Following the author’s article last week which revealed that the use of “50 percent plus one vote” to determine a presidential winner in Ghana has no legal basis, numerous messages have been received requesting for some guidance on the way forward.
This article seeks to provide the public with a simplified way of understanding and interpreting this critical constitutional mandate. It is intended to project a clear and precise trajectory of recognizing a presidential winner thereby leading to peaceful outcomes. Furthermore, such transparent understanding is aimed at avoiding the dire consequences inherent in the biblical dictum of my people perishing for lack of knowledge.
Reasoning Behind the Invalid Construct
There are many reasons why “50 percent plus one vote” is an invalid construct. The most prominent among these reasons are:
a). that there is no legal mandate to support its use as the Electoral Commission pushed the idea into the public domain without first seeking the essential constitutional amendment to do so.
b). that the two components of the construct cannot be added since they are in two different and non-additive spaces, the natural number space and the percentage space. The addition is only possible after prior conversion from one space to the other.
c). that the constitutional mandate of Article 63 (3) is strictly to convert all valid votes cast into percentage shares of candidates before ascertaining the presidential winner. Any deviation from this constitutional mandate by the introduction of a spurious number “1” in the percentage space is an abrogation of the constitutional mandate ab initio.
d). that once the percentage shares of the candidates are obtained, there is no valid vote or votes left anywhere behind to be added to any of the percentages thereafter,.
e). that the invalid construct will remain a fixed-point entity even after conversion and therefore cannot be used to represent a constitutionally defined interval.
f). that in all cases where the total number of valid votes cast in an election is an odd number, it is impossible for any contesting candidate to obtain exactly 50 per cent of the total valid votes cast thus rendering the 50 per cent component part of the construct inoperative and invalid. This reveals that in half of all elections conducted, the 50 per cent component of the invalid construct cannot even be achieved by any of the contesting presidential candidates.
The author has succinctly demonstrated in Volume One of his Development in Unity series that the invalid construct introduces a bias in the estimation procedure emanating thereof as it fails to satisfy the statistical litmus test of unbiasedness.
Breaking the Constitutional Provision into a Simple Format
The constitutional provision for winning a presidential election in Ghana is stated in article 63 (3) as follows: “A person shall not be elected as President of Ghana unless at the presidential election the number of votes cast in his favour is more than fifty percent of the total number of valid votes cast at the election.”
This means that the winner of a presidential election must get more than 50 percent of the valid votes cast. Let us now break down the phrase “more than 50 percent of the valid votes cast” into six simple sentences, each of which fully represents the constitutional provision, by using the mnemonic MOAB.GH. In the mnemonic,
M stands for “more than”,
O for “over”,
A for “above”,
B for “beyond”,
G for “greater than”, and
H for “higher than”.
The sentences derived from the mnemonic MOAB.GH, each of which perfectly represents the constitutional provision of article 63 (3), are as follows:
1. The winner of a presidential election must get more than 50 percent of the valid votes cast
2. The winner of a presidential election must get over 50 percent of the valid votes cast
3. The winner of a presidential election must get above 50 percent of the valid votes cast
4. The winner of a presidential election must get beyond 50 percent of the valid votes cast
5. The winner of a presidential election must get greater than 50 percent of the valid votes cast
6. The winner of a presidential election must get higher than 50 percent of the valid votes cast.
It may be noticed that each of the above six sentences describes the percentage share of the winning presidential candidate without the introduction of any natural numbers which are inadmissible in the percentage space.
The author humbly appeals to all Ghanaians, especially media practitioners and political party commentators, to adopt one or more of the above six sentences suggested above as perfect representation of the constitutional provision for a winner of a presidential election in Ghana. Let us be with the truth so as to be with the Center where we cannot err.
The author, Daasebre Professor (Emeritus) Oti Boateng is the Omanhene of New Juaben and Chancellor for All Nations University, Koforidua, Ghana