Why was ballot stuffing claim not part of your election petition ? – Dela Coffie asks Mahama

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A youth activist of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and a former confidante of the late Former President Jerry John Rawlings, Mr Dela Coffie has questioned a claim by former President John Dramani Mahama to the effect that there was a ballot stuffing during the 2020 general elections by the Electoral Commission in favour of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Dela Coffie wondered why this claim was not part of Mr Mahama’s election petition at the Supreme Court , a petition that was dismissed by the court on the basis that it was without merit.

Mr Mahama had alleged that the Electoral Commission (EC) allegedly thumb printed one million ballot papers in favour of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in the 2020 presidential election.

The Presidential Candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in last year’s elections added “And, so, all these things dented the credibility of the polls and caused an embarrassment”,

The EC however, has dismissed this allegation. A Deputy Chair of the EC Dr Bossman Asare, asked the Police to investigate a claim.

Dr Bossman Asare said at a press conference that “We see that our silence on this matter has dire consequences on public confidence in the Commission, and we want the police to investigate it,” he stressed.

“Distinguished citizens, in the last few weeks Former President Mahama has made a number of allegations against the EC and the 2020 elections. As Officials charged with the responsibility of conducting elections in Ghana, we owe it a duty to provide Ghanaians with the facts and the truth about the elections and the allegations raised. We are of the view that our silence on these false allegations could have dire consequences as it could undermine citizens’ confidence our dear country.

“The Former President has said the EC thumb printed 1million ballots in favor of the president. This is untrue. This is a grave matter that undermines the credibility of our electoral process and should not be ignored. We call on him to provide evidence to support his claim. This is not a matter to be ignored and we call on the Ghana Police Service to investigate this.

“The Transparency of our process makes it totally impossible for this to happen. At the polling stations, prior to the start of the elections, the empty ballot boxes are opened and displayed in the presence of everyone, and thereafter they are sealed.  There are serial numbers on the ballot papers for each region and constituency.  This is made known to the Agents before the elections.  Our ballot papers also have security features; so any trace of new material will be clearly visible.

“Again, at the end of the poll, the ballots cast are crosschecked against the voters who were verified and issued the ballot papers. This ensures that over-voting is detected immediately. Nationwide, we had no issue with over-voting at all our 38,622 polling stations except in Savelugu in the parliamentary election where there was one and I repeat one over-voting.

“The transparency of our processes from the beginning to the end makes this impossible. Ballot Stuffing cannot be done-it is impossible. We call on the Former President in the interest of our democracy to provide evidence of the stuffing of the ballot boxes by the EC.

“The Police should investigate this as a matter of urgency due to its potential to derail and undermine our democracy, and lead to a lack of confidence in our systems and processes.”

Sharing his thoughts on this development, Dela Coffie said “The postmortem debate over Mahama’s 2020 election loss is still raging. It’s been some 11 months after the last elections, and the loser keeps yelling and telling bizarre election fraud story that has already been debunked both in court and in the public space.

“Here’s the more important part of Mahama’s claims — ‘But for the militarization of the 2020 elections, and ballot stuffing, I would have won.’

“Indeed, former President Mahama has been on and on about this for the umpteenth time. So one would think that party elders would step in and instruct him to shush, but no one seems to care.

“Let’s assume without admitting that these things happened, how come it didn’t form part of the NDC’s case in court? In any event, where is NDC’s own collation figures? Isn’t it embarrassing that for two consecutive elections- (2016- 2020) the NDC’s internal collation system failed? Isn’t it even more embarrassing that the NDC can’t boast of its own collated figures for both 2016 and 2020 elections as we speak? It’s astonishing that after repeated claims of electoral malfeasance and the worst performances at the Supreme Court, former President Mahama is still not learning lessons from his mistakes – he’s still alleging fraud on the street but not in court.

“This same Mahama took everyone on a wild goose chase at the Supreme Court and he continue to deflect blame in any direction he can throw it without reflecting on his own failures. The man doesn’t exactly make it easy to stick with him. His stories are literally so outrageous and demonstrably false that you have to be wilfully blind to keep going along.

“It seems to me that Mahama and his advisors are unaware of the fact that the finger-pointing at the electoral commission (EC) has important implications for how the NDC moves forward.

“The point must be made clear that Election 2020 has long been over. Attempting to rewrite the rules in order to maintain relevance rather than letting the winners get on with running the business is quite irritating and nauseating. I appreciate the fact that there could be legitimate electoral grievances, but quite frankly, NDC leaders ought to up their game.

“Truly, it is beyond comprehension that the NDC is so poorly led that side-lining the current crop of leaders and devolving their responsibilities to fresh leadership seems to be the only way forward.

Everything ought to change, and that means that Mahama must lead the way and stop the rambling and the irrational drivel that comes from him every now and then.

“The NDC needs to move on and deal with weightier matters of party reorganisation and get the party back on proper footing with a fresh leadership ahead of election 2024. We need to also push the NDC to a much needed progressive direction. Above all, our leaders needs to differentiate between those things that are worth challenging and those that are not. If you are always carping incessantly about everything, you lose even more relevance than if you had focussed on the real key issues. I shall be back.”

Menahwile, the NDC had said Mr Mahama made the 1million vote fraud claim on solid grounds.

 At a press conference in Accra on Thursday October 28, the General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketia said “We take note with satisfaction Bossman Asare’s call on the Ghana Police Service to investigate the fact put out by President Mahama, given that President Mahama was on solid grounds when making this statement. The NDC stands ever prepared to assist in any credible investigation into the matters raised,”

“We are aware however that Bossman Asare’s call is only a red herring because he cannot feign ignorance of the fact that the Police Service is already seized with all the evidence on this matter.

“On the specific printing of 1 million excess ballot papers and arrest of persons with thumb-printed ballot papers, the Ghana Police Service carried out the arrests and therefore should be providing updates on the status of investigations to the population.

“All that Bossman Asare needs to do is to call on the Attorney General to ask the police to prosecute the offenders.”

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana