?In concluding his so-called Evidence-In-Chief on Monday, June 4, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Ghana’s Electoral Commissioner, was reported to have passionately appealed to the Atuguba-presided Supreme Court to roundly reject the reliefs sought by Messrs. Akufo-Addo, Bawumia and Obetsebi-Lamptey vis-a-vis the validity of the declaration of President John Dramani Mahama as winner of Election 2012 on five grounds, none of which Dr. Afari-Gyan had convincingly argued before the court (See “Reject Petitioners’ Claim -Afari-Gyan Tells Court” JoyOnline/ Ghanaweb).
For instance, the former University of Ghana political science lecturer claims that “serial numbers have no significance in the preparation and collation of results,” as well as in terms of their being used as discrete identification marks/symbols for the 22,006 polling stations at which eligible Ghanaian citizens exercised their franchise in December 2012. On the other hand, the 20-year veteran Electoral Commissioner has not been able to sustainably prove why even though they may be functionally insignificant, nonetheless, figures masquerading as serial numbers have pervasively appeared on electoral documents.
In other words, are the presence and prevalence of these serial numbers to be taken as a practical joke or what? And if so, how so? This is a rather disturbing observation for an intellectual of Dr. Afari-Gyan’s quite remarkable stature to be making; and we fervidly pray the Atuguba Court to give this matter the utmost and serious attention that it clearly deserves. For undeniably, what the Electoral Commissioner is saying is that no viable safety measures were put in place to guard against just the sort of electoral irregularities that the petitioners are grieving about.
Dr. Afari-Gyan also vacuously claims that “every polling station was supplied with a biometric verification machine. [And that W]here the BVM broke down, voting was postponed the next day,” without telling the court precisely how many Biometric Voting Machines broke down, as well as how many BVM-trained service workers or engineers were on hand to restore these machines to working conditions in the less than 24 hours that eligible citizens who had not been able to vote on Dec. 8 had to, once again, visit their local polling stations in order to legitimately exercise their franchise.
You see, like his prime and powerful collaborator, the President of Ghana, Dr. Afari-Gyan appears to curiously believe that merely and lamely appealing to the Atuguba Court to reject the reliefs sought by the petitioners is equivalent to his rather pathetic understanding of “sustainable forensic evidence.” How sad!
On the question of polling station Presiding Officers who did not sign the pink sheets, Dr. Afari-Gyan puts the figure at 3.5-percent. This is rather interesting, because the percentage of electoral votes separating Messrs. Mahama and Akufo-Addo is just about 3.5-percent. Could such occurrence be casually imputed to sheer coincidence? Dear Reader, you decide for yourself.
What also amuses me is Dr. Afari-Gyan’s rather infantile attempt to wish away the failure of an electorally significant 3.5-percent of Presiding Officers either flatly refusing or, even perhaps, inadvertently failing to sign the pink sheets by using the signatures of party agents as a remedial offset. You see, the Presiding Officers are the highest-ranking polling-station officials and thus the officials whose signatures are invested with the most authentic imprimatur. It is also highly likely that the Presiding Officers, in most cases, were the last to append their signatures to the pink sheets. Likewise, some NPP polling agents, finding themselves in hostile and violent polling stations and constituencies, must have reluctantly signed these documents in order to preserve their personal safety, peace and quiet.
What the preceding shocking revelation ought to tell the Atuguba-presided court hearing the Akufo-Addo/NPP petition, is the fact that Dr. Afari-Gyan is boorishly cavalier about the rule of law and the integrity of the sacred mandate of the Ghanaian people. In sum, he clearly appears to envisage himself and his role as Electoral Commissioner (EC) as being strikingly akin to a traditional Kingmaker, than Chief Monitor and Spokesperson of the will of the people.
The Electoral Commissioner has also categorically revealed his abject lack of any remarkable understanding of the meaning of “over-voting,” even though he also paradoxically claims that absolutely no incidence of over-voting occurred in Election 2012. Dear Reader, take a listen here to Dr. Afari-Gyan’s rather brazen attempt to con the Atuguba-presided court: “Nowhere in Ghana has it been shown that over-voting occurred. To be certain, with the introduction of biometric registration and verification machines, previous counter-accusations between political parties on [over?] alleged over-voting has [sic] been effectively dealt with.”
And so why did President John Dramani Mahama, on Dec. 8, 2012, angrily demand that biometrically unverifiable prospective voters must be allowed to exercise their patently dubious franchise? Once again, dear reader, you be the judge!
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Department of English
Nassau Community College of SUNY
Garden City, New York
June 4, 2013
E-mail: [email protected].net