Respondents With ‘Better Particulars’ | allAfrica.com
The Supreme Court by a unanimous decision has granted the request of the petitioners; for the Electoral Commission (EC) to provide them with details of the names and addresses of persons who were registered overseas and the manner in which those persons were registered. The petitioners are also asking for the declaration forms of all polling stations in the 2012 presidential election, the minutes of all meetings held between the EC and political parties between 2010 and 2012, and the special voters list used in the 2012 presidential election. According to Peace FM’s Bernard Quanson, the Supreme Court by a ruling of 9-0, ordered the EC to provide the petitioners with those details within 7 days.
Ghana: Election challenge: Court orders petitioners to provide better particulars | Ghana Business News
The Supreme Court by unanimous decision on Tuesday ordered the petitioners in the December election petition to furnish the Electoral Commission (EC) and President Mahama with better particulars of claims with respect to the alleged electoral irregularities. Two of the three respondents, President Mahama and the EC had filed separate applications praying the Supreme Court to order the petitioners to supply them with further and better particulars of the petition. The respondents were seeking for “further and better particulars” with respect to the names and codes of the 4,709 polling stations, constituencies and regions where alleged electoral irregularities took place.
The presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the December 2012 general election, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has opposed the request by the Electoral Commission (EC) for further documents in the petition contesting the results of the presidential poll. He said the EC “ought not be permitted to employ an application for further and better particulars to compel the petitioners to disclose the nature of evidence petitioners intend to lead during the trial”. The EC filed a motion on January 15, 2013 praying the Supreme Court to direct the petitioners to furnish it with “further and better” particulars of polling stations the alleged irregularities took place. But Nana Akufo-Addo, who is one of the petitioners challenging the declaration of President Mahama as the winner of the polls, in an affidavit in opposition dated January 21, 2013, prayed the court to dismiss the EC’s request. Hearing of the EC’s motion for further particulars has been set for January 29, 2013.
The Supreme Court says it will rule on the National Democratic Congress (NDC)’s application seeking to join a petition contesting the declaration of President John Dramani Mahama as winner of the December 7, 2012 presidential poll. The petition was filed by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) after the Electoral Commission of Ghana (EC), Chairman Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan announced the final results and declared John Mahama winner of the 2012 elections on December 9, 2012.
John Dramani Mahama was sworn in as Ghana’s president Monday, following last month’s disputed presidential and parliamentary polls. However, members of the main opposition party boycotted the ceremony, saying the vote was stolen. Mahama took the oath of office before regional heads of state, dignitaries and tens of thousands of citizens Monday, promising he would not let his country down.
Ghana: NPP urges Electoral Commission to clarify the status of biometric machines used in Ghana presidential election | BiometricUpdate.com
The General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has called on the Electoral Commission in Ghana to clarify the status of all biometric verification machines used in the country’s latest election, earlier this month. General Secretary Kwado Owusu Afriyie has made these calls, as reports of District Returning Officers allege that they had received instructions to reset biometric machines to zero verification at the polling stations, Joy Online reports. The National Democratic Congress (NDC) party’s John Dramani Mahama has won the election with 50.7% of the vote, narrowly defeating the NPP’s Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who held 47.74% of the vote.
Ghana: Despite Some Glitches, Ghana’s New Biometric Voting System Widely Viewed as a Success | TechPresident
Ghanaians went to the polls last Friday to cast their ballots for president. Widely viewed as a poster child for stability and democracy in a region that is fraught by civil war and conflict, the West African country must now decide how to invest its newly discovered oil wealth. The current elections placed the incumbent President John Dramani Mahama, 58 (@JDMahama), of the National Democractic Congress (NDC) against Nana Akufo-Addo, 64 (Nadaa2012), of the leading opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP). Mahama favors generating wealth by investing the country’s oil revenues in infrastructure, while Akufo-Addo counters that the way to raise the population out of poverty is to invest the money in free primary and secondary education. The average Ghanaian makes $4 per day, with the majority of the population yet to experience the benefits of oil revenues.
Ghana’s election commission announced Sunday night that the West African nation’s president won re-election, though the main opposition party says it has “credible evidence” the results were manipulated. In a statement streamed live on the Internet, Electoral Commission Chairman Kwadwo Afari-Gyan declared “John Dramani Mahama president-elect” after securing 50.7% of the vote. Nana Akufo-Addo, the candidate for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), garnered 47.7% of the vote, according to the commission.
“We must celebrate together as Ghanaians and refrain from anything that will derail the peace and unity we have enjoyed over the years,” Mahama told supporters after the result was announced. But reiterating claims made earlier that the vote had been “manipulated,” the New Patriotic Party issued a statement it has “credible evidence (that) undermines the integrity of the electoral process and the results.”
President John Dramani Mahama was declared the winner Sunday of Ghana’s recent presidential election, according to provisional results, despite widespread technical glitches with the machines used to identify voters, and over the protest of the country’s opposition, which alleges vote-rigging. Armored tanks surrounded Ghana’s electoral commission and police barricaded the road around the electoral offices as the election body’s chairman Kwadwo Afari-Gyan announced that Mahama had polled 5.5 million votes, or 50.7 percent. Opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo, who lost the 2008 election by less than 1 percent, came in second with 5.2 million votes, or 47.7 percent, Afari-Gyan said. Voter turnout was high, with more than 80 percent of the roughly 14 million registered voters casting ballots in Friday’s presidential and parliamentary election.
International observers endorsed Ghana’s presidential and parliamentary polls despite delays at polling stations that pushed voting into a second day Saturday. “All of Africa was looking at Ghana to make sure that they live up to their reputation and their name of being a mature democracy,” said Ahmed Issak Hassan, head of an observer mission from the South Africa-based Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa. “I think so far the people of Ghana, the political leadership have lived up to that expectation.
Ghanaians will be going to the polls on December 7, 2012 to elect a new president and parliament. The elections come after the death of President John Atta Mills in July 2012. In addition to John Dramani Mahama, former vice-president and initial replacement for the late President Mills, seven other candidates are contesting the presidency. In late November all eight signed a peace pact pledging to ensure a peaceful electoral process. Ghana has the reputation of being one of Africa’s few stable democracies. However, the previous election in late 2008 was marred by a number of violent incidents. As a result, a conference was held in Accra the following year to analyze events and try to establish new standards and practices for African electoral commissions.
All the eight presidential candidates in Ghana’s December 7 election Tuesday signed what they called the Kumasi Declaration, pledging to avoid violence, impunity and injustices during and after the poll. The ceremony in Kumasi was witnessed by the Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood and the two former presidents, Jerry John Rawlings and John Kufuor, and the King of the Asante, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.
The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) will deploy about 5,000 personnel throughout the country as part of the election security taskforce instituted to deal with troublemakers and to ensure peace and security at the December 7 polls. The Director of the Public Relations Directorate of the GAF, Col. Mbawine Atintande, who disclosed this at a press soiree organised by Public Relations Officers of Security Services in Ghana, indicated that the security agencies would leave no stone unturned to deal with people who would foment trouble during the general elections. As part of the taskforce, the Ghana Prisons Service would also be providing about 2,000 personnel for election duties, Public Relations Officer of Prisons, Vitalis Ayeh disclosed.
Ghana: Political Parties Unhappy At Electoral Commission’s Failure to Release Voters’ Register | allAfrica.com
Political parties are angry with the Electoral Commission for failing for the second time, to give them copies of all the voters register as promised. Last week, Chairman of the Commission, Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan announced at an IPAC meeting that, hard copies of the registers would ready for distribution on Monday. But the parties were disappointed and EC officials assured them that soft copies of the registers were going to be made available to them on Wednesday. The Commission has again postponed it to next Monday.
The National Democratic Congress, or NDC, has been at the helm for four years now, after wrestling power from the New Patriotic Party, or NPP, in the 2008 general elections. NDC leader and interim President John Mahama is asking voters to choose him for president based on sound management of the economy under his party’s leadership. The former vice president became interim president in July, after the sudden death of President John Atta Mills. Amin Joseph is the ruling party’s secretary in the Ashanti Region. He said the NDC wants to retain the office to solidify economic gains.
More than 1,000 flashpoints throughout the country, where there are likely to be some disturbances during the December 7 elections, have been identified by the Ghana Police Service. However, the police have given an assurance that security in those areas will be beefed up to ensure peaceful elections. Effective patrolling by both police and military personnel will also be carried out in the polling stations in those areas to ensure that voters exercise their franchise in a peaceful environment.
Of course there are several ways to rig an election but I have put them in a four quadrant grid to cover some of the other variations as well. In the case of Ghana’s forthcoming elections I came up with these: the Tain Effect strategy (TES), flaws in the Biometric exercise, Voter suppression and the Voter maximizer strategy. Certain factors must come into play for it to execute efficiently: It must take place in a constituency you are highly favored to win aka Tain. You intentionally cause a delay in your Tain using ‘Dumsor’ (rolling blackouts) as an excuse- an act of their evil god. Your opponents have already turned in figures and all their polling stations closed. You cause disruptions using Djan’s method of machomen and foot soldiers to dispute your opponents figures.