Ahead of citizens going to the poll on December 7, 2020, the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana made known a few changes in the process this year. Previously, constituency results were received at the Electoral Commission head office. For 2020, the EC created another layer of results collation, creating a regional centre for adding all results from respective constituencies. The regional results would then be sent to the headquarters of the Electoral Commission.
In all of these processes, all political parties and observers are not left out. Candidates participating in the elections are also very much involved, with the results being endorsed by people involved to avoid petty disputes.
Chairperson of the Electoral Commission Jean Mensa gave a timeline of 24 hours to declare the results after the election. On Sunday, December 6, 2020, a few hours to the elections, the EC Chair clarified that the 24-hour timeline was not set in stone. However, looking at preparations and plans made, she was confident her team could deliver on their promise. All representatives of the various political parties were present at that press conference.
When results started pouring in from the various constituencies after 5 pm on December 7, social media, which has relatively moved to different heights from 2016 in its effectiveness in Ghana, was a highlight of quick transfer of information around the results.
Amidst some misinformation and disinformation, the various constituencies, Member of Parliament aspirants, winners and losers, started to fill the screens of smartphones in WhatsApp messages and statuses, Twitter and Facebook timelines, among others.
The media who have been part of this process were at times being challenged and criticised for being too slow. It’s election results and people almost always need an instant declaration, a reason the EC gave for its 24-hour timeline in a bid to not leave Ghanaians in suspense.
However, there had to be a gradual way around getting election results and the media upheld that, without compromising on accuracy, to feed a hungry and desperate audience who only want their numbers.
With the resources from the various political parties, especially the two main candidates at each centre, from polling stations to regional levels, these teams seeking power are well equipped to have an idea around what results look like as they come in.
Ghana’s two biggest political parties, which are the incumbent New Patriotic Party (NPP) and opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), have team members monitoring and sending results from all centres where results are being announced by the EC officials. In most cases, these team members send results to their party centres for internal collations.
Nana Addo and Mahama have reiterated their commitment to the peace and stability.
Their Members of Parliament and representatives also give real-time information around what goes on in relation to winning or losing parliamentary seats.
Ghana’s election system is set up in a way that the Electoral Commission is the only body with the mandate to declare election results. However, most parties know their stand even before the Electoral Commission declares the winner, as there are confirmations from party representatives at all stages of the counting and collation process.
The countless number of press conferences from the two major political parties in Ghana is just a merely forced political pretence most politicians deploy with a touch of ‘takashie’ and ‘Inshallah’.
When the Electoral Commission announced that it would be announcing the election results at 5 pm on Tuesday, December 8, 2020, the stage was set for political drama and shenanigans despite the presumably unknown results on the side of both parties. A host of press conferences and internal conversations, coupled with a few challenges on the side of the EC, meant the election results declaration had to be put on hold.
With the media gathered at the Accra International Conference Centre, an EC official announced:
“We are sorry for the inconvenience caused. We will communicate with you in due time as soon as the results are ready. We are very sorry for the inconvenience. May God bless us all.”
Ghana’s Election 2020: LIVE updates
The release from the Electoral Commission that followed proved the various political parties had detailed information in a process which they are involved in. Having confirmed receiving 14 results from the Regional Collation Centres with two outstanding, the EC wrote:
“The Commission apologises for its inability to declare the Presidential Results at 5:00 pm as planned. We, however, wish to assure the public that the process of collating results has been transparent, fair and participatory.
“It has involved Political Party Agents at all levels; at the Polling Station, Constituency Collation Centres, Regional Collation Centre’s and the National Collation Centre.
“At the time of issuing the release, two representatives each of the Political Parties including representatives of the NDC are at the Commission, working with the Commission’s staff at the National Collation Centre. The process is going on well.
“We wish to assure the public, contrary to speculations being put out by sections of the public, the process has been seamless and collaborative.
“The Commission will declare the election as soon as it receives results from the remaining two Regional Collation Centres.”
The exchange of press conferences from the former president of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama and the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, plus some other members of the NPP and NDC is just confirmation of a fake oblivion.
For both major political parties, it’s just takashie and inshallah as has been the case for politicians and elections. The general public should be calm and wait on the only body who can declare an election, GHANA’S ELECTORAL COMMISSION.
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