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07.03.2008 Feature Article

Prof. Mills’s ‘Whodunnit’

By Graphic
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The story goes, Jomo, that technologists from many countries around the world once congregated at a technology fair and took turns to showcase their respective countries' achievements in technology.

The first chap is a Jap. He gets onto his feet and announces that Japan is so technologically advanced that if the country were to hold a national election today, the results would be known by tomorrow.

When the Jap is done, a Germ jumps to his feet: Germany, he says, is so technologically advanced that elections are conducted and recorded online. If an election were held in Germany today, the results would be known by the close of the day.

The next technologist is from an African country which shall remain unnamed. We do not want any undue trouble with anyone, do we now, Jomo? Our man does not stand up.

Remaining seated, Koo Darkie says to the Jap and the Germ: “…And you guys call that technological advancement? In my country we know the results even before the election is conducted.”

When I heard it, I was so pissed off that I threatened to break the leg of the bloke who concocted the story, if I ever laid hands on him. What in the name of Chaka the Zulu does this fellow think of us Africans? That is what I asked myself. Now I must admit there is indeed a problem with elections in Africa.

If there is going to be a Third World War, Jomo, it will most likely start with a chaotic election in Africa. Last week someone posted a message on the Internet in which he declared that members of the largest opposition party, the National Democratic Congress, would protest, if the ruling party “tries any tricks” in the coming elections:

“I my self shall be out there, and with my great height and muscled arms, I shall grab Lord Commey in a powerful headlock, until he begs me to let go”, the fellow declared. Commey is an official of the New Patriotic Party. I wonder why this fellow is picking on the poor guy.

Anyhow, it all has something to do with a complaint by the NDC, that ghosts in the Ashanti Region, have invaded our voters register, appropriated voting rights to themselves, and are lying in wait to vote in December.

Such perceptions about the credibility of a national voters' register play dangerously on the minds of party supporters, the very same way pre-match allegations of bribe-taking by the referee, dispose football fans to post-match hooliganism, no matter the integrity of the match result.

Whenever the possibility of an election ending in violence on a large scale is mentioned here, a typical response has always been: “Oh, there can never be war in Ghana.”

A question which tumbles forth almost instantly and involuntarily from my lips on such occasions has always been: “Who told you that?”

That election and politically-related armed conflicts have exploded without warning in many countries in our region, affirms that they too once felt that way. They took their peace for granted, see?

NDC presidential candidate, Professor J. E. A. Mills, has complained about an alleged unexplained increase in the number of voters in the Ashanti Region. I have seen a copy of the purported voter statistics Professor Mills has complained about. They show increases in voter population in all constituencies in the 10 administrative regions of the country.

The purported statistics show an average increase of 5.5 per cent in the number of registered voters in nine regions between 2004 and 2006. In the case of the Ashanti Region which is considered the NPP's electoral bastion, increases in the number of registered voters in 13 constituencies averaged a ridiculously monstrous 113 per cent!

This week, the Electoral Commission in the Ashanti Region staunchly dismissed the authenticity of the purported voter statistics available to the NDC, and came out with what it said were the right voter statistics.

The NDC insisted that it obtained the register containing the purported increases in voter statistics, from the Electoral Commission which provided it on a CD. The party had then spent the past 10 months cross-checking the statistics across the country, and in the process, discovered the unexplained increases.

To imply that the EC inflated the statistics and reduced them following the NDC's complaint is to take the very dangerous step of bringing the integrity of the EC into question. To imply that the NDC must have overwritten the bloated statistics on the CD it obtained from the EC would be to bring the integrity of the NDC as a political entity into question.

Surely, there are many God-fearing people of principle and integrity including the party's presidential candidate, who would not approve of such a scheme, aren't there? So the questions have gone on and on all week, and our poor skulls cannot crack the nut.

The NDC's opponents insist it is all part of a grand scheme to condition the minds of the public toward sympathy with the NDC, should the party lose the election and decide to cause mayhem.

According to the Telegraph newspaper of the UK, the most powerful journalist in the world today is a bloke called Matt Drudge.  Matt Drudge is a school drop-out who runs a news and blog website from Florida.

Matt Drudge it was, who recently let the world know that Prince Harry of the British Monarch was fighting in Afghanistan. Even many British did not know that! The very next day, Prince Harry was packing to fly home.

Drudge it was, who a couple of weeks ago, published the now famous photo of Barrack Obama wearing a Muslim outfit. It was no doubt intended to portray Obama as pro-Muslim.

Drudge revealed that Hillary Clinton's campaign team was the source of the photo. It provoked a huge storm in the US media.

Last year, Drudge published President George Bush's State of the Union address some 40 minutes before it was delivered by the President!

Drudge reported in intimate detail, what Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky had been doing in the former's office before the traditional US Media got a hunch.

Single-handedly, this non-traditional journalist is changing the face of politics and elections in the US.

Traditional Journalists in the US admire and “fear”, Drudge. They do not consider Drudge to be a journalist, but, hey, he is the kind of guy we may soon need in town, should politicians and the media keep on confusing us about everything.

Article by George Sydney Abugri                                                                                                                                       

Graphic
Graphic, © 2008

The author has 32 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: Graphic

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