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25.11.2008 Feature Article

Shambolic Polls Will Not Determine the Outcome of Election 2008

Last week, a London-based organization calling itself Policy & Strategy Associates, Inc., released polling figures indicating that the perennial and twice-rejected – thrice, if one decides to count electoral runoffs as well – presidential candidate of the so-called National Democratic Congress (NDC) was commandingly ahead of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, candidate for President on the ticket of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), by 53.6% to 42%, respectively. As we then aptly pointed out, both the vague methodology by which Policy & Strategy Associates conducted its opinion poll as well as its apparently vested interest, which did not square up with practical events on the ground, as it were, guaranteed that the aforesaid polling figures would be plausibly held suspect, more so when precedent eloquently suggested that the endgame was constituted by a deft and devious attempt to confuse studious observers of Ghanaian democratic culture, as well as prospective and registered Ghanaian voters, thereby setting the stage for the NDC, in the certain wake of the latter's massive defeat in Election 2008, to use means other than the polling booth, or the ballot box, to assume reins of governance, as the P/NDC has done in the past.

Now, just this morning (11/24/08), another organization calling itself African Research & Networks Incorporated, purported to be located here, in the United States of America, released the following “Kwaku Ananse” polling figures, apparently, in a bid to validating those equally mendacious figures released last week by Policy & Strategy Associates, Inc. We hereby quote the paragraph containing the new polling figures, since political players other than Messrs. Akufo-Addo and Atta-Mills are also involved. And the preceding are as follows: “In response to a simple question 'Who do you want as next President of Ghana and why,' an overwhelming 83% of all respondents preferred Professor John Evans Atta-Mills[,] while 11% wanted Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, with [only] 5% suggesting Nana Akuffo[sic] Addo and 1% favoring Dr. Edward Mahama. (Note that the aggregate margin of error is -2,+2 with a 98% degree of confidence” (Ghanaweb.com 11/24/08).

That the polling allegedly conducted by the so-called African Research & Networks Incorporated cannot be taken seriously, and thus may aptly be reckoned to be an April Fool's game of charade, is borne out by several valid and critical observations. First of all, the pollsters claim that “Respondents were people with diverse backgrounds between 17 years and above. The cumulative mean age for the sample size was 30 years. The youngest respondent was a 17-year-old high school senior while the oldest was a 67-year-old Physiotherapist. A total of 2,275 of all respondents[,] 65% were males[,] while 1,225 representing 35% constituted females. A total of 2,765 representing 79% of all respondents are people who travel to Ghana at least twice a year. Among the respondents, a total of 2,590 representing 74% said that they voted in the last two general elections in Ghana.”

Needless to say, things begin to get tricky here. First of all, any serious student of Ghana's Fourth-Republican Constitution knows fully well that NO SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD GHANAIAN CITIZEN IS ALLOWED TO VOTE!!! And so why the pollsters of the so-called African Research & Networks Incorporated would poll a 17-year-old high school senior here in the United States must give pause to any serious student of both Ghanaian and American political cultures. For neither here, in the United States of America nor there, in the august Republic of Ghana, are 17-year-olds, high school seniors or juniors, permitted to vote. We also know, of course, that during the most recent Ghanaian voter registration exercise, quite a remarkable percentage of underage citizens, largely NDC recruits, were either deliberately or inadvertently registered to vote. Fortunately, however, this vicious anomaly was promptly decried and the Electoral Commission (GEC), if memory serves this writer accurately, has embarked on a meticulous exercise aimed at pruning these ineligible potential voters from the voters' register.

In sum, as to why the so-called African Research & Networks Incorporated would poll a 17-year-old Ghanaian high school student is anyone's good guess. Chances are that the evidently frustrated pollsters had intentions other than accurately reflecting the opinions of Ghanaians resident abroad on their Government back home. To be certain, this is exactly what Chapter Seven of the Fourth-Republican Constitution of Ghana says about who are eligible to cast the ballot in the country: “Every citizen of Ghana of eighteen years of age or above and of sound mind has the right to vote and is entitled to be registered as a voter for the purposes of public elections and referenda.” It is thus incontrovertibly evident that the pollsters of the so-called African Research & Networks Incorporated have absolutely no respect for either the Constitution of Ghana or that of the United States of America. And can we Ghanaians, both residents at home and abroad, wisely invest our confidence and trust in pollsters from an organization having absolutely no respect for the rule of law? You be the judge, dear reader.

Secondly, what do the pollsters mean by the following parenthetical statement: “Note that the aggregate margin of error is -2,+2 with a 98% degree of confidence”? In sum, what do these pollsters mean by “98% degree of confidence”? It can almost certainly indicate one thing and one thing only, which is the fact that the so-called African Research & Networks Incorporated is an NDC-sponsored organization of political scam-artists with the sole objective of insulting the intelligence of both unsuspecting and well-meaning Ghanaian voters. It is also not clear whether the pollsters intended the results of their patent exercise in futility to actually reflect the reality on the ground, at home or even right here in the United States. If so, then it appears that they have egregiously misfired. For starters, the polling gender breakdown of 65% males to 35% females does not reflect the reality on the ground, either here, in the United States, or Ghana.

The pollsters, however, appear to have provided their readers with quite a morally edifying insight into the background of their respondents; the latter are, obviously drug barons and scam-artists of various dubious professional shades, Else, how could they be alleged to travel to Ghana “at least twice a year”? In other words, those polled are the very people who have made Ghana, in recent years, a major transshipment haven for cocaine, heroin and marijuana trafficking and who, therefore, have everything to lose at the hands of a New Patriotic Party government bent on totally rooting out the scourge of drug-trafficking. And for those who may either not remember or be significantly aware of the same, it was the Rawlings-Mills NDC government that offered legal protection, at plush East Legon, to the fugitive Colombian cocaine baron, complete with a panoply of NDC legal advisers and even top-level NDC pimps who supplied the same drug kingpin with Ghanaian women!

And so it is not clear precisely what CHANGE these jet-setting and scam-running so-called Diaspora-resident Ghanaians polled by the equally dubious African Research & Networks Incorporated are looking for, short of a collaborative, conniving and passive Prof. Atta-Mills facilitating the remarkable acceleration of their scam-artistry.

Furthermore, any frequent traveler to Ghana aged between 17 and 25 certainly did not vote in the country's last two general elections, which leaves the keen and critical reader wondering precisely who the so-called pollsters of the African Research & Networks Incorporated surveyed. One thing, however, is clear. Mr. Fredy Briston, to whom the polling results are sourced, is a veritable political copycat who appears to erroneously equate the U.S. Democratic Party's genuine agency of change, as laudably epitomized by President-Elect Barack Obama, with the crime-prone and politically regressive National Democratic Congress.

Also one thing, incontrovertibly, ultimately, is evident here. Having decisively lost the battle on the ground, some cynical and unconscionable hired guns of the terror-mongering P/NDC have ill-advisedly decided to take their desperate battle into cyberspace. Their strategy, of course, is ill-advised because cyberspace is no conducive playground for the intransigently anti-intellectual and megalomaniacal, as President-Elect Barack Obama recently demonstrated to Senator John Sydney “McNasty” McCain. And in terms of nominal recognition in Ghanaian civil and political culture, the Rawling-handpicked Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills is no peer of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, a globally recognized and New York Times-quoted firebrand human and civil rights activist-advocate, former President of the United Nations Security Council, seasoned and successful barrister-at-law (which cannot be said of the largely academic and politically bumbling Prof. Atta-Mills), Ghanaian statesman and astute diplomatic broker of the Ivorian civil war.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is the author of 18 books, including “Dr. J. B. Danquah: Architect of Modern Ghana” (iUniverse.com, 2005) and “Selected Political Writings” (Atumpan Publications/lulu.com, 2008). E-mail: [email protected]

Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., © 2008

This author has authored 4768 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr

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