Within the context of a fairly conducted elections, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) should not have breezed past the National Democratic Congress (NDC) so comfortably, as the final results of the 2020 elections announced by the Electoral Commission (EC) sounded.
But there were other external factors and influences that deflated what should have been NDC’s presidential statement of authority. There is a certain trajectory to being winners in Ghanaian elections and the NPP is learning fast how to exploit and hold on to this course.
While vigilance and ability are crucial in any given election, the NPP has come to also understand that election, particularly in Ghana, is all about navigating other unlawfully rigging means to achieving the ultimate.
They claim the NDC won the 2012 elections through rigging; and had since then mastered the art of beating the NDC in their own game. Many NDC folks believe the 2016 elections that brought Nana Akufo Addo into power was seriously flawed with so many irregularities.
Going into the 2020 elections, the NPP re-enacted another virtuoso rigging machinery that outwitted the NDC and other competing parties on the election day; and before these other stakeholders could become aware of the massive irregularities, the Electoral Commissioner, Jean Meansah had declared the NPP candidate, Nana Akufo Addo as the president-elect.
In her declaration, the chair of the Electoral Commission, Mrs. Jane Mensah disclosed that Thirteen Million, four hundred and thirty-four thousand, five hundred and seventy-four (13, 434, 574) valid votes were recorded at the December 7th polls.
Out of the total valid votes, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) obtained Six million, seven hundred and thirty thousand, four hundred and thirteen (6,730,413) valid votes; with his closest rival, John Dramani Mahama recording Six million, two hundred and fourteen thousand, eight hundred and eighty-nine (6,214,889).
According to Jane Mensah, Nana Akufo Addo therefore obtained 50.8 % to win the presidential election as against 47.87% garnered by his closest challenger, former President John Dramani Mahama.
A Labone office building as hub of EC’s collation centre
The NPP brought into Ghana, some Turkish IT specialists, to build an electoral data server at an office building belonging to an inner-kitchen cabinet member at the presidency. A replica of the server was built by the Turks at the head office of the Electoral Commission.
The Labone office thus became the conveyor point of all collated results to the EC. One can imagine what the office did to the received collated ballots from the Regions; before being sent through to the EC server.
Could that be the reason why the NPP at a point during the vote counts, told Ghanaians that the party’s figures were the same as that of the EC’s? In one of the NPP’s press conferences, Joseph Anokye, the Director General of the National Communications Authority (NCA) made the disclosure.
The rigging warning signs
On February 24th, 2020, Joe Anokye wrote to the Chief of Staff, Frema Opare requesting for funds to help boost NPP’s central data system. Parts of the letter read: “As we all know it was not easy for us in the last elections to manipulate the EC’s central data system to get things done in our favour”.
The letter continues: “We already know region by region and district by district the number of Free Senior High School (SHS) beneficiaries who will vote for the first time”. … “And having access to the EC system will be a great advantage for us as we can get majority of those Free SHS beneficiaries on the electoral register in our strongholds”.
Other intimidation methods
The NPP also planned on how their polling station agents and their vigilante group members would assume a certain authority and confidence at the local areas on the day of the elections.
And that is exactly what they imparted into these thugs.
The NPP have come to appreciate how the Ghanaian election is all about standing firmly to shake off any possible blow; be it physical or verbal; and keeping keen to what can ensure you the ultimate presidential and parliamentary seats, no matter how opponents keep questioning and rejecting the results at collation centres.
So it’s just a matter of keeping to the plan, no matter how unorthodox it may sound to opponents or right thinking men in society, until the final victory is achieved. These have been the battle cry of the NPP in the last two elections. And the plots have so far, worked to perfection. It’s a steeled electoral art that unnerves rival parties.
Although political watchers had seen the NPP exhibit pure grit and share bravodo to outwit the NDC and others in the 2016 elections, the bravery of the governing party’s polling agents, backed by their party thugs to cow voters and other party polling agents into submission in this year’s election was par-excellence.
These NPP macho-men or election thugs masqueraded as polling agents; but beyond their watchful duties on the voting centres, they unveiled their true identity and mission at the collation centres.
They put on full military regalia to confuse election observers as being a part of the security detail deployed to oversee to the conduct of the elections; but underlying such watchful looks, was a hidden agenda of aiding the NPP to retain power at all cost.
In less than no time, their true character and purpose as disguised polling agents began to emerge. They engaged in all manner of thuggery; absorbed every verbal bout and easily warded-off any physicality posed by opposing party watchers of the voting process with ease.
They never reneged and stuck to the instructive plan of their pay masters. They prevented other polling agents who questioned their presence when their cover was blown-up and in some of the instances, they killed just to be able to prosecute the NPP agenda.
These NPP thugs were never overawed by the presence of the legitimate security forces with the mandate to oversee to the conduct of the elections.
The Military High command would later put out a statement denying vehemently that the supposed military personnel who gunned to death, an NDC polling agent at Techiman South was not a military man, although he was in full military regalia.
Even the Minority Leader, Hon. Haruna Iddrisu got the true identity of the perpetrator of that heinous act wrong. And why not? The trigger-happy individual wore a properly designed military dress that the NPP purposely designed for their goons in the voting exercise.
What’s more intriguing is the fact that the NDC has had intelligence of how some NPP polling agents would assume the character of legitimate police, army, CEPS, Immigration personnel on electoral duty just to confuse voters about their true identity.
And yet the NDC, sat being all presumptuous, half in expectation, half in hopelessness, that a mere verbal shouting and giving media interviews would either scare or soften the actions of these NPP hoodlums.
Historical pain and time to pay back the NDC in their own game
The NPP is still nursing the pain of what they consider as the bizarre circumstances under which they lost the 2012 elections.
To them, the NDC-induced pain became more compounded when the Supreme Court failed to consider the credible evidence they adduced to support their claim that the 2012 elections were rigged to favour the then ruling NDC administration, headed by John Dramani Mahama.
Since then, the NPP had vowed never to take chances at polling stations in any given elections. They needed not to struggle that much in the 2016 elections because they won overwhelmingly in that elections. Even at that, they kept a watchful eye and strict adherence to a high-tech approach until the final victory was achieved.
The NPP set up its own IT centre at the Ghana border with the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, taking advantage of then candidate Akufo Addo’s relationship with Ivorian President, Alassan Ouattarra. The move was to outwit a possible surveillance by the Ghanaian security intelligence.
That was when the NPP had picked up an intelligence that all collated ballots in the 2016 elections, would first get to a server situated at the home of then President Mahama, before onward transmission into the Electoral Commission’s.
By that counter server in Cote d’Ivoire, the NPP was then able to intercept all collated ballots during the 2016 elections, deal with them in a manner that promoted their cause before allowing them to flow into the EC’s IT server.
That explained why the EC chairperson at the time, Mrs. Charlotte Osei, at a point during the collation of the 2016 elections, cried out that her server had been hacked into. It was through the IT savvy of one Joe Anokye, who specifically, was brought in from the US by the NPP to help salvage and strengthen the IT department of the party.
Today, Joe Anokye, a geodetic engineer and having worked as National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the United States is the Managing Director of Ghana’s National Communications Authority and the director of NPP’s ICT.
By Duke Yankson