As the final determination of the outcome of the 2020 election petition lingers on at the Supreme Court after the Petitioner had close his case and the First Respondent refuses to testify, the Lead Counsel for the Petitioner is considering the optioning of subpoenaing the First Respondent, whilst the Second Respondent is also threatening summoning the Petitioner to appear in court to testify.
Information gathered confirmed that the Lead Counsel for the Petitioner is requesting reports from all the constituencies across the sixteen (16) regions from their Party Agents to re-open their case again at the Supreme Court. The question now is why waited till now to start gathering data?
Strategy is described as a pattern of actions and resources (human, logistical, technological etc.) allocations designed to achieve an entity’s intended goal. Planning to win election therefore requires conscious efforts and unflinching dedication of adequate logistics, trained and competent personnel who are abreast with contemporary technological trends to render services that will in lieu to the ultimate goal of a winnable election result.
In parallel to the right strategy is clear understanding of election exercise as a project. In describing a project as a temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product, service, or results, project management can be linked to the five life cycle phases identified as: (1) initiation, (2) planning, (3) execution, (4) monitoring and control, and (5) closure. Therefore, an election is a form of project that requires engagement of skilled, competent and motivated persons with capacity to assemble resources provided to initiate, plan, organize to execute, monitor, control and evaluate, and complete it successfully.
Throughout the period of planning, execution, monitoring and controlling requires routine data gathering, data verification and updating on progress made, whilst addressing anticipated risks and adverse effects with predisposition to negatively impacting on intended outcome or expectation.
In taking a clue from the ongoing election petition at the Supreme Court, what might have been the missing link from both the Petitioner and the First Respondent on valid results? Can one conclude that the Petitioner failed their teeming supporters on the entire election scope management? Could it be that they had a wrong strategy at the highest decision-making level when going into the 2020 elections? Could it be due to poor project management and monitoring and evaluation skills, or poor data quality management and validation skills to ensure effective collation and validation for credible results that could have aided them to mount a strong case at the Apex Court and challenge the results declared by the Electoral Commission?
With forgoing press conferences on a number of occasions by the Petitioner and loyalists alleging that they either won the 2020 election or neither the Petitioner nor the Second Respondent had adequate proportion of the valid votes to warrant a winner, the present state of the 2020 election petition can be likened to the story of ten biblical virgins.
The ten virgins were awaiting the arrival of the bridegroom to be allowed entrance into the wedding ceremony. Whilst they waited for arrival of the bridegroom, five of them ensured they had sufficient oil to keep their lamp glowing, whilst the other five were indifferent. The bridegroom appeared late; and it happened that the other five virgins who paid little attention to the amount of oil they had discovered their lamps were going off and so pleaded with the other five virgins to share their oil with them. The five wise virgins declined to share their oil with them and asked that they go out to the streets and buy. The five virgins rushed to the streets to buy the oil and after their return they discovered that the wedding gate was closed and they were dismissed.
In concluding this article, my humble suggestion to politicians is that they should learn to crown their profession with professionalism. It is time Ghanaian politicians eschew propaganda and regard the importance of professional skills like strategists, project managers, monitoring and evaluation specialists, data quality managers, and data scientists on national elections to improve election results communication.
Again, the Electoral Commission must also learn to improve its election accountability systems by ensuring that qualified officials are assigned to manage election projects in Ghana. Improving the quality standard of election exercises could minimize future election disputes and litigations in our courts when election results are finally declared.
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