They seem confidently poised to rigging the ballot again. But this time around, it is not certain whether they will be allowed to get away with their well-practiced art of electoral highway banditry without being afforded the most epic battle of their thuggish political careers. I am here, of course, talking about the National Democratic Congress’ parliamentary candidate for the Ho-Central Constituency and his associates. Mr. Benjamin Kpodo has reportedly said that he intends to deliver at least 80,000 votes in the 2016 election to President John Dramani Mahama, with at least 70,000 votes being clinched in his own favor.
How Mr. Kpodo arrived at these constitutionally outrageous figures is anybody’s good guess (See “Ho-Central NDC Targets 80,000 Votes in November 2016 Polls” MyJoyOnline.com 6/5/16). It is anybody’s good guess because Ghana’s 1992 Republican Constitution clearly states that every Member of Parliament and/or constituency must represent a maximum population of 50,000 (fifty-thousand) people. And the latter figure, of course, includes minors; which means that generally speaking, no constituency in any region of the country ought to be returning a polling figure of more than between 20,000 to 35,000 votes.
If Mr. Kpodo can, indeed, garner at least 80,000 votes for President John Dramani Mahama, then it clearly means that the Ho-Central Constituency has twice the number of people stipulated by the Constitution. I have said this before in the case of Mr. Fiifi Kwetey, who has also promised to deliver some 100,000 votes to Mr. Mahama in the 2016 general election, that it curiously appears that every one of the electoral districts or constituencies in the Volta Region contains twice the amount of people stipulated by the Constitution. Two things must be happening here, namely, either somebody is not telling us the truth, in which case this would be the Charlotte Kesson-Smith Osei-led “independent” Electoral Commission (EC), in close collaboration with the key operatives of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), or the Constitution is being deliberately breached, once again, by the Mahama-appointed Electoral Commission’s chair with the criminal complicity, here again, of the key operatives of the ruling National Democratic Congress.
From the proceedings of the 2012 presidential-election petition, we also know that a lot of over-voting occurred in the Volta Region more than any of the other 9 regions of the country. Mr. Kpodo, the NDC’s parliamentary candidate for Ho-Central in the 2016 general election, also tells us that since the last election, the voters’ roll for this constituency has “appreciated from 87,000 to 96,000” registrants. If the preceding figures are accurate, and there is absolutely no doubt that they well may be, then the Ho-Central Constituency has to be split into two electoral districts or constituencies. There are, of course, those who have been decrying the fact that for the size of the country’s population, there may be too many representatives in our National Assembly already.
What could be done to reasonably pare down the number of parliamentarians and thus trim down financial or budgetary blubber, may be to double the number of people whom one Member of Parliament may represent from the present constitutional stipulation of 50,000 to 100,000. But even more significantly, we need to audit our most recent census figures to ensure that accurate projections are made of the precise population of each and every one of the country’s 10 regions, as well as the populations of every one of the nation’s 275 constituencies. The fact of the matter is that something is simply not adding up, and the sooner a solution was found for this glaring anomaly, the better it would be for the peace and stability of the country.
It is almost certain that the definitive solution to the preceding problem lies somewhere between the Supreme Court-ordered disenrollment of all registered voters who registered to vote in the last election by the use of their National Health Insurance (NHIS) Cards, and the re-registration of those among this group who can prove their Ghanaian citizenship by the use of any of the other legally approved documents. The key operatives of the National Democratic Congress have been stiffly resistant to the Ramadan-Nimako Decision, obviously, because they clearly appear to have something to hide. But, of course, the ultimate judgment call belongs to the Ghanaian citizenry at large, and not the cynical adherents of any single political party, minor or major.
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
June 5, 2016
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