Ghana’s democracy has been touted as one of the best within Africa. The country has successfully conducted peaceful elections since 1992 to the admiration of the international community.
However, locally, there have been complaints of election riggings/hacking by opposition parties. For instance, we have had the case of the famous “2012 election petition” and other verbal statements made by opposition parties blaming the EC for their election’s defeat.
A recent statement by Ex-President John Mahama questioning the credibility of the 2016 elections and that of Madam Jean Mensah (EC boss) complaints about Superlock Technologies Ltd (STL), are all in line with Madam Charlotte Osei (former EC boss) previous statements that the EC system were being compromised during the 2016 elections.
Hacking seems to be the adverse effect of using electronic systems in any election. Even the advance countries have not been able to fully deal with it completely. For instance, the recent 2016 US presidential election is rumored to have been hacked by Russia in favor of President Trump.
Therefore, changing STL by Madam Jean Mensah in a bidding process to a new IT company may not necessary stop election hacking/rigging in the country and the chances of another election 2020 hacking/rigging is very likely to occur. Perhaps we should completely abandon the IT system of transmission of results and revert to a more comprehensive manual way of conducting elections in the country by;
- Declaring every general election day a public holiday and opening polls from 6am to 1pm.
- Engaging more election staff at polling stations to help in the electoral process and to speed up the voting queues.
- Ensuring that all election results are counted at the polling stations and party agents given certified copies of the signed “pink sheets.”
- Ensuring that the results be collated at the district election offices and transferred to regional and then to the national level. Under this process, each party should be mandated by the EC to have a collation center at the district and should tally their collated results to that of the district results before its being transferred to the regional offices. Political party representative should be made to sign the district results under each district. Any discrepancies in results should be resolved at the district by the EC officials and the political party representatives using the polling station pink sheets.
- Ensuring that at the regional office, total votes cast for each presidential and parliamentary candidate be endorsed by party regional chairperson before they get faxed to the national level. Any discrepancies in results should then be resolved at the regional office by the EC and the party chairperson using each district certified results and not the polling station pink sheet. The EC and its Chairperson at the national level will be more composed to deal with 16 regional results based on total regional votes cast for each presidential and constituency parliamentary candidate.
It is time we take a critical look at our electoral processes so as not to create other future doubts on the credibility of any upcoming elections. It is time we properly decentralize our EC. Going by the famous statement that “elections are won at the polling stations,” we can implement a comprehensive manual election process without having to compromise our election process by hackers. For even the best advance nations have not been able to deal completely with the problem of hacking and election rigging in their electronic election processes.
Dr. Sa-ad Iddrisu