In his strongest remark about whether he would accept defeat in the 2020 elections or not, former President John Mahama has said that should there be a level-playing ground he will be the victor.
The former president is literary pushing the agenda that if he does not win the 2020 presidential election it will mean the process has been rigged.
“We want a level-playing field, we want a free and fair election; we want transparency with every stakeholder having equal opportunity of being able to win and … I can say confidently that if elections are held in this country NDC will win,” he said.
He was speaking during a retreat of election directors of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) organized by the party’s National Director of Elections of the party in Tamale in the Northern Region over the weekend.
Until recently, the NDC has questioned the integrity of the Electoral Commission (EC) to conduct a credible election, with the party’s General Secretary and National Chairman both passing uncharitable comments about the commission and its leadership.
There has been a change of heart in the party and now the former President said the NDC has a better working relationship with the EC and that all they want is integrity-driven performance to ensure free and fair polls.
Mahama’s conviction that should his expectation of victory be dashed is a subtle preparation for the grounds for him to regard next year’s elections as rigged and therefore, unacceptable.
An election is not a lottery in which a party can win or lose but an exercise dependent upon hard work, he told the election directors, adding “you must cover every ground to ensure that victory is yours and so we mustn’t leave any chance in the 2020 elections.”
“Indeed, election 2020 is one of the most critical in our party as it would determine the future of our party and future of our great country Ghana. We do not seek to influence the election in our favour but, of course, we don’t want anybody to rig the election too,” he stressed.
He said at the instance of the EC, they held a meeting with the commissioners, adding “it gave us the opportunity to put some issues on the table and the EC also responded and I think that it created the platform to be able to dialogue that we are all in the same way to 2020.”
He said the NDC told the EC officials to gazette the full presidential results which he said had not been done three years since the 2016 election was held.
“We do not have a gazette of the polling stations results; we just have a gazette of the omnibus figure but we need to know what happened at the polling stations. What were the results at the polling stations because as its popularly said elections are won or lost at the polling stations and so we need to know exactly what happened at the polling stations so that we can do our analysis and that analysis will inform us the kind of work that we need to do in campaign to be able to make victory ours.
“My understanding from that meeting was that the EC was going to work on it and gazette those results as soon as possible. I want to send a reminder to the EC that we are still waiting for the full gazetting of the presidential results of the 2016 elections,” he said.
EC IT System
He said during the meeting, they raised another issue on EC’s IT system, saying “I have raised this issue before and officers of the EC came and spoke rudely. I want to raise it again, we didn’t say it; it was the EC that said that their results transmission system had been compromised. That was the word they used and so they were directing their officers to use the manual transmission system.”
“Those were not my words, those were the words of EC, there was even the issue about a possible hacking of their website and so every incident that occurs we need to analyze so that it doesn’t reoccur when we hold another election and so we are asking the EC to investigate and explain to us what happened to that system so that we don’t have a repeat in the election of 2020,” he added.
The former president also talked about the registration of voters, saying that it is 18 months to an election and they do not know whether there will be a new register.
“We have always had new voters’ registers after we have held population census in this country and we are able to get exact statistics about what the voting population is and so the expectation was that we will hold the 2020 population census and on the basis of that we will compile a new voters’ register,” he said.
He said the EC has not done ‘sufficient consultation’ before starting procurement for a new IT system, saying “the EC must engage us so that we are sure that IT systems they are acquiring are ones that will be effective to be able to do the job that they have been bought for.”