Dr. Kwadwo Afari Djan
Dr. Kwadwo Afari Djan

If care is not taken, there is no way the country?s Electoral Commission can ever declare winners in any future Presidential and Parliamentary Elections. Winners of Ghana?s future elections may all be declared by the Supreme Court (SC)! The reason is very simple, but I will explain later.

One of the prominent reasons why the NPP is contesting the results of the 2012 Presidential Election concerns unsigned pink sheets by presiding officers. In fact the lawyers of the trio petitioners are pushing to get the nine justices sitting on the petition case to annul all the valid votes from any polling station in President John Mahama?s stronghold that the presiding officer did not sign.

Interestingly, the NPP folks have okayed and insulated unsigned pink sheets in all the strongholds of Nana Akufo-Addo. They are simply in court just to get the unsigned pink sheets in areas won by President Mahama to be excluded from the final vote count, probably because they believe President John Mahama is not Ghanaian enough or perhaps his father did not play any role during the struggle for Ghana?s political independence.

If you are following the on-going SC petition case, no one needs to amplify to you that the NPP is religiously honing their stand that every single unsigned pink sheet in any polling station that President Mahama won should be thrown away so that Nana Akufo-Addo will sneak in as president from the backdoor.

But this is against the backdrop that the EC?s guidelines for the conduct of the 2012 Elections, clearly states that an unsigned pink sheet by a presiding officer should not invalidate the results in any polling station. In fact, the guidelines further explains that if party agents append their signatures on pink sheets and for some reason/s some? presiding officers fail to sign their signatures, the results in those areas are still valid.

Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, the second petitioner and the NPP?s star witness was made to read portions from the EC?s guidelines concerning the unsigned pink sheets by presiding officers at least five (5) good times to the hearing of all those following the case. But the NPP folks keep soldiering on, behaving as if they do not know or do not recognize the existence of the EC?s guidelines on the 2012 elections.

Now here is the looming danger hovering around the heads of all Ghanaians! Assuming that the SC sides with the NPP and throws away votes in all the polling stations without the signatures of the presiding officers, the country will never ever have any future elections declared by the EC.

All it takes is for any political party to get some presiding officers either through fair or foul means to refuse to sign the pink sheets at their polling stations at the end of elections, and head to court to contest the results. It is very simple to do that if the SC invalidates the results in areas where presiding officers failed to sign the pink sheets in the 2012 Presidential Election.

The SC will set the precedent for future elections if they ignore the EC?s guidelines for the conduct of the 2012 elections, and side with the NPP and throw out votes in areas where the presiding officers did not sign. Once the SC does that, every single future election will be contested in court. And I bet even if we have just one unsigned pink sheet, the SC would be asked to make a decision on it. Imagine the chaotic scenes that will engulf every future election/s in Ghana. It will take more than six months before Ghanaians know who actually won the presidential and parliamentary elections.

The SC should therefore gird its loins because its members are going to sit and determine the outcome of every future election if they go ahead and throw away the votes in areas where the presiding officers failed to sign the pink sheets.

We may probably have grossed over why a presiding officer may have failed to sign a pink sheet because you and I were not there. But if you want to take a peek into why a presiding officer may have failed to sign a pink sheet, the reason is not far-fetched.

All presiding officers during election time fill out the pink sheets and thereafter allow the polling agents to sign their signatures. We see presiding officers under immense pressure during this time because they have to pack their stuff and all that and head to the collation centres. Therefore, the only good reason that can be assigned to an unsigned pink sheet by a presiding officer is forgetfulness. Nothing more!

Because if a presiding officer intends to play mischief he/she will not fill out the pink sheet in the first place. But if a presiding officer fills out the pink sheet and allows the political party agents to look at the numbers declared on the pink sheet very critically before appending their signatures, what in this world will compel the presiding officer to refuse to sign his/her signature? It is only pressure, which led to forgetfulness! That is all what happened!

The SC must therefore be careful in looking critically at this issue concerning the unsigned pink sheets by presiding officers; otherwise they will set a precedent that will put every future election into doubt.? And once we have a precedent all future elections will land at the doors of the SC, even if we have just one unsigned pink sheet by a presiding officer. The looming danger concerning unsigned pink sheets is very real and we must therefore not joke with it.

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