General News of Saturday, 13 October 2018
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is covering up its failure to collate the 2016 presidential election results, saying that its system collapsed.
Bede Ziedeng, acting Director of Elections for the NDC, at a press conference on Thursday, said the party tried deploying 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 claimed.
“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.
The Electoral Commission (EC), headed by Charlotte Osei, claimed its IT infrastructure also crashed, leading to the manual collation.
Credible reports indicate that the NDC tied its IT infrastructure to that of the EC in order to rig the elections, and the moment the Commission’s system collapsed, the NDC had no back-up to collate the results.
The NDC is making a 360 degree U-turn to claim it has the collated results although the Botchwey Committee that was set up to investigate the party’s abysmal performance during the 2016 election which made then President Mahama a one-term leader, indicted the Election Directorate of the party, headed by Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, for not collating the results.
Almost two years after the party’s crushing defeat, the NDC’s acting Director of Elections, Bede A. Ziedeng, said at the news conference in Accra that the 2016 results are now available for verification.
“Even at the time former President John Mahama made his concession speech, the National Elections Directorate had collated the results of over 235 constituencies. The collation of results was duly carried out, and indeed the National Elections Directorate, continuously furnished the NDC representatives in the Electoral Commission’s Strong Room with collated results until the final declaration.”
Although he said the results were ready, he admitted that it was after official declaration of results that the Ofosu Ampofo-led team commenced the process of retrieving all the pink sheets from the 29,002 polling stations in the country for what he called ‘the post-declaration verification and analysis.’
“The directorate was waiting for the Electoral Commission to gazette the polling station results so that we could compare the figures. To date, the EC has failed to gazette the polling station results, and so no opportunity for verification,” he said.
“We had parliamentary candidates in all the 275 constituencies. None of them has complained about non-collation of results. Even those challenging the election results rely on our collated results,” he added.
He said media reports that the NDC could not collate its results were meant to tarnish the reputation of the members of the Election Directorate of the party, saying “the National Elections Directorate is made up of experienced and hard-working people who will never allow anything untoward to happen to the party.”
“It is this same Elections Directorate, which was compelled to move around the whole country to all the polling stations to retrieve and assemble all the pink sheets to help mount a credible defence when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) filed the Election Petition in 2012. It’s therefore factually inaccurate for anyone to claim that the Elections Directorate or the Director of Elections (Ofosu Ampofo) did not or failed to collate the results of the 2016 presidential elections, when indeed the facts point to the contrary,” he added.
He said “the fact that the private infrastructure deployed to collate results directly from the polling stations crashed soon after it was deployed does not mean that no results were collated. Eventually, the party had to fall back on the National Elections Directorate for the collation of the results.”
As the election of national executives to lead the party draws closer, some big shots in the opposition party are still fighting over the 2016 presidential results.
After the plot to rig the election terribly backfired, leading to its defeat, the NDC has been constantly assigning various reasons to its humiliating defeat.
Recently, in Cape Coast, former President Mahama, who led the NDC to the embarrassing defeat, claimed the NPP rigged the polls and the opposition party would not be slapped for the second time in 2020.
Interestingly, by 11 pm on December 7, 2016, then opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) had in its possession about 80 per cent of all the pink sheet results in the country and had done its calculation to know that its candidate Nana Akufo-Addo was winning the presidential election one-touch.
The Prof. Kwesi Botchwey-led committee that investigated reasons why the NDC lost massively later established that the party did not build any official platform to collate results of the December 2016 general elections.
Strangely, Mr. Ofosu Ampofo, who was the Director of Elections, appeared before the 13-member Botchwey Committee to explain issues to them, but the committee, in its report, made damning findings against the NDC’s Election Committee.
Despite the chants of ‘we are winning the election one-touch’ by then incumbent President John Mahama and later ‘we are in a comfortable lead’ mantra, it turned out the NDC did not collate the results but rather tied the party’s ‘destiny’ to that of Charlotte Osei’s Electoral Commission by relying on the EC’s IT system so when the EC’s system failed, the NDC was caught flat-footed, gasping for breath.
The NDC members relied on Felix Kwakye Ofosu’s ‘private’ arrangement to collate the results which also failed them miserably, according to the report.
Reports at the time said that the party was in secret talks with the Electoral Commission (EC) to get the results, a move which was unknown to the other political parties.
The report said the party appeared to have relied on Kwakye Ofosu’s private arrangement when the main collation platform set up under the supervision of the Election Directorate, headed by Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, could have been strengthened to deliver, saying “the situation brought dysfunctionalism in the party to a head!”
“There were evidently two systems, one party based, and the other, according to Felix Kwakye Ofosu, a private initiative. The Election Directorate evidently regarded the Kwakye Ofosu’s initiative as primary whereas Mr. Kwakye Ofosu and his team regarded it only as backup system,” the report said.
The NDC’s collation system was said have been built by K-Net which was handling the multi-million dollar digital television migration.