Analysis of last elections in West Africa and their impact on Ghana’s 2024 polls

As a researcher, I have always held the opinion based on analysis of election data from several countries that you cannot steal more than 5% of the total votes in any given election, I call it the Margin of Rigging (MoR).

This hypothesis was based on the fact that the mechanism required to steal 5% of the total votes in any election is very cumbersome, and the human resource complicity needed to steal that percentage of votes makes it the highest threshold of election manipulation.

For example, if your total votes cast in any election is 10 million, your highest allowable margin of rigging is 500,000 granted all the incumbency advantages.

The Nigerian elections early this year and the Liberian elections seem to confirm this hypothesis in a rather gruelling way than I thought.

For example, if you look at the controversy behind the Nigerian elections, amidst all the allegations of brazen rigging, the votes would still have tilted in favour of the opposition PDP if Peter Obi had not split from the PDP.

The evidence is in the aggregation. If you add the votes, Peter Obi (independent split from PDP) had to the votes PDPs official candidate Atiku got, you get almost twice the votes APC Tinubu got to win the elections.

What this means is that without the split of the PDP core votes, no amount of rigging could have saved the incumbent APC from losing the elections.

In Liberia, the first round votes were evidence of the Margin of Rigging hypothesis. In the first round, Weah even lost the popular votes, and the 5% Margin of rigging came to the rescue which pushed the elections to a second round. In the second round, again the margin of rigging nearly came to the rescue, except this time round it was not 50%+1 but a clear majority.

So the over 700,000 votes got by Weah, if you less it by the 5% Margin of Rigging, Weah’s actual votes would be about 650,000.

What this means is that Joseph Boakai in the current circumstances defeated Weah with over 150,000 votes, all things being equal.

In 2024, Ghana would be at the polls, the total expected voters would be about 19 million voters. Turnout would be around 15 million assuming last year’s turnout is held constant. 5% of 15 million is about 750,000 votes.

Based on the MoR hypothesis, this is how much the incumbent NPP can steal, assuming their rigging machinery succeeds per optimum.

In 2020 the NPP won by a little over 6 million votes.

All things being equal, the NDC is expected to win the popular votes plus 5% of the total votes.

For the NPP, all things being equal if elections are held today, Dr. Bawumiah would struggle to make 30% of the votes, assuming they achieve the 5% optimum Margin of Rigging, which would still take them to 35% which would still not be enough to even give them a second round.

This is not to say the NDC should be complacent, this is just to diffuse the popular imagination that some way somehow the NPP can win the 2024 elections with strategy as asserted by some of its leading figures and by strategy they mean rigging.

A structural analysis of electoral numbers in the last 5 election cycle points to the fact that no amount of rigging can save the NPP from going to opposition given the current deficit hole they are in.

This is because the NPP would struggle to achieve the allowable vote Margin which would allow the maximum MoR to have any effect on the outcome of the elections, just as it failed in the case of Liberia.

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