The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has described as red herring a call by a Deputy Chair of the Electoral Commission (EC) Dr Bossman Asare, asking the Police to investigate a claim by former President John Dramani Mahama that the commission allegedly, thumb printed one million ballot papers in favour of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in the 2020 presidential election.
Mr Mahama had alleged when he addressed the Divisional Chief of Prestea Himan, Nana Nteboah Prah, recently, as part of his Thank You tour of the Western Region that “More than one million extra ballot papers were printed, which the EC claimed happened by mistake but on the day of the elections, some of the more than one million extra ballot papers had already been secretly thumb-printed in favour of the NPP.”
The Presidential Candidate of the NDC in last year’s elections added “And, so, all these things dented the credibility of the polls and caused an embarrassment”,
“The former President ha said the EC thumbprinted one million ballot papers for the President of the Republic. This is untrue; and it is a great matter that undermines the credibility of the electoral system and should not be ignored.”
But responding to him, Dr Bossman Asare said at a press conference that “We see that our silence on this matter has dire consequences on public confidence in the Commission, and we want the police to investigate it,” he stressed.
“Distinguished citizens, in the last few weeks Former President Mahama has made a number of allegations against the EC and the 2020 elections. As Officials charged with the responsibility of conducting elections in Ghana, we owe it a duty to provide Ghanaians with the facts and the truth about the elections and the allegations raised. We are of the view that our silence on these false allegations could have dire consequences as it could undermine citizens’ confidence our dear country.
“The Former President has said the EC thumb printed 1million ballots in favor of the president. This is untrue. This is a grave matter that undermines the credibility of our electoral process and should not be ignored. We call on him to provide evidence to support his claim. This is not a matter to be ignored and we call on the Ghana Police Service to investigate this.
“The Transparency of our process makes it totally impossible for this to happen. At the polling stations, prior to the start of the elections, the empty ballot boxes are opened and displayed in the presence of everyone, and thereafter they are sealed. There are serial numbers on the ballot papers for each region and constituency. This is made known to the Agents before the elections. Our ballot papers also have security features; so any trace of new material will be clearly visible.
“Again, at the end of the poll, the ballots cast are crosschecked against the voters who were verified and issued the ballot papers. This ensures that over-voting is detected immediately. Nationwide, we had no issue with over-voting at all our 38,622 polling stations except in Savelugu in the parliamentary election where there was one and I repeat one over-voting. The transparency of our processes from the beginning to the end makes this impossible. Ballot Stuffing cannot be done-it is impossible. We call on the Former President in the interest of our democracy to provide evidence of the stuffing of the ballot boxes by the EC.
“The Police should investigate this as a matter of urgency due to its potential to derail and undermine our democracy, and lead to a lack of confidence in our systems and processes.”
In a reply to Dr Bossman Asare at a press conference in Accra on Thursday October 28, the General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketia said “We take note with satisfaction Bossman Asare’s call on the Ghana Police Service to investigate the fact put out by President Mahama, given that President Mahama was on solid grounds when making this statement. The NDC stands ever prepared to assist in any credible investigation into the matters raised,”
“We are aware however that Bossman Asare’s call is only a red herring because he cannot feign ignorance of the fact that the Police Service is already seized with all the evidence on this matter.
“On the specific printing of 1 million excess ballot papers and arrest of persons with thumb-printed ballot papers, the Ghana Police Service carried out the arrests and therefore should be providing updates on the status of investigations to the population.
“All that Bossman Asare needs to do is to call on the Attorney General to ask the police to prosecute the offenders.”