The Electoral Commission (EC) has said its decision to put in place an Electronic Results Transmission System (ERTS) for the 2016 elections was endorsed by the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
In a response to the NPP’s unhappy posture over the EC’s plan to electronically transmit election results, the Commission indicated in a statement, that the NPP at no point challenged the ERTS reform at the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) level.
The NPP’s 2016 Campaign Manager, Peter MacManu, had earlier challenged the Commission’s decision to introduce the ERTS,saying the process fails to address the critical challenges that the reform process sought to overcome.
He further argued that there is no law which gives the EC power to electronically transfer results.
But the statement, which was signed by the EC’s Communications Director, Eric Dzakpasu indicated that “the Electoral Commission only accepted to implement a proposal and decision which was taken by the Committee and collectively accepted by all the political parties at the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) level.”
The statement recalled that Mr. MacManu, who was present at pertinent meetings, “had ample opportunity to raise the issue of the inclusion of the ERTS in the law either at IPAC, or the Legal Committee of IPAC where the law was drafted; or even before the subsidiary legislation committee of Parliament.”
The EC also pointed out that “Mr. MacManu was a member of the Legal Committee of IPAC and was intimately and significantly involved in the drafting of the two important regulations C.I.91 and C.I.94 (which regulate registration of voters and the elections).”
Find below a section of the EC statement
EC CLARIFIES ELECTRONIC RESULTS TRANSMISSION AND CONTRACTUAL PROCESS
As obvious from the above extract from the Committee’s recommendations, the Electoral Commission only accepted to implement a proposal and decision which was taken by the Committee and collectively accepted by all the political parties at the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) level. The Commission holds the view that the basis for the recommendation of the ERTS by the Reform Committee was valid and deepens the integrity and transparency of the election results collation process.
At an IPAC meeting held on 12th June 2015, the Commission adequately briefed the political parties on all the reforms as proposed and subsequently accepted by the Commission. On 18th March, 2016, Mr. Peter MacManu recognized that IPAC was the appropriate forum at which such issues should be discussed and requested the Commission to brief the political parties on the tender process. The Commission is of the view that any concerns regarding the implementation of this proposal, should again be brought to the IPAC, where they were conceived for implementation by the Commission.
The Commission has taken note of Mr. MacManu’s public comments about the agreed results transmission process, especially the legality of the said system. We however wish to point out that Mr. MacManu was a member of the Legal Committee of IPAC and was intimately and significantly involved in the drafting of the two important regulations C.I.91 and C.I.94 (which regulate registration of voters and the elections). Mr. MacManu also appeared before the parliamentary committee for Subsidiary Legislation chaired by Hon. Osei Bonsu Amoah.
The latter is also a regular representative of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) at IPAC. In the view of the Commission, Mr. MacManu had ample opportunity to raise the issue of the inclusion of the ERTS in the law either at IPAC, or the Legal Committee of IPAC where the law was drafted; or even before the subsidiary legislation committee of Parliament. As a matter of fact, the results transmitted through the ERTS would remain provisional and since they do not replace the manual results process captured in the Law, in the view of the EC, the legal Electoral Commission P. O. Box M.214 Accra. committee of IPAC, and IPAC, there was no need to capture the process in the law. Additionally under the new C.I. to regulate elections, all political parties and candidates are entitled to have counting agents present during the counting and collation of results.
The Commission would also want to emphasize that the ERTS does not replace the manual collation process which requires agents of political parties to attest to the accuracy of results before declaration by presiding officers. As explained at IPAC, in the event of a discrepancy between results from the ERTS and the manual results, the manual results would take precedence. This makes it impossible for anyone to attempt to alter declared results in the transmission process.
It is the expectation of the Electoral Commission that all political party representatives on Committees (collectively set up by IPAC) will raise any concerns they may have about any reforms or the electoral process at IPAC to be discussed and addressed collectively.
Signed: ERIC KOFI DZAKPASU Head of Communications