A former Executive Director of the National Service Scheme, Dr Michael Kpessa-Whyte, who is also a member of the main opposition National Democratic Congress’ election observer team embedded within the Electoral Commission’s Collation Centre, has alleged that his party has detected some extra 390,000 ballots in the Ashanti Region overnight.
The Research Fellow with the History and Politics Section at the Institute of African Studies (IAS), University of Ghana, Legon, told Kwesi Parker-Wilson of Accra-based Joy News on Wednesday, 9 December 2020, that the 390,000 extra ballots are a discrepancy between the 1.4 million ballots they collated and verified from the pink sheets and the figure that was presented to them by the EC in the collation room.
He said the NDC is disappointed and dissatisfied about that and some other processes of the EC “because one is expected, perhaps, to have seen the materials being faxed in as they come in but what we have been seeing here in the collation room is that the electoral officers come to distribute papers and say: ‘These are from the regions’ and then we have to crosscheck with our officers in the regions”, adding: “In some of the regions, they have tallied, in other regions, we have huge discrepancies and I will want to caution that inasmuch as the EC is trying to improve its processes, it does not need to outsource efficiency and accuracy to the regional directors because we are all beginning to measure some of the figures that are coming from some of the regions, as presented by the regional election directors to the EC with what we are seeing from the various pink sheets that are coming from the constituencies and the branches and there are huge disparities”.
Giving specific details, Dr Kpessa-Whyte said: “Ashanti Region, for instance, when we look at our pink sheets from the various branches and the constituencies, it’s around 1.4 million votes but what we have been presented here in the collation room is about 1.79 million votes and I think that is a red herring that can create problems”.
According to him, “somehow, a significant amount of hundreds of thousands of votes have gotten to Ashanti that I believe that we would probably have to go back to re-collation by looking into the ballot boxes and looking at the numbers that have been put in there and see whether some foreign materials have been put into that ballot box”.
Asked by Parker-Wilson if he is alleging ballot box-stuffing had taken place, Dr Kpessa-Whyte said: “Well, yes, I am alleging that there is some stuffing and the numbers do not measure up, so, we are seeing a prospect that would probably take the long haul”.
He, thus, suggested that the election management body restrain itself from declaring the final results until all the discrepancies are resolved.
“If the EC will exercise some patience and allow us to actually do a thorough job; there’s no need to rush at all. I mean, I think that the best that should come out of this process is that the mandate of the people must be respected and the only way to do it is to do it in a manner that everybody appreciates and respects that particular process”.
“And, so, Ashanti Region is one”.
He said apart from the Ashanti Region, “we also know that some things happened in Bono East. We know we have won Bono East and there was some violence and some ballot boxes were destroyed here and there and clearly, that was also an attempt to ensure that some of our votes were taken away”.
“We think that that, again, is something that needs to be thoroughly investigated and looked into and ensure that the accurate numbers are presented before any final collation can take place”, he proposed.
Additionally, he said: “We can also talk about the Northern Region that hasn’t come out yet and we know that we have a huge lead in the Northern Region as well, Greater Accra, we have also not seen it yet; we know we have a great lead-in Greater Accra, so, that stuffing that is giving Ashanti Region a lead, this is what we discovered after we left here last night when we saw their figures and then we went back, picked our pink sheets and started doing our collation and then we realised that there are disparities in the figures, so, that would be brought to their attention; we have duly informed the mother party, the NDC, that these are things that we have observed and I think that it is just the right thing to do and we should not be faulted for doing due diligence at all”.
He said the NDC does not have any qualms conceding if it loses the polls in a fair manner.
“We have won and lost elections in this country before, we are not new to it at all and, in fact, the last major election in this country, we lost, so, we don’t have a problem conceding if we, indeed, lost, but we must do so only to the extent that the mandate of the people is properly respected”.