Mr. Edmond Kombat, a third year student of the University of Ghana has been declared president elect of the Student Representative Council (SRC), after pulling 3030 votes, representing 64.40% of the total valid votes cast. This proved to be an emphatic landslide victory for Mr. Kombat, whose closest competitor, Mr. Obed Kumi, pulled 1082 votes representing 24% of valid votes cast. The third candidate in the presidential race, Mr. Alfred Tani Kwami, pulled 593 votes representing 12.60% of valid votes cast.
Mr. Patrick Prah, who ran unopposed for the position of SRC Treasurer, received a resounding endorsement of 92.01% of valid votes cast. The position of SRC Secretary was rather competitive as none of the four candidates, being Miss Mary Asare Addo, Miss Vera Addo, Miss Ahmed Fati and Miss Gloria Appau, secured enough votes in the first round of voting to win the position. The two candidates with the most votes from the first round of voting, Miss Verra Addo and Miss Gloria Appau, faced off in a second round of voting and Miss Gloria Appau emerged victorious with 1622 votes representing 70.03% of the total votes cast.
In many ways, this year’s election was indeed historic. For the first time, in a very long time, the elections came off without incident. There were no allegations of rigging, and the usual propaganda, intemperate language, sectarianism, court injunctions, political party interference, demonstrations and other insufferable ills which have marred SRC elections over the years were absent. Also, refreshingly inconspicuous was the big hand of the university administration which has its fair share of blame in unsuccessful student elections. So with the various antagonists eliminated, the election was conflict free.
The protagonists, Messrs Edmond Kombat, Alfred Tani Kwami and Obed Kumi, were engaged in such a healthy competition that cynics were left to wonder if they were, indeed, adversaries. It was quite encouraging to hear the aspirants on various platforms expressing their willingness to accept the results of the elections irrespective of the outcome. This was especially so in the course of the voting when it became apparent that some aspirants could be disadvantaged as a result of citing of polling stations, yet the aspirants still expressed their commitment to accepting the results.
Some analysts have put the success of this year’s elections down to the fact that it was not really competitive. They claim that right from the onset, Mr. Edmond Kombat stood tall as he was the one with the most visibility among the contenders. They claim his…continued on page 2
involvement in student activism over the years made him a household name in Legon politics and this put him at an advantage as compared to the other aspirants who were relatively unknown before the elections. The fact that he won the election in the first round, with such an unprecedented margin, is indicative of the fact that the election was not competitive enough. They add that the stakes were not as high in previous elections where, in some cases, as many as ten people contested for the position. Some supporters of Mr. Kombat, however, disagree with the assertion that he won the election because the race was not competitive enough. They claim that had there been a thousand competitors, he would still have won the race as he was an outstanding candidate.
As the debates rage on about the competiveness of the SRC elections, it is important to note that the success of the election must also be put on the doorstep of the electoral commission. Legon has a sad history of agonisingly incompetent and corrupt electoral commissioners who have over the years compromised the electoral process. In recent times, mention can be made of one electoral commissioner who went by the alias, Breaker, and he did, indeed, “break” the elections. It was in his tenure that the electoral commission declared the mathematically improbable results of a tie in a presidential run-off. Both candidates were said to have attained an equal 1957 votes each. The student body went without a constitutionally elected SRC president for a good part of that academic year.
Fortunately, this year’s electoral commissioner is no “Breaker.” Mr. Osei Sylvester Kwame is widely recognised as a decent, hardworking, honest, amiable and ambitious gentleman who as electoral commissioner of Legon Hall organised a very successful election which led to his appointment as the substantive electoral commissioner of the SRC. Together with his able deputies, Messrs Frank Aboagye and Botchie Kojo Senyo, they have succeeded in redeeming the image of the electoral commission of the SRC. Mr. Osei Sylvester in an interview with The Legon Star indicated that he wanted this year’s SRC elections to be a model for the rest of the country as Ghana enters the election season.
Mr. Kombat and his vice-president elect Mr. Nii O. Armah will be sworn into office next month. It remains to be seen whether the Kombat administration will be any different from the often disappointing student leadership the university has witnessed. The Legon Star is sure to follow his exploits in the coming months.
Words by Chief Moomen