The rank and file of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the biggest opposition party in Ghana from the get go made the Jean Mensa led Electoral Commission their punching bag. They would not see eyeball-to-eyeball with the Chairperson, nor her deputies. Their position was/is that Jean had come to replace her embattled predecessor, Madam Charlotte Osei to do the bidding of the NPP, hence their hostile approach to her.
The aversion on the side of the umbrella fraternity was at its apogee; they found fault with every single initiative the Commission undertook. Walking out of Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meetings became their hobby. No less a person than their General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah is on record to have brazenly misbehaved in one of such episodes leading to some hot exchanges between him and the commissioners.
The decision by the Commission to compile a new voter’s register was the straw that broke the camel’s back. After unsuccessful media warfares against the EC to back down their plan, the NDC triggered a number of street protests (although legal), sometimes burning tyres, looting shops and or engaging in raucous donnybrooks with the police. Military personnel deployed to the border regions in the wake of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, especially those in Volta Region had their first share of attacks from the NDC. The NDC said that the soldiers had been sent there to intimidate their members. Attempts by the Peace Council and other Civil Society Organizations to get the NDC jaw-jaw with the EC fell on deaf ears.
When their machinations failed, they announced a boycott of the registration exercise and resorted to emotional blackmail; sending messages of death threats to the EC Chairperson, Jean Mensa and Dr. Bossman Asare, one of her deputies in a ploy to instill fear in them and perhaps give up on the registration exercise. Alas, that diabolical strategy failed to yield the intended results so they quickly made a U-Turn and joined the exercise. In fact, they were all over the place ensuring their members got registered.
Fast forward, in the dying embers of the political campaign; Ghanaians were not spared the ordeal of obnoxious press conferences. Not a single day went by without Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, Sammy Gyamfi, Peter Otukornor Boamah, Ofosu-Ampofo, Asiedu-Nketiah et al, alleging rigging plots by the EC for the ruling party. They threw in all sorts of unwholesome propaganda to pollute the minds of their people to reject the outcome of an imminent defeat that awaited them.
Their flagbearer, John Mahama put an icing on the cake when he publicly stated days to the election that, “the NDC shall not accept the outcome of a flawed election.” The question many asked was, “what constitutes a flawed election and in whose mouth does it lie to declare same?” “What was JM and his NDC up to?” These unsubstantiated allegations coupled with the bastardization of the Commission by the top echelons of the NDC played a significant role on the psyche of their disgruntled footsoldiers. I dare say, some of them were ready to kill or die to see John Mahama as president. Unfortunately so!
It therefore did not come as a surprise to me when on 9th December, 2020 a group of NDC loyalists who had mass up around the EC’s Headquarters and seen listening to the declaration of the presidential results by the EC from mounted speakers on trucks (captured on video) went haywire in jubilation upon hearing that candidate Mahama had obtained 47% of the valid votes cast as against Akufo-Addo’s 51%. How any discerning voter will consider 47% higher than 51% amazes even the devil.
It’s also important to mention that just a day after the election (8th December), the NDC through a press conference announced that per their figures collated, candidate Mahama had won the presidential election and that they were leading the parliamentary elections with some 141 seats. As the day went by, they amended their case. Meanwhile, the figures as announced by the Returning Officer for Presidential Elections in Ghana, Jean Mensa (Chairperson of the Electoral Commission) on 9th December, 2020 made nonsense of the NDC’s earlier claim to presidential victory. Indeed, per the Commission’s data, Nana Akufo-Addo obtained 6,730,413 votes representing 51.5% as against John Mahama’s 6,214,889 votes representing 47.3%.
Realizing they had been exposed, they quickly turned their attention and energies to the parliamentary results where they had made some significant inroads. They had managed to overturn a deficit of about 60 seats and were almost at par with the ruling party. The results of 274 constituencies were in; NPP-137; NDC-136 and 1-Independent. The Sene West Constituency was outstanding, however, after the back-and-forth after some days, they managed to put that seat in their parliamentary basket bringing their total number of seats to 137, with the NPP also having the same number except that the Independent MP-Elect disclosed that he will be with the NPP which gives the party 138.
This hung Parliament is what has emboldened the NDC to think that they won the presidential race, they seem to forget that “skirt-and-blouse” voting played a major role in this year’s election. In the Central Region for instance where the NPP won 10 seats out of the 23 seats, president Akufo-Addo won in 20 constituencies as against Mahama’s three (3).
In any event, the NDC first told us that John Mahama had won the election and so asked their members in a well-coordinated fashion to stage street protests to fight against the “rigging” perpetuated by the EC which declared Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as president-elect. It begs to reason why the sudden change of position, such that, the election petition filed by lawyers for and on behalf of candidate John Mahama states in relief (B) that the Supreme Court should make, “A declaration that based on the data contained in the declaration made by Mrs Jean Adukwei Mensa, Chairperson of the 1st Respondent and Returning Officer for Presidential Elections held on 7th December, 2020 that no candidate satisfied the requirement of Article 63(3) of the 1992 Constitution to be declared president-elect.”
Clearly, something is not adding up! The unpardonable error as contained in relief (F) which asks that the Supreme Court orders the 1st Respondent, i.e. the Electoral Commission to re-run the election between the Commission(1st Respondent) and the Petitioner (John Mahama) as candidates is the height of monumental absurdity for which reason I pray the Law Lords to unanimously dismiss their election petition on grounds of incompetence and lack of merits.
The writer is a political activist known as Sir Obama Pokuase. His address is No. 345 Baobab Street, Pokuase.