The Electoral Commission (EC) has admitted messing up the 2012 general elections, as a result of system failure and inept display by some of its staff, during the election.
According to the EC, its operations during the elections were characterized by various degrees of unpardonable irregularities, including failure to comply with basic operational instructions, technical and logistic challenges.
The Deputy Chairman of the EC, in-charge of operations, Mr. Amadu Sulley revealed this in his presentation at a Consultative Forum on Voter Registration, themed: ‘Deepening Public Confidence in Ghana’s Elections’ in Accra yesterday.
His topic was:’Overview of Current Voters Register and the Challenges of the 2012 Voters Registration.’
“Some of the registration officials (Data Entry Clerks) failed to follow simple operational instructions. This resulted in technical problem. For instance instead of clicking ‘OK’ they were using enter ‘KEY’ to confirm an action.
“They also gave several print commands instead of one and then waiting for the system respond,” Mr. Sulley said.
After the Chairman of the EC, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan had declared President John Mahama as winner of the 2012 presidential election, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) led by Nana Akufo-Addo, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and Jake Obestebi-Lamptey proceeded to court on the basis that there were massive irregularities and malpractices in almost 12,000 polling stations.
The NPP said the party uncovered irregularities that not only favoured the NDC presidential candidate, John Mahama, but also some NDC parliamentary candidates in various parts of the country.
In the said petition, filed at the Supreme Court, the NPP prayed that: “John Dramani Mahama, the 2nd Respondent, herein was not validly elected president of the Republic of Ghana.
“That Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the 1st Petitioner herein, rather was validly elected President of the Republic of Ghana.”
However, the Supreme Court ruled otherwise, thus affirmed Afari Gyan’s declaration.
Mr. Amadu Sulley told his audience, which included representatives of the political parties, that the compilation of the voters’ register was fraught with operational, technical and logistical problems.
According to him, the Data Entry Clerks hired by the EC could not follow simple operational instructions, raising questions over their competence and the veracity of the final register used in the 2012 election.
The Data Entry Clerks, he said, had a hell of a difficulty “locating some districts,” adding that it would have been helpful if the software used was made in such a way that as soon as one clicked a region, all districts in that region would display, for the correct district to be selected.
Another problem the EC faced, he stated, was with the thumb printing of form IA by applicants, saying that the Entry Clerks delayed the finger print capturing, especially those of applicants who did not wipe their thumbs with the wet swipes.
Amadu Sulley further revealed that the materials they deployed to the centers, that is, forms IA and C could not meet the demand in phase 1.
This, he noted, was due to pressure, as registrants were not patient to wait for their turn in their centers. “There were also shortfalls on the hand held scanners,” he added.
The EC at the forum also took time to throw light on the legal framework binding its operations and the methodology adopted in operating and other relevant statistical information on the register.
The forum was attended by the representatives of all major political parties, that is the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Convention Peoples Party( PNC) among others, including some Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).