21April2014

The New Statesman

Ghana's Oldest Mainstream Newspaper

Afari-Gyan: The Errors in 2012 election were not corrected before Mahama was declared winner

Kwadwo Afari – Gyan, Chairman of the Electoral Commission, yesterday told the Supreme Court while being cross-examined that the errors which affected the conduct of the 2012 elections, evident on the face of pink sheets from polling stations across the country, were not corrected before the declaration of John Mahama as winner of the Presidential elections was made.

Dr. Afari Gyan conceded to this fact on the fourth day of his cross examination by lead witness of the petitioners, Counsel Philip Addison.

 

In cross examining the EC Chairman, the lead counsel handed Dr. Afari Gyan thirty (30) pink sheets on which incidents of voting without being biometrically verified were recorded to have happened at the polling stations. These 30 pink sheets had instances a section of the voters were recorded to have voted  without being verified and different from the few ones on which it has been recorded that all the voters at the stations voted without being verified.

As part of the sections of the pink sheet is the ballot accounting section which among others requires the presiding officer to indicate the number of ballot papers issued to voters on the polling station register (C1) and the number of voters out of this number who voted without being verified by the use of the biometric verification device (C3  What is the number of ballots issued to voters verified by the use of Form 1C (but not by the use of BVD)).

When confronted with the pink sheets on which part of the voters at the particular polling stations were recorded to have voted without being verified,  Dr. Afari Gyan’s initial explanation was that the C1 and C3 sections ought to be summed up to find the total number of people who were given ballots at the polling station. However, this was sharply countered by Counsel Philip Addison who indicated to the witness that that would lead to double counting as the number of persons who voted without being verified were also on the polling station register and thus included in the C1 section. The explanation given by Counsel Philip Addison was supported by Justice Baffoe – Bonnie and Justice Dotse.

However, Dr. Afari Gyan further explained that the numbers indicated in the C3 sections were not on the voters’ register and that they should be taken separately from the entries made in the C1 sections.

When pushed further, Dr. Afari Gyan shifted his position and concluded that all such entries in the C3 part of the pink sheet arose out of errors and that the entries should not have been placed at the C3 section.

This reasoning by Dr Afari-Gyan prompted Justice Baffoe – Bonnie to inquire from the EC Boss where those entries should have been placed if it should not have been entered in the C3 section as the entries in the C3 section were completely different from all other numbers filled in on the pink sheets and thus couldn’t be said to be trans-positional errors, but Dr. Afari Gyan failed to also indicate where in his view those entries should have been entered.

Indeed, Dr Afari-Gyan proceeded to state that the whole pink sheet and especially the ballot accounting section was designed in error.

Counsel Philip Addison inquired from Dr Afari-Gyan if the Commission and himself as returning officer for the Presidential elections corrected/ rectified the errors before the declaration was made.
 
Dr Afari-Gyan in answering stated that not a single error was corrected before he made the declaration, explaining that he did not do that because he had no access to any pink sheet.

The EC boss throughout his evidence-in-chief and cross- examination had blamed all the irregularities on the face of the pink sheets on errors which arose in the elections