The Elections Directorate of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), has said that inadequate funding for the office was a major setback for them during the 2016 general elections.
Despite being in power then, according to the party’s acting Director of Elections, Bede Ziedeng, their budget presented to the appropriate quarters did not yield any fruitful results saying “we did not receive the necessary funding.”
He said they were compelled to depend on meagre logistics they had to run the NDC’s national election directorate.
“We hope the question will not be asked, why we did not have the electronic transmission system that would have enabled us collate results directly from the polling stations to the national database. We as a directorate, we prepared a budget, but we did not receive the necessary funding. We therefore were left with no other alternative but work with the tools at our disposal,” Bede Ziedeng added when he addressed the press on Thursday.
Bede Ziedeng, a former Upper West Regional Minister made the revelation in an attempt to set the records straight in an ongoing blame game within the NDC over the failings of the party’s team of collators and the collation system used.
One Michael Ologo had accused former Communications Minister, Omane Boamah of being in charge of the collation of NDC’s election results; a claim the latter denied and dropped it squarely at the doorstep of the Director of Elections at the time, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo.
Bede Ziedeng at the conference said it tried deploying an electronic system for the collation of election results; but the system crashed compelling the team to resort to the manual data collection method.
“During the 2016 elections, there was an attempt to establish a new infrastructure for the collation of the results from the polling stations. But this was completely outside the directorate, and the elections directorate was not involved in its management,” he said.
“Unfortunately, it was this infrastructure which crashed soon after it was deployed and therefore failed to provide any result for the party. And this was alluded to by the Professor Kwesi Botchwey committee report. But that does not mean that no results were collated,” he added.
Bede Ziedeng’s remark over lack of funding seems to corroborate an earlier hint by former President John Dramani Mahama.
John Mahama while addressing NDC supporters a few weeks ago in the Central Region promised to ensure that funds for the party’s campaign for election 2020 are not diverted.
Mr. Mahama said the party had learnt its lessons and will ensure that campaign funds are used for its intended purpose.
“I have noted all our mistakes. We realized campaign funds were diverted, but we have learnt our lessons. We will ensure campaign funds go through the right channel to get the campaign done. In 2020, we must rise up and be vigilant. I am confident that at the end of the polls, NDC will be declared winner,” he added.