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13.12.2020 Feature Article

Election 2020: The EC’s Mistake a Disgrace to Ghana’s Democracy

Election 2020: The EC’s Mistake a Disgrace to Ghana’s Democracy
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We live to improve on every aspect of our life and society. Our society has improved and evidence of it is clear. Gone were the days when even cooked rice was a huge deal as Christmas approaches. Our election process has improved as well. We have moved from opaque ballot boxes to transparent ballot boxes, improved ID cards, and biometric verification. The election has been more participatory, involving all stakeholders in every step before declaring results. More importantly, the political party now gets a copy of the pink sheet, which was only the case after the 2012 election.

The Electoral Commissioner has always improved on its activities that is why it is unacceptable to accept errors on the reason that it is not a new thing. In 2013, Dr. Afari Gyan admitted that errors can occur during elections because of the huge numbers involved in results compilation. He went further to illustrate that, there is an instance of entering 11,000 as 1,100 and vice versa. He also mentioned that electoral officers are a caution to be mindful of such errors, which he aptly puts it as “we tell people to watch out for such errors.”.

Fast-forward to 2020, it is hard to accept any justifiable reason for a problem identified as far back as 2013. We live in Ghana where data scientists exist, thus, people with the ability to work with huge data and synchronize data to communicate meaning easily. Yet many are lying almost redundant.

To whom much is given, much is expected. We cannot as people accept to pay a fortune for a work actuated with errors. The EC has rushed to ruin all the good work done before declaring the 2020 results. A lot is at stake with an election, that is why every aspect of the process is meticulously undertaken. We do not need an EC who would declare an election within 24 hours. What we need is an EC who is accurate. The 2020 election cost taxpayers a total of GHS1,063,157,629. This amount could procure any sophisticated software for the compilation of the results with no errors whatsoever. Considering that, 2020 is not the only election that has been held after Dr. Afari Gyan's admission of errors. In 2016, there was no problem with errors though it cost us GHS826,897,772, including donor support.

Even if the EC had used MS_Excel, it wouldn't have cost us much and there will be no errors. To say that, the errors do not affect who won the election, is the characteristics of a society that wants to accept sub-standard. I am sure that, even the winner would be glad to win without any errors made. I have always held the belief that a government must be limited to the provision of security and services. The nature of the monopoly enjoyed by the Electoral Commissioners is fundamental to the services of the state. The EC has both the government and the people's mandate to deliver such service. Therefore, it is unfair for such a mandate to be carried out with errors at an unprecedented cost.

An error results from incorrect information, whereas irregularities are a breach of the rule. The error can result in irregularities and vice versa. Assuming without admitting that EC's errors resulted in irregularities, then it would bring additional costs to be borne by taxpayers, to fund the EC in her battle with the major opposition party (NDC) in court. Should this be the case in the future, then it would be safe to say that, the EC (Jane Mensah), after spending the unprecedented cost of GHS1,063,157,629, could not solve the old problem of error. The mistakes are unacceptable and Ghanaians deserve an apology. If it must be done, it must be done well.

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