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26.05.2019 Feature Article

The Four-Million-Dollar Biometric Bribery Scandal

The Four-Million-Dollar Biometric Bribery Scandal

In recent weeks, there have been suggestions at the highest echelons of the membership of Ghana’s main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) that the 2016 general election may very well have been rigged. But such innuendoes only go to show the critically thinking Ghanaian citizen and eligible voter the crass and scandalous absurdity of such claims, in view of the fact that Mrs. Charlotte Kesson-Smith Osei, the woman put in charge of Ghana’s Electoral Commission (GEC) as Chairperson of the latter establishment, was literally handpicked by then-President John Dramani Mahama for the job, without any extensive deliberations or grilling to ensure that a clearly by very physically attractive and eloquent, albeit woefully professionally inexperienced Mrs. Osei was fully qualified for the highly sensitive post of calling the winners and losers of the 2016 general election and beyond.

Now, it is becoming soberingly clear precisely why NDC stalwarts like General-Secretary Johnson Asiedu-Nketia and former President Mahama are of the firm and adamantly intransigent view and belief that, indeed, the 2016 general election may very well have been rigged. But, of course, contrary to what those who occupied the seat of governance at the time would have Ghanaians believe, it was the operatives of the National Democratic Congress who impudently appear to have colluded with the foreign contractor and manager of the Biometric Voting and Verification Machines to rig the election in favor of a sitting President John Dramani Mahama. Our estimate here is that then-Candidate Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, of the then main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), defeated the incumbent president by at least two-million votes.

She is not saying it directly or even indirectly, but it well appears that the Biometric Voting Machines’ contractor was deftly and suavely bribed by the Mills-Mahama government as far back as 2011 to systematically orchestrate the massive rigging of the entire electoral process to ensure that the National Democratic Congress occupied the seat of governance for the foreseeable future. Ghanaians were recently idiomatically told the foregoing by the Akufo-Addo-appointed Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensa. Ghanaian taxpayers were also alerted to the outrageous fact that the Mills-Mahama regime had been paying the Biometric Registration Verification Machine Contractor a whopping $ 4 Million (USD), annually, since 2011 to service this supposedly cutting-edge technology the really needed no significant servicing (See “EC Drops Bombshell on Biometric Platform” / 5/23/19).

Indeed, what makes such BRV servicing fee needlessly wasteful and a patently unwise contractual agreement is the fact that the annual payment of the aforesaid $4 Million (USD) was automatically locked into the contractual agreement, which means that whether it was an election year or an electoral off-season, which means that the machines were not being used, the Ghanaian taxpayer was still charged the annual servicing fee of $ 4 Million (USD). The current EC Chair tells us that she has just managed to cut the BRV-servicing fee down to just over a half-million dollars annually. Such fiscal wastefulness on the part of the Mahama Posse is hardly surprising, because we are all horrifically aware of the fact that the shamelessly thievish regime of Judgment Debts was almost singularly conceived, designed and implemented by the leaders of the National Democratic Congress.

But, of course, where the wolfish cries of ballot-rigging, on the part of the NDC operatives, come into play regards the shocking revelation that under the Mahama-initialed BRV pact, absolutely no senior-staff members of the Electoral Commission, not even members of the technical staff, had knowledge of the password or access codes used not only to access the Biometric Registration/Register Verification System, but also to conduct an entire national election process. What this latter state of affairs means is that since at least 2012, if not slightly before, the authority of determining the outcome of Ghana’s political destiny has been in the firm control of the foreign-born Biometric Electoral Systems Contractor. In other words, what Ghanaians have been experiencing for close to a decade now is dangerously akin to the allegedly criminal hacking of the US’ electoral system that the Trump-led Republican Party (RP) has been accused of doing, with the assistance of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, by their Democratic Party (DP) counterparts.

Put in simple and easy-to-understand language, the Mahama Campaign well appears to have suavely and obliquely or indirectly bribed the Biometric Voting Systems contractor some $ 4 Million (USD) or some $ 16 Million (USD) every four years to guarantee itself an electoral victory. Now, it is not clear whether the contractor ever consented in practice to such an agreement. That is well beside the point, at any rate. What is relevant and indisputably significant to point out here is the fact that the apparent failure or flat refusal by the Biometric Systems Operator to rig Election 2016 in favor of then President Mahama, may very well have been what, reportedly, prompted Mrs. Osei, the Election 2016’s Chief Returning Officer, to bitterly complain that an invisible hand well appears to have mysteriously altered the final tabulation and results or outcome of Election 2016, evidently intended to ensure a win for the presidential incumbent but which, ironically, resulted in the record-breaking blowout defeat for the same.

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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
May 25, 2019
E-mail: [email protected]

Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., © 2019

This author has authored 4567 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr

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