From August 2010 to October 2012, I wrote a series of memoranda to the Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) [Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo] under the theme The Forest Thinker Series.
These memos offered advice and suggestions on how to go about our campaign but more importantly on how to secure victory when it is achieved.
I will start sharing these essays with members of the NPP and Ghanaians as a whole as my take on the raging debate on The NPP March to 2016.
In reverse order , please find the last memorandum, dated October 23, 2012:
To : Nana Akufo–Addo
Cc: President John Agyekum Kufuor
From: The Forest Thinker
Subject: The Groundtruthing 50% +1 Series: Manifesting the will of the people on Election Day
Date: 23 October 2012
1. It has been reported that in a recent dry run to test the Party’s readiness, only 47 out of 27,000 people responded to the trial text message sent by the team preparing to monitor the results on Election Day. Disappointing and alarming as this outcome is, the more troubling observation was that the reason given by an overwhelming majority of non-respondents was that they had not been sent 50 pesewas to buy units for their phones.
2. There are two very disturbing conclusions to draw here:
A. We have not got the right people on the ground to work for our interests and deliver the all important confirmatory data to the central monitoring centre;
B. We are in danger of having our ground troops completely compromised by our opponents through BIG monetary inducements.
3. The import of the first is simple. The performance and usefulness of the IT machinery we put into place to monitor results on Election Day, is as good as the quality and commitment of the 27,000 people working for us at the polling stations to collect, collate and transmit the input data to the monitoring centre. In the well-worn observation about the value and usefulness of computers, GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT! Alas, so far, we seem to have concentrated on the complexity of the IT infrastructure and the sophistry of the processing technology, forgetting that what really drives everything is the quality and integrity of the “on the ground” operations.
4. The second raises an even more alarming prospect, namely that of our opponents using monetary inducements to get our own GATEKEEPERS INTO THEIR POACHERS by colluding to manipulate the outcome at the polling stations on the day. Unfortunately, we have created a situation where MONEY DRIVES EVERYTHING and nobody is prepared to do anything unless money is provided for them upfront. The spirit of COMMITMENT WITHOUT INDUCEMENT has gone completely out of the window and we are simply not in a position to match the levels of monetary incentives that our opponents can muster to sway our “MONEY HUNGRY” ground troops.
5. We simply cannot allow nor afford to be surprised on election day and must take immediate actions to protect what will undoubtedly be an expression by the people of Ghana of their confidence and belief in us on Election Day. It is our duty and responsibility to manifest the will of the people by ensuring that what they vote for is what is declared as the outcome. The best IT technology will no doubt help.
But the most important driver and guarantor of our success will be the quality, commitment, and integrity of the 30,000 people working for us at all the polling stations and the various cogs in the electoral process on the day.
6.In the 2nd round of the 2000 Elections, we had to create a parallel infrastructure and organization to monitor the process and get the correct results to our PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & ELECTION WATCHERS well ahead of the official ones. So successful was this operation that, we were able to:
A. Prevent any post-declaration manipulation of official results prior to transmittal to the STRONG ROOM at the Electoral Commission;
B. We were able to give the right results of President Kufuor’s win a full 36 hours before the EC formally declared the results.
7. We believe that too many of our ground troops are compromised and cannot be relied on as the sole source for reliable prosecution of our interests on Election Day. However we are also of the view that a complete dissection and unraveling of the existing structure could be very disruptive and counter-productive. It is therefore suggested that we need to create a parallel organization to act as THE MORE RELIABLE CONTROL to the official monitoring system, whilst at the same time taking measures to improve and correct the deficiencies of the OFFICIAL ORGANISATION.
8. We must create an army of ABLE, COMMITTED & UNBRIBEABLE supporters who will be willing to observe the elections at all 27,000 polling stations and other centres on Election Day. The folks must be drawn from PROFESSIONALS, THE YEF, TESCON, FORMER DCES, FORMER POLITICAL OFFICE HOLDERS, AFAG and the whole myriad of people and organizations who are currently offering numerous opinions and commentaries on the Election campaign from the sidelines.
They must be mobilized to get involved and get committed and offer themselves as WILLING AND COMMITTED TO DEMONSTRATE THEIR BELIEF IN THE NPP’S CAUSE BY ROLLING UP THEIR SLEEVES ON ELECTION DAY TO WORK MEANINGFULLY FOR OUR VICTORY.
9. Again in the 2000 Elections, many folks outside of the formal NPP political organization volunteered their time and services to police polling stations on Election Day. Admittedly, that exercise was targeted at a selected number of places. This time round, we need to be everywhere at all times at every activity centre throughout the country on the day.
10. Our Presidential Candidate has led a very imaginative campaign which has clearly given us the pole position to win the December 7 Elections and deliver the promise of the good times again for Ghanaians.
We need to avoid snatching defeat from the jaws of victory on the day simply because we failed to protect our gains by putting our faith in high technology instead of focusing on the people on the ground.