RULING ON THE DECEMBER 2012 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION PETITION – THE TIME FOR ELECTORAL REFORMS IS NOW!
The Progressive People's Party (PPP) accepts the August 29, 2013 Supreme Court Ruling on the December 2012 presidential election petition, with full confidence in the work of the men and women who were called upon to administer justice in the matter.
The PPP reiterates without prejudice, its confidence in the judicial system as an impartial guardian and backbone of the rule of law that has risen to the occasion to affirm the existence and operation of constitutional rule in Ghana. To this end, the PPP as the third largest political party in Ghana is calling on all fellow Ghanaians to embrace the Supreme Court ruling and focus on the reforms that would help us to avoid similar petitions in the future.
It would be recalled that the PPP reported widespread irregularities and errors in the recording and collation of the 2012 election results. We stated on December 20, 2012 that 'The PPP finds the anomalies identified very disturbing as they indicate a real likelihood of compromising the integrity of the entire 2012 results and future ones as well.It would have also been better if the EC had published the numbers from the verification machines to enable proper cross checking with the results obtained by our polling agents.'
Pursuant to our belief in establishing strong institutions that guarantee fairness and justice in the conduct of State affairs, the PPP on December 11, 2012, wrote a petition to the Chairman of the EC, asking for the full enforcement of the Political Parties Law, warning that the non-enforcement of the law could lead to chaos in future elections. The enforcement of the Political Parties Law will afford the EC the ability to track the funding of political parties and prevent the excessive abuse of incumbency to create an even political terrain for all parties to compete fairly.
In addition to that, the PPP recommended that the EC should move to deploy a full electronic voting system similar to those found in Brazil, Mexico etc. with the specific conditions that:
1. Votes are transmitted electronically to two separate locations.
2. International observers are allowed full access to the entire process, no closed door sessions at the polling stations.
3. Two internationally recognized audit firms, under 50%/50% contracts with local audit firms, audit the results independently and cross-check each other's work.
4. The electronic voting machinery should be designed by a Ghanaian technology firm in partnership with an international major in technology. It should be designed such that "rejected ballots" shall be zero. Each political party that meets the Political Parties' Law criteria to become a political party will be granted a seat on the board of the voting machine company.
5. We can no longer accept a system where over 250,000 votes are not counted, because they are declared spoilt ballot, when 250,000 votes are enough to decide an election.
6. With an electronic voting machine, polling station results are immediately known and are accurate to give transparency to the collation and declaration processes.
From the above recommendations, it is obvious that the parties will not need the services of polling agents and the EC would not need to recruit the large numbers of temporary employees as polling assistants in future elections.
It is within this context that we hail the consequential verdict delivered by the Supreme Court, knowing in full belief that when the directions for reforms are fully implemented our electoral system and future elections in Ghana will never be fraught with the flaws revealed at the hearing.
The PPP as the second largest Opposition Party in the nation and a stakeholder dedicated to good, open and accountable governance in Ghana, we take this opportunity to reiterate our preparedness to cooperate and work with all constitutionally mandated institutions within the laws of the land to establish a sound and equitable system of governance for our country.
The PPP remains committed to reforms in our entire governance system to move our nation from an underdeveloped world to a developed society within one generation. To that end, we wish to respectfully ask all Ghanaians to take the bold step of making significant changes to the 1992 Constitution to remove the democratic dictatorship, give power back to the people and let the Ghanaian people decide their own destiny.
Specifically, we need to change the all-powerful Executive Presidency or continue to be a nation that remains a perpetual underachiever despite enormous natural resources - human, oil, gold, manganese, bauxite, diamond, sun etc.
The call for all Ghanaians to work together to revamp the 1992 Constitution is fully supported by an overwhelming majority of citizens both within and without the Country. They point to a polarized society along political and ethnic lines. They speak against the 'winner-takes-all' nature of our politics. And they make a clear case against the type of politics that is keeping our people poor and our rural areas underdeveloped.
We have a beautiful country with a very bright future. We must all embrace the directions of the court and move on with the reform agenda in our governance system to surgically remove the winner takes all arrangement and replace it with an incorruptible, open and inclusive accountable good governance system that guarantees prosperity for Ghana and all of her people.
Nii Allottey Brew-Hammond