Mahama’s ‘illiterate’ comment was anecdotal, not condemnation – Elvis Afriyie Ankrah

Director of Elections for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Elvis Afriyie Ankrah says former President Mahama’s reasons for the party’s defeat in the 2020 elections have been misconstrued.

Speaking to Joy FM on Friday, he indicated that the 2020 NDC flagbearer never stated that the party deployed illiterates to serve as polling agents which subsequently led to the party’s defeat but rather shared an anecdote.

According to him, former President John Mahama was communicating a review presented to him by regional polling agents on what may have led to the NDC’s defeat and not accusing merely “illiterate” agents.

“I think we have been very unfair of the former President. I think he has been taken out of context. If you listen to his speech carefully, he spoke for 10-15 minutes, and he just made an anecdotal comment that when we went to Ho, in one of the regions, one regional secretary complained that in a particular polling state, the agents were illiterates.

“I don’t think it is fair to jump to the conclusion that he is saying that there were illiterates across board,” he said.

His comments follow an annual conference of the NDC’s Professionals Forum held on Thursday where the former President revealed that information before him showed that some agents deployed were unable to read or write.

“Every region was asked to account for its performance in the 2020 elections. They came with reports and there was one region who stated that ‘some of our party agents were illiterate, they could not read or write.

“So it is obvious that they themselves have started doing a review of what went right or what went wrong. What they did well, leading to a positive outcome and what they could have done better,” he said.

To buttress his point, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah said it is only fair for the party to have an in-depth look at what may have gone wrong.

He also indicated that even if the NDC had won the 2020 general elections, it would still take such initiative to right its wrongs.

“When you are dealing with a human institution, you cannot get 100 per cent but at any given time, you try to improve upon your performance and even if we had won, we would still want to do better in subsequent elections. So it is only proper that we do an introspection. If there were a few places that people who otherwise were not fully qualified went to do that work and they were found to be incapable of, we do it and analyze.

“I think it is not proper, it is not fair, it is unintellectual, not academic to conclude by making that of the past remark, then it means that majority of our agents were illiterates. I don’t think that is what he means and that is not what he said,” he added.