Electoral Commissioner, Jean Mensa, who is on a monthly salary of nearly GHC80, 000 is taking Ghanaians for granted by cleverly picking and choosing what she responds to and what she doesn’t, in the face of the several concerns raised about the way and manner she organized the 2020 elections, including miscalculations of the Presidential Results.
Her latest press statement dated Friday, December 18, 2020, has been a quick response to the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), refuting claims by the party that deactivation of EC’s Biometric Verification Devices (BVDs) used for the 2020 polls will lead to loss of sensitive data, saying “these assertions are false”.
Interestingly, the same EC, has remained totally silent on many other issues raised by the NDC, the Progressive Peoples Party (PPP), civil society organizations, private individuals and astute politicians such as Charles Wereko-Brobby on the poor organization of the 2020 election.
There are also suspicions that figures were padded by the EC to favour NPP’s Nana Akufo-Addo as seen in many constituencies and polling stations, where the total number of people who voted far exceeded the number of people in the register.
The election results; both Presidential and Parliamentary, have left the Ghanaian population hugely divided and for the first time in the country’s history, a hung Parliament with the NDC and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) commanding the same number of seats in the House; 137 each.
The only difference now is the Independence MP-elect for Fomena, Andrews Amoako Asiamah, who has agreed to sit with the NPP.
However, the NDC is pursuing seats such as Techiman South, Zabzugu, Sefwi Wiawso, Tarkwa Nsuem and Essikado-Ketan, alleging several infractions and irregularities were committed by the EC officers, but Jean Mensa and her colleagues, have remained silent over these matters picking the less serious ones to respond to.
Indeed, no invitation to the Political party making the allegation to come over to enable the issue be resolved.
In another instance, the NDC’s Rojo Mettle-Nunoo, who was in the EC’s National Collation Center with Dr. Michael Kpessa-Whitte, had alleged that they were sent out by Jean Mensa to go to the house of the NDC flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama to deliver a message to him, before the declaration of the presidential result, but barely had they left the center then came Mrs Mensa on TV announcing the result. The EC, has not responded to the claim.
The NDC had also alleged that its flagbearer, Mr Mahama, had dispatched a petition to EC boss ahead of the declaration, but the petition was ignored by Mrs Mensah, who went ahead and declared the result on December 9, 2020. The EC has not responded to this claim also. Indeed, the content of the same petition remains unknown till date.
The General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah, had argued that there is a precedence by Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Djan. The then EC boss in 2008, had considered and addressed a petition filed by the NPP before the declaration of the Presidential result.
According to the man known as “General Mosquito”, Dr. Afari-Djan, had to stop everything and listened to the NPP petitioners and the other parties, adding it was from this that the results were delayed awaiting the Tain constituency results.
He insisted that the practice had not been about going to court, but waiting and listening to the petitioners, especially when the same EC in this election, had heard and worked on a petition from the NPP in the Banda constituency after collation was redone.
The NDC General Secretary, questioned why after declaring the presidential results and realizing the next morning that she made a mistake, the EC boss did not go to court as she and others are urging the NDC to do, but simply went into the system to change the figures?
He also questioned why the EC has refused to honour the NDC’s invitation to Techiman South, having honoured the NPP’s invitation to Banda to settle a similar dispute in that constituency.
He argued that if only Jean Mensa had heard the petition from the NDC, many of the mistakes she has made and corrected several times would not have happened.
“We wanted to draw her attention to the mistakes but she refused to hear us, only to wake up the next day and changed figures. If only she had considered the petition all these would not have happened”.
Among other issues raised by the NDC, are the miscalculations of the Presidential figure, and insisted that per the numbers available to the party, ex-President Mahama, should have won the election.
But per the correct calculation of the EC’s figures, the election should have gone into a runoff and not an outright victory for Akufo-Addo.
Interestingly, videos have emerged on the conducts of some of the EC’s returning officers, but no statement has been issued on them.
In Techiman South, one such officer is reported to have declared the NPP’s Martin Adjei-Korsa as winner of the constituency seat without a Pink sheet showing the various votes garnered by him and others.
The EC officer, according to an ex-MCE, Prince Donyina, relied on pinks sheets supplied by the NPP to declare the result in the absence of the NDC.
John Dramani Mahama, won Techiman South with 51,403 votes against 46,000 votes for the NPP’s Akufo-Addo, but the Parliament results was stalled due to confusion at the collation center with soldiers and policemen later seen firing gunshots into a crowd believed to be NDC supporters.
Three people have died and some eight people are still in hospital receiving treatments. Attempt by the NDC to get the Pink Sheets from the EC officer, have not been successful. The NDC, has since deputed the claim.
Again, the EC returning officer in the Zabzugu constituency and others, including the NPP Parliamentary candidate, were also captured in a video, writing what was supposed to be the collated result on the Pink Sheet, in a room, instead of doing so in public.
The declaration of NPP Parliamentary candidate as winner has also been challenged by the NDC, and attempts by the EC to relocate the ballot papers and other materials from Zabzugu with soldiers, have been resisted by the chiefs and people in the area. They insisted that the collation must be redone to ensure fairness.
Interestingly, the EC have not issued a statement on both Techiman South and Zabzugu videos with respect to the role of its officers, however, the same EC, has described as “fake” claims that one of its officers was arrested in Somanya, Eastern Region for reducing John Mahama’s votes by 3000 plus.
On the deactivation of Biometric Verification Devices (BVDs) used for the 2020 polls, the commission responded to the NDC with assurance that the 2020 election data is safe and will be preserved, adding “the EC explained that the process of deactivation “to preserve the sanctity of the verification data on the BVD and does not delete it.”
“As a matter of fact, several copies of the verification data are kept on the BVD,” it added.
“It is therefore unfortunate that the NDC would continue to make such misleading allegations.”
In an earlier statement signed by the NDC’s Director of Elections, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, said the instructions to deactivate the BVDs is in contravention to electoral laws.
“This directive is illegal because Regulation 47 (3) of CI 127 states that “The Commission shall, subject to the provisions of these Regulations, (a) retain for a year, documents forwarded to the Commission; and (b) destroy the documents after a year unless otherwise directed by a court,” the NDC statement said.