Former News Editor of the Enquirer newspaper, Raymond Archer says the New Patriotic Party (NPP) can only rig the 2024 elections if the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) allows them to do so.
According to him, election theft in Ghana is based on implicit support from opponents’ agents, especially if agents are inexperienced and untrained.
“Nobody in Ghana can steal an election unless he has the tacit support of his opponents’ agents. So if you go into an election and your agents are not up to scratch – they are not properly vested. They are not properly trained. They don’t know what they are doing… then you can worry about people like Akoto,” he said.
Archer’s comment follows the revelation by Isaac Akoto Darko, a Municipal Electoral Officer for Nandom over the weekend when he was presiding over the NPP primary in the Nandom Constituency that he is an NPP member. In his introductory remarks in a widely shared social media video, Akoto introduced his Returning Officer and two deputies before saying, “My name is Mr. Isaac Akoto Darko, and I am the municipal electoral officer for Nandom.”
“I have enjoyed my stay so far working with all of you and thanks for your cooperation all the time. For a moment, as a referee, when I picked the microphone I was tempted to say kukuruduu but as a referee, you know, I have to play by the rules, so I pretend,” he stated while laughing,” Isaac Akoto, the Municipal Electoral Officer for Nandom said in the viral video.
But speaking in an interview on Radio Gold’s Morning Show today, Monday 29th January, the former News Editor said he is not worried about people like the Nandon election officer, adding that his worry is about NDCs ability to train, educate, and inspire their polling agents.
“I don’t worry about people like Akoto. I worry about political party making sure that they have the right people, properly trained, educated by the party and inspired by the leadership to make sure that your opponent does not have an easy way to steal the election. Get your acts together. Make sure your polling station agents are up to scratch. If you insist on making sure that these things happen, it will be difficult for your opponent to steal the election no matter how bias the referee is,” he pointed out.
According to him, endorsing suspicious pink sheets, late submission of collation reports by agents, coupled with technical difficulties and server downtime can lead to loss.
“If you don’t sign dubious pink sheet and you send your report on time and collation is done on time, nobody can outwit you in an election. But if your agents are struggling with simple mathematics and your server is down in the first one hour, and the EC are throwing wrong figures around and you don’t have your figures to counter that, that’s when you lose an election.
“Focus on ensuring that your system and people are up to scratch. For me, that’s the most important thing. Anything less is what you worry about. Anything more is what you get excited about,” he said.
He has advised the NDC to put together a robust system ahead the 2024 election, arguing that “It is foolhardy to think that all the electoral officers are politically neutral. I don’t believe it; I don’t think that’s the case. All of them pretend because they vote for political parties.”