With an unsettling frankness, an investigative report into the electoral defeat of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the 2016 polls has described the party’s collation machine as “a complete mess”, “to put it simply and bluntly”
The Prof Kwesi Botchwey Committee report said the then governing NDC could not independently ascertain for itself the polling station results because its collation system was doomed to fail.
The size of the failure saw the NDC suffer the worst defeat in its history with its candidate garnering 44.4% of the votes, the lowest for a sitting president.
The NPP was swept into power by a 53.8% of the votes with a majority in parliament unseen since it was formed in 1992.
The defeat has left the NDC in what one of its flagbearer hopefuls, Alban Bagbin has described, as the five stages of grief -denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance.
Arguably Ghana’s most sought-after political document detailing reasons for the NDC’s defeat, the Prof Botchwey report is to help the party look at the man in the mirror.
In one example, the report said there were two parallel systems – the party-based system and the Ofosu Kwakye-based system.
Both were rivals and both were underfunded, the report said on page 50. For instance, in the Northern region, 250 phones were sent there to cover the collation from 11,000 polling stations.
Highly inadequate logistics meant the polling agents had to “physically” transport the ‘pink sheets’ to the collation center or use their own phones.
In effect, the report leaked to the media said, there is an “inescapable conclusion” that the “party had no way of obtaining election results in real time”.
But this reality did not stop Deputy NDC General Secretary, Koku Anyidoho, from announcing at a press conference held while collation was going on that the party was “in a comfortable lead” and later “cruising to victory”.
But the results were cruising into then opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) collation center, whose state was in sharp contrast to that of the NDC.
The NPP system headed by a NASA scientist Joe Anokye was complimented by fast speed internet, fax machines, computers, laptops.
Polling agents were reportedly resourced enough to relay results at breakneck speed.
In effect, the NPP declared victory in Central, Western and other regions more than 36 hours before the EC finally announced results.
The report quoting the words of a “stakeholder who is best placed to judge”, said the party was “simply” “caught flat-footed”.
The investigate report indicated that on election day, some party members saw it as an opportunity to revenge wrong done them by other leaders.
The 13-member committee said in the report that effective collation depends on organisation, human resource and technology – three qualities which were found wanting in the famed NDC election machine.
It called for the use of lawyers, intelligence officers in addition to party activists in the collation of results in the next general elections in 2020.
The report is titled ‘voice of the people’ but former Communications Minister, Dr Omane Boamah has suggested this is not the voice of the people because the copy intercepted by Joy News has not been authenticated by the party.
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