Tsatsu: Voters Must Not Suffer Because Of Presiding Officers? Negligence


There was only one basic thing on the minds of millions of Ghanaians when they trooped from their houses on December 7 and 8, 2012 to the 26,002 polling stations scattered across the country: To execute their constitutional obligation by casting their votes for whoever they thought holds their best interest.


There were 8 presidential candidates in all, but each voter who went out there to vote knew the exact candidate he/she was voting for. During the electioneering campaigns, voters heard a lot and this enabled them to form their opinions on each candidate and finally settled on the ones they thought would execute programs that would make life more bearable for them. Therefore, almost 99 percent of the voters who went to the polling stations had their minds already set on what they were going to do.


All that the voters also knew was that they were required to be at their polling stations on time with their identification cards to avoid any disappointments. Apart from little bits of other information concerning the Electoral Commission?s rules and regulations, the millions of voters who turned out there did not know anything about what the presiding officers were to do when voting was complete.


In fact, millions of voters heard about blue sheets and pink sheets for the very first time when the defeated NPP presidential candidate in the 2012 Elections, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, defied all odds and went to court to be granted victory after failing to win the ballot.


Therefore, when voting ended and the ballots were counted, followed by collation of the numbers, and the results were declared, all what the millions of Ghanaian voters knew was that they have performed their constitutionally mandated duty of voting for the candidates of their choice.


They have no knowledge or clue as to what the Presiding Officers have to do. They do not know that Presiding Officers were to sign the pink sheets either at the polling stations or at the collation centres. All what they know or knew is that they have voted for the candidates who can lead them.


Enter the NPP?s Gang of Three: Nana Akufo-Addo, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia and Jake Okanta Obetsebi Lamptey. They seized all the pink sheets from the 26,002 polling stations and did some selective justice.


They found out that there were some polling stations that Presiding Officers failed to sign. Something immediately came into their minds. They perhaps thought that the Presiding Officers did that on purpose to help President Mahama to coast to victory. But they found out that the unsigned pink sheets happened in many polling stations including the strongholds of the NPP and Nana Akufo-Addo.


Something mischievous then came into the minds of the Gang of Three, so they set their diabolical plans in motion. ?Let us select only the unsigned pink sheets from areas won by President Mahama and make noise about it.? So they deliberately selected the unsigned pink sheets from only the polling stations won by President Mahama and shelved the ones won by Nana Akufo-Addo. To many observers, that is selective justice!


But the sticking point in this whole stinking issue is why Nana Akufo-Addo, who strongly believes that the vote counting, the collation, and the declaration of results cannot and should not be more important than the sacred, God-given right of a citizen casting his or her ballot, now turn round to ask the Supreme Court (SC) to punish voters for the mistakes of the Presiding Officers?


Why on earth will Nana Akufo-Addo wake up from bed with the false notion that some voters conspired with some presiding officers not to sign some pink sheets, and therefore go to court and demand that the votes in those affected polling stations must be discarded.


Won?t that be a miscarriage of justice? Won?t that be visiting the ?sins? of someone on another person? Won?t that be a retroactive or backdated penalty on innocent citizens as claimed by Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, counsel for the NDC? Will Akufo-Addo be happy to see that votes by innocent citizens who did not sign anything on the pink sheets are thrown away in order for him to become the president at all cost?


We must never punish voters unnecessarily for mistakes they did not commit. If a voter makes a mistake on a voter sheet, that sheet is thrown out. There have never been situations whereby voters who made mistakes on ballot sheets have been pardoned. Therefore, why is it that if a voter did not make a mistake on his/her ballot sheet, he/she is now being made the scape-goat of a mistake committed by a Presiding Officer?


This is simply unacceptable and must never be entertained by the Supreme Court. When a voter makes a mistake on a ballot sheet he/she gets punished by the EC when the ballot sheet is cancelled. That is what we all know. Why is it that Akufo-Addo is now trying to change the EC rules by asking the SC to cancel valid votes by citizens of Ghana because a Presiding Officer who they do not know, or did not hire failed to sign a pink sheet which he/she was hired to do? This case has no precedent in Ghana and therefore must never be entertained by the SC. The SC must never punish voters because of administrative errors of Presiding Officers!




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