Monday, March 31, 2008

Mills finally picks Mahama

The choice was difficult but in our humble view, the 2008 Flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, has made the right choice.

The choice of who would be his running mate for the December 7, 2008 Presidential Elections was between three persons - Mr. John Mahama, Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu and Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni.

Any political party which hopes to win the elections, will have to depend on those who are not their core supporters, these voters are known as floating voters.

To avoid offending the other two candidates, we will proceed to explain the basis of our assertion that of the three leading and well qualified members of the NDC. Mr. Mahama will add relatively more advantages to the NDC ticket.


Available research indicates that on the average, between 4%-5% of the Ghanaian voters base their choice of who to vote for on ethnicity.

There are few political truisms regarding voting patterns of certain ethnic groups, which we may add, is debatable.

In the main, majority of members of the Ashanti ethnic group are inclined to vote for the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Many members of the Ewe ethnic group will, most likely, vote for the NDC.

The vote of the Dagombas, are in the main, split into two. The Andanis will in the main, vote for the NDC and majority of the Abudus, the NPP.


We belong to the school of thought that there are many well-qualified Ghanaian women who can even be presidential candidates, on their levels of competence.

However, there are no records or researches to buttress the claim that Ghanaian women will vote for a presidential ticket because there is a woman on that ticket.

The last time a presidential ticket had a woman on it was in 1992 when the presidential candidate of the National Independent Party (NIP), Mr. Kwabena Darko, picked a woman, Prof. Naa Afarley Sackeyfio, as his running mate. He had less than 4% of valid votes cast.

Attraction to youth
By elections time, December 7, 2008, over 60% of the Ghanaian population would be below 45 years of age and of the three, Mr. Mahama appeals to most of them. We have some data but it is not widespread and thus, will not use it.

One of the perceptions which have affected the ability of Prof. Mills to attract many more floating voters has been that ex-President Jerry Rawlings will have undue influence on him.

Of the three leading candidates, the choice of the ex-President and his wife, Nana Konadu was Mrs. Mould Iddrisu.

The 'die hard' supporters of the Rawlingses will not be too happy that Prof. Mills has chosen someone he feels he can work with, relatively better and in a more congenial manner.

Such Rawlings admirers will have no choice but to vote for a Mills/Mahama ticket because the ex-President will definitely feel more comfortable under an NDC government than an NPP or Convention People's Party (CPP) government.

Source: Daily Dispatch

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Replacement of voters’ ID cards in Cape Coast at a slow pace

The replacement exercise being carried out by the Electoral Commission (EC), to replace lost identity cards which begun last Friday is going on slowly in the Cape Coast metropolis with a call on the Commission to intensify publicity on it because a lot of Ghanaians are not aware of the exercise.

Mr Ahmed Tijani, replacement officer at the Adisadel Mosque centre who spoke to the GNA on Monday, said the centre had received 26 complaints of lost Voter's ID cards since the exercise begun on Friday.

According to Mr Tijani, when people reported of missing cards he subjected them to questioning and educated them that they could be prosecuted if it was found out that their cards were not missing because it would mean double registration.

He said some of the people upon hearing that went back and came to report that they have found their cards.

Mr Tijani said among some of the problems being encountered at the various centres were that of people who wanted to change their names on the ID cards, reporting of missing cards but when probed further it came out that they wanted their new names on their cards but were advised against replacing them since the exercise was for missing cards.

At the AME Zion centre at Aboom, the officer, Mr Francis Kuranchie appealed to the EC to intensify publicity on the exercise since a lot of people were not aware of the exercise, while the few who knew were confusing the exercise with the re-opening of the registration exercise.

He said 13 people had so far reported of their missing cards since last Friday.

At the Kru town and the Urban Clinic Adisadel centres, 38 and 14 people respectively had registered for the replacement of their cards since Friday and two each this morning at about 0740hrs.

Meanwhile, the Regional Director of the EC, Mr Samuel Tettey, has expressed satisfaction about the exercise and said a centre had been selected in each electoral area for the exercise and that Cape Coast has 42 centres in its 42 electoral areas and urged people who had their cards missing to report for it to be replaced.

The exercise ends on Sunday, April 23.

Source: GNA

Political parties confer on transitional processes

Political Parties with representation in Parliament, at the weekend underscored the need for the nation to prepare adequately for future transitions after the conduct of Election 2008 and its transitional process.

Top echelon personalities of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Convention People's Party (CPP) and the People's National Convention (PNC), at a retreat at Atimpoku, near Akosombo, concurred that the parties must agree on a multi-partisan framework, ground rules and regulations to govern and guide such transitions.

Consequently, the parties recommended that the election day of December 7, should be brought forward to November 7 to extend the current four-week transition period to eight weeks to accommodate a possible run-off and the resolution of any election related petitions.


Parliament to lose experienced MPs

As the country prepares for the next general election in December, it is now clear that the next Parliament will miss the services of at least 14 experienced parliamentarians who have publicly declared their intention not to seek re-election.

The number could, however, go up in the event of some of the experienced ones either losing out during their respective party primaries or in the parliamentary elections in December.

Among the 14 experienced parliamentarians not seeking re-election are three National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs who have been in Parliament since 1993.

They are Mr Samuel Sallas-Mensah, Upper West Akim,.Mr Ken Dzirasah, South Tongu, and Mr. Francis Agbotse, Ho West.

From the New Patriotic Party (NPP) side, veteran MPs who will not seek re-election are J. H. Mensah, Sunyani East, Mrs.Gladys Asmah, Takoradi, Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Akyem Oda, Nana, Akufo-Addo, Abuakwa South, Ms Theresa Amerley Tagoe, Ablekuma South, Mr S.K. Boafo, Subin, Mr Kwamena Bartels, Ablekuma North, Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, Offinso North, Dr Kwame Addo-Kufuor, Manhyia, Mr Kwadwo Adjei-Darko, Sunyani West, and Mrs Grace Cole¬man, Effiduase-Asokore.

So far, seven veteran MPs have indicated their intention to continue to be part of the next Parliament and bring their experiences to bear on parliamentary proceedings.

They are Mr Alban Sumani Kingsford Bagbin, NDC MP for Nadowli West, Mr E.T. Mensah, NDC MP for Ningo-Prampram, Mr Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, NPP MP for New Juaben, Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, NDC MP for Avenor-Ave, Mr John Akolgu Tia, NDC MP for Talensi, Mr Ishmael Ashietey, NPP MP for Tema East, and Mr G.K.B. Gbediame, NDC MP for Nkwanta South.

Mr Sallas-Mensah, who has been in Parliament for 15 years, told the Daily Graphic, "I think I have served my people to the best of my ability and it is now time to quit and allow others to come in and pay their due."

He said he took the decision not to contest again soon after the 2004 elections.

"I think enough is enough," he said, adding, “I think I have done my national service. I want to work in another area. It could be within the executive when the NDC comes to power or any other public office or civil organisation."

He thanked his constituents for the trust they had reposed in him all these years, even though he was not an indigene but just a resident of the area.

Ms Tagoe, whose announcement that she would not contest the seat took many by surprise, has been in Parliament since 1997.

The 64-year-old MP said her decision was based on pressure being mounted on her by her children to quit in order to have time to rest after more than 12 years of active politics.

Ms Tagoe also told the Daily Graphic, "I feel , it is now time for me to give a chance to the up-and-coming politicians in the constituency to contribute their quota towards national development."

She said the young ones who had been on the sidelines since the country returned to multi-party democracy should now be encouraged to build on the foundation she had laid over the years.

For the Minister of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment, Mr Adjei-Darko, his decision not to contest the Sunyani West seat he had occupied since 1997 was taken in 2004.

"If I decide to contest the seat during the forthcoming election, I will win outright because my deeds will carry me through," he stated.

But, according to him, he had decided not to contest again because "I consider my tenure in Parliament as a stage. I have played my part and it is important for me to give way for others to come and play their part.”

Mr Adjei-Darko explained that when a person reached his peak it was better for him to realise it and quit before he began to fall.

Unlike his colleagues who had given up their seats, the Minority Chief Whip, Mr Tia, who has been an MP since the country returned to constitutional rule in 1993, has decided to contest the seat for the fifth time.

The MP, who started as a back bencher in 1993, has risen through the NDC leadership in the House to become the Minority Chief Whip. He is one of the few MPs in the House who are going to contest for the fifth time.

In fact, Mr Tia is known among his peers as ''a regional MP" due to his commitment not only to his constituency but also the whole Upper East Region.

He told the Daily Graphic that he did not have a personal drive to contest the seat and that his fifth attempt was a decision from the rank and file of the NDC from his constituency and the national leadership, saying that, according to them, "I have performed well as an MP and there is still more that they will gain from me if I win the seat for the fifth time.”

He said a survey conducted by the NDC executive in the constituency revealed that the people "still need me as their MP".

Secondly, Mr Tia said if parliamentary democracy was to be entrenched, there should be a precedence that people could refer to.

One of the MPs on the NPP side of the House whose skills in debating have won admiration is the MP for Asante Akim North, Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu.

As the current Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, he has been responsible for the presentation and defence of the government's economic and financial policies in the House since 2005.

Already he has won the seat on three consecutive times and is now poised to contest the party's primary to give him the mandate to contest the seat for the fourth time.

Although some members of the party in the constituency are poised to contest the big man, Mr Baah-Wiredu said he was not deterred "because democracy thrives on competition".

He told the Daily Graphic that he still had an unfinished business both for the constituency and the party, and that had informed his wish to contest for the fourth time.

The Minority Leader, Mr Alban Bagbin, who is seeking election for the fifth time, is one of many MPs who are unhappy that many of the experienced sitting MPs are not seeking re-election.

He said for parliamentary democracy to be consolidated and entrenched, "we need pillars not only in terms of institutions but the human resource whose expertise must be tapped for the general good of all."
Mr Bagbin said in a Parliament where there was a high attrition rate, there was barely any institutional growth as the institution kept on re-inventing the wheel.

"It is on that basis, that I call on my colleagues contemplating not to seek re-election to reconsider their decisions and let us continue to serve Mother Ghana," he pleaded.

He said it was an honour to serve one's people and country, for which reason he would for ever be grateful to the people of his constituency and Ghanaians for giving him the opportunity to make a difference in their lives.

The Minority Leader said he entered Parliament in January 1993 with abundant zeal and enthusiasm to make an impact on his constituents in terms of physical and human development.

"By the grace of God I had ample opportunity to serve not just my people in the constituency but the cause of humanity in general. I started as MP in Ghana and now I've been MP in the International Parliamentary Union (IPU) since 2001, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association since 2001 by virtue of my position as Minority Leader, a founder member of the Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC), served with the African Parliamentarian Network Against Corruption, among others," he said.

The MP for South Tongu, Mr Kenneth Dzirasah, also one of the longest serving MPs since the return of constitutional democracy in 1993, said his decision not to seek re-election was based on his determination to give way to young people in the constituency to have a feel of leadership.

Although he subscribed to MPs being in Parliament for long, he said such MPs must give way when age was not on their side and they realised the fact that they could not be leaders in perpetuity.

"For this reason, I decided I will step down for others to come in to contribute their quota in Parliament and the country," he said.

He said he would be available to offer his services to the new Parliament in any position.

For his part, Dr Kwame Addo-Kufuor said although he would not contest the eletions, he would continue to work towards the development of the area and the country as a whole.

He said two people had so far shown interest in contesting his seat on the ticket of the NPP and described the two as intelligent with a strong commitment to the development of the area.

“I expect a peaceful contest in Manhyia and promise to fully support whoever wins to maintain the seat for the NPP," Dr Addo-Kufuor declared.

Source: Daily Graphic

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

EC concedes error on voters’ register

The Electoral Commission (EC) has conceded that there might be an error on the voters’ register that was given to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) by its office.

The NDC has claimed that it has obtained a copy of the voters’ register from the EC which contained a larger number of registered voters in parts of the Ashanti region than what the EC has publicly declared.

The NDC then accused the EC of bloating the register, and called for an enquiry into the matter.

Another political party, the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) has corroborated this claim by the NDC, which it supported with a letter from the EC, indicating the EC has given the party a copy of the voters’ register.

As a result, the EC set up a three-man committee internally, to investigate the matter. The political parties, however, have asked the EC to include them on the committee, a demand the EC has declined, saying it will bring the parties in only when it is necessary.

Speaking to Joy News, Mr. Samuel Yorke Aidoo, Acting Head of Public Affairs at the EC, said, the EC welcomes the interventions of the NDC and GCPP, and added that the EC is making its own internal investigations and it has faith in the committee to do a good job. He also said any issue raised by the parties would be examined and properly addressed.

He said, because the putting together of a voters’ register is a collective affair by the EC which is a human institution, errors could occur just as in any human institution and therefore, he does not think that the matter should be blown out of proportion.

Mr. Yorke Aidoo admitted on the news that there could have been an error, because the EC is susceptible to making mistakes and promised that the internally constituted committee should be able to detect any error, if indeed there were errors and effect the necessary corrections before the voters’ register is opened for revision by May 2008.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

GHANA : Important Elections Dates

New voter Registrations
Thursday May 8 to Saturday May 17 for
Ghanaians who have now reached voting age can register from.

Voter Registrations Exhibition
The Electoral Commission( EC) will also exhibit the voters registers from the 15th to 21st August

Reception of Nominations for Presidential and Parliamentary Candidates
EC will receive nominations on 22nd September.

Special Voting
Special voting takes place on December 3,

Elections Day
The main election takes place on December 7.

Run off
In case there is a need for second run of the presidential race, the EC has set aside 28th December as the day for a run off.

Alleged bloated register is not authentic - Afari-Djan

Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Djan, Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), on Tuesday said the document purported to contain massive increases of eligible voters in Ashanti Region between 2004 and 2006 was not authentic.

"The fact of the matter is that those huge figures being circulated are not authentic and I have given the correct figure to all representatives of the parties," Dr. Afari-Djan told the media after an Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting held in Accra. The meeting convened to discuss the upcoming voter ID card replacement and the replacement of lost voter ID cards and reopening of the voters' register was attended by representatives of all political parties with no journalists in attendance.

Explaining issues discussed at the meeting, Dr Afari-Djan said participants were briefed about EC's programmes for the year and participants sought clarifications.

He said participants expressed concern over the alleged bloated register but the EC produced and gave them the authentic figure of six per cent increase in the Ashanti Region instead of the alleged 113 per cent within the specified years.

The Chairman said he did not know how the wrong document got into the hands of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and who issued that document to them even though he was aware that the NDC had earlier requested for the register.

Asked if the wrong document being circulated had not dented the image of the EC, Dr Afari-Djan responded that the Commission had not done anything wrong.

"The figures we have given them are authentic and any right thinking person would accept that. We, however, will investigate the issue as agreed at the IPAC meeting and find out what went wrong, who gave out CD Rom and punish anyone found culpable."

Mr Peter Mac-Manu, Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, described that document as falsehood which people were peddling about the EC to demoralize and tarnish its image, "so that when the EC announces any election results which are not in their favour, they will (rubbish) it".

He therefore urged the EC to clear its image by making every effort to unravel how that conflicting figure got into the public domain. Mr Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, General Secretary of the NDC said his party got information on the bloated figure from the EC on a CD Rom after writing officially to the Commission.

"But now that EC is saying the content on the CD Rom was not its document, we all agree that an investigation be conducted to ascertain the truth or otherwise," Mr Nketia said.