Friday, October 31, 2008

A Platform for Platitudes…?

by Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng,


For nearly three hours, the four presidential candidates representing the four parliamentary parties endured the heat from the TV spotlight and the questioning from the two experienced quizmasters – Prof. Kwame Karikari and Mr. Cyril Acolatse in a "debate" that was more a triumph of the IEA's organisational ability than an illumination of the choices available to Ghanaians on December 7th.


The debate was organised by the Institute for Economic Affairs, IEA, for Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo, NPP; Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, CPP; Prof John Atta Mills, NDC; and Dr Edward Mahama, PNC.


There was no knockout punch, and very little scintillating footwork; to continue with the sports analogy, it was a victory for stolid plodding in a defensive midfield instead of making any dazzling forward runs. The candidates displayed massive staying power, and even appeared to enjoy themselves in the final third of the debate.


Let us get this debate out of the way, was it a debate? There has been protest from some quarters about the use of the word "debate" to describe what happened at the Ghana-India Kofi Annan ICT Centre of Excellence. Their point is that there was very little opportunity for the punch and counter punch that must of necessity define debate in this sedate affair between four reasonable gentlemen.


They have a point, but it misses the context of this encounter (which was the word used by one seasoned commentator). One of the overriding objectives of this debate was to demonstrate to the electorate that there is no rancour and bitterness between the candidates. This is important in the ongoing campaign for peace during and after the elections. A power charged atmosphere in which the candidates tear into one another would not be a responsible spectacle at this point.


Even so, the tranquil encounter probably owed more to unintended consequences than anything else. The physical arrangement of the candidates SEATED in a slightly curved line was a major restraint to excitability; it is also difficult to exhibit excitement while sitting. For example, if the candidates had been standing at separate lecterns facing one another the story could have been different.


The next restraining factor was time. Every candidate was allowed two minutes to answer a main question and 30 minutes for rebuttals. All public performers know that two minutes is a lot of time when you don't know what to say but slips away like a nanosecond when you have a lot to say. With the best will in the world, there is not a lot you can say, when a presidency depends on it, in two minutes.


As a consequence, the candidates resorted to platitudes and banal generalities that shed little light on what they stood for or proposed to do if elected. One had to pity the NPP's Nana Akuffo-Addo who had to defend the current government as well as speak for the future as he intends it for Ghanaians. Quite clearly, the evening belonged to Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom of the CPP, who has liberated himself through a distance from the government in which he served for seven years.


Having seated the candidates in that gentle line from which it was well nigh impossible to raise emotion, there was no way the inquisitors were going to embarrass them with anything but serious but unthreatening questioning. There was no question to Prof Mills about how he would fob off the rumoured post-presidential ambitions of Rawlings to control a Mills presidency; nor a question to Dr Nduom about the Serious Fraud Squad; nor to Nana about rumours of corruption in the government or to Dr. Mahama about allegations of his personal dictatorship.


There were no probes into personal lives and lifestyles. Indeed, the candidates were not even taken through their CVs. In the end we knew no more about the candidates at the end of the debate than we did at the start. However, these restraints did not subtract substantially from what was a very important political and media event and a significant contribution to the forward movement of the country towards its self-declared democratic destiny.

Kufuor’s ultimatum to NDC ends today

President John Kufour's ultimatum to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to substantiate allegations of his indebtedness to a Kuwaiti oil company to the tune of $5 billion ends today October 31, 2008.

The President gave the two-week ultimatum at a press conference which was addressed by his Spokesperson and Press Secretary Andrew Awuni on Tuesday October 16, 2008  at the Castle, Osu.

The NDC had repeated in an official statement, an allegation of the President's indebtedness to a Kuwaiti oil company by a newspaper, the Weekly Standard which is edited by Mr. Victor Smith, the former Special Assistant to former President Rawlings.

The President demanded that the NDC should retract or justify the allegations with evidence as has been printed by their sponsored newspapers and repeated in the party's official position.

But in a reaction, the NDC called the President's bluff and challenged him to go to court, insisting that, the party did not make any allegations against him, but only pointed out scandals about him that the newspaper had published to assist him to clear himself of the allegations.

The NDC through its Propaganda Secretary, Fiifi Kwetey dared the President to go to court.

As the ultimatum ends today, it is yet to be seen if the court action or otherwise would be instituted.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Who won Ghana's Presidential Debate ?

The over 22 per cent floating (undecided) voters in Ghana were last night assisted to make their minds as to whom they would possibly vote for as President on Sunday, December 7.

Four flag bearers of political parties bidding to occupy the new Flagstaff House to lead this nation as head of state and leader of government business squared up in Accra, in a debate designed to give the ordinary voter a fair idea of which of them has the intellectual grasp of issues, the persuasive power to articulate them and the calm composure to think through national problems.

This was the much publicized Debate. It "vas watched by a live audience at the Kofi Annan lCT Centre in Accra and million of television viewers throughout the country.

As the debate wore Oil, it 'was evident that the question that was uppermost on the minds of the people was who will win?

With Prof. Kwame Karikari, an associate professor of he School of Communications Studies and veteran journalist, Cyril Acolatse, filing the salvos, all four contenders - Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, of the New Patriotic Party, Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, convention's People's Party, Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills, the National Democratic Congress, and the People's National Convention's Dr. Edward Mahama- were each conscious of the expectation of the people, mostly their supporters, but more critically, the floating voters, the majority of whom are in the intellectual bracket.

Speaker after speaker tried to outdo the other with impressive oratory, charismatic exuberance, combativeness and a style that could be described as laid back. People in the streets thought Nana Addo was not audible at first, but he warmed himself into the picture later, especially if he was not the first to answer the set of questions.

Paa Kwesi Nduom flowed with oratory, and seemed to have won some hearts with his huge presence accentuated by the colourful kente and white jumper.

People thought Prof Atta-Mills was initially "too combative," but he later joined the flow. Ever the teacher, he relied on the classroom skills to ram home his points in a manner which some people felt was methodical.

Dr Edward Mahama relied on his travelling experience to buttress most of his arguments which bordered on a concern for social welfare.

However most people we talked to thought that Dr Mahama of last night was not the same Dr Mahama who shone with oratorical brilliance four years ago. They felt he was overly cautious.

The issues themselves were well fielded. The atmosphere this year was a much improved one. With the audience banned from applauding or openly displaying partisan colour, the auditorium was peaceful enough to allow everybody the chance to hear the debaters.

Apparently all the debaters had prepared sufficiently well to field questions on the discovery of oil. Their answers were well thought out.

Nana Akufo-Addo set the tone with the announcement that Government is planning to set up a Ghana National Petroleum Authority as a regulatory body to bring sanity into the oil exploratory industry while the Ghana National Petroleum Company would continue with its traditional role of spear-heading the drive to maximize income from the new find.

He said a Government headed by Akufo-Addo would employ education as a major tool to get people off the street while modernizing agriculture to make it attractive to all manner of people.

He spoke of equipping Kayayei and the boys on the street with skills through distance education and other innovative educational means to make them employable.

Nana Akufo-Addo said as a result of sound economic and agricultural policies of the New Patriotic Party Administration, Ghana has been able to withstand the global financial turmoil and insulated the nation against food crisis in Africa and other natiOl1s throughout the world.

Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom borrowed a leaf from the domestication drive of octogenarian Dan Lartey stating that under his administration, Ghana would feed itself from local inputs. He never missed the chance to remind Ghanaians of his antecedents in the First Republic.

"We will use state purchasing power to purchase made in Ghana goods," he said, promising to bring back the jute factory in Kumasi to produce sacks for the cocoa industry.

He said oil wealth should inure to the benefit of Ghanaians. "If this oil is no going to benefit Ghanaians then it should remain in the ground. I will have to make sure that what has happened in the Niger Delta does not happen here," he told his interrogators.

He promised to set up petro-chemical industries in the areas where oil has been and would be found in future.

Prof. Atta-Mills said his administration would motivate local Ghanaian entrepreneurs to help industrialize the country.

"It is good to have foreign direct investment but it should complement the efforts of Ghanaians.

Let us look at the private sector," he said.

He promised to revive industry, the manufacturing sector, especially, and modernise agriculture.

"When you talk of jobs, you've to talk about how the workers would acquire skills. We have only 40 per cent of JSS graduates continuing their education," he charged.

The National Democratic Congress Presidential Candidate said all aspects of agriculture, particularly poultry and fishing, were in distress with the economy recording negative growth.

Dr. Edward Mahama promised a transparent administration. "Every contract must be scrutinized. It is important for Ghanaians to know what happens to oil generally and the revenue accruing from it.

Like Dr Nduom, the PNC leader also promised a petro-chemical industry in oil-endowed societies.

The programme was put together by the Institute of Economic Affairs which is also funding a second debate in Tamale next week.

So the question: Who won this debate? It was obvious from our survey that even on this question; the population was divided on party lines. The winner, however, turned out to be the over 22 per cent floating (undecided) voters.

Watch out for more extensive coverage of the debate in tomorrow's paper.

Source:Ghanaian Times via

Where will the violence come from?

Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng


Last Sunday as we prayed in church one more time for peaceful elections I sensed that there was a more desperate edge to this supplication than you would find in a routine Presbyterian intercession. It is not that our intercessory prayers are not passionate or sincere; just that we are Presbyterians and don't shout much. But once the prayers are for "peaceful elections" people let it rip.


Even the children in our church devoted their Education Week drama sketch to peaceful election in which one child asked plaintively whether there will be another country for Ghanaian children to move to if we destroy this one through political violence. All over Ghana, people are praying in churches and mosques for peaceful elections; musicians are putting out new music about peaceful elections while NGOs up and down the country are mobilising for peaceful elections.


All this frenetic activity on behalf of peace would suggest that this country was in the grip of a particularly malicious streak of a violent virus about to break out on December 7 against which all national resources must be mobilised. I have travelled a bit in the country this year but it is not my impression that we are in mortal danger of being swamped under a wave of political violence. Indeed, even during this campaign, one hardly gets the feeling that people are as passionate about politics as should be the case this close to elections.


The strange thing is that at the same time that all the politicians are declaring peaceful intentions, there is a running undercurrent of fear just beneath the surface of the tranquil political terrain. Sometimes one gets the impression that this collective pumping up of blood pressure has resulted in a schizoid attitude towards elections: yes, we like democracy but wish we could have it without elections. At best, most people probably see elections as a necessary nuisance to be endured.


The question is why Ghana's (mostly) peaceful people have to endure such fear when there appears to be almost no grounds for such pessimism. I discern that there are three main sources of the apprehension. The first is the structure of our politics. Unlike other countries where an official campaign period is declared and respected, Ghana's political season is unrelentingly 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. This current campaign started the day after the last election in December 2004.


With no end in sight, a perpetual campaign becomes a plaything to the most extreme elements in every party, and with a lot of time to kill but no structures to contain their activities the extremists resort to insults, calumny, threats and downright lies just to keep the show on the road.


This brings us to the second source: This perpetual politicking is oiled by the role of the media in general but radio stations in particular which have contributed to the sense of unease because they too have to fill the endless hours with political talk coming from the same extremists who are most likely to spend hours calling from station to station. The other day I listened to an Accra radio station as it indulged in an orgy of the most extreme examples of hate speech and incitement to violence. The moderator moderated nothing but grunted her approval as caller after caller heaped opprobrium on the heads of their political opponents.


But radio is not the only media culprit. Newspapers are also doing their best to frighten Ghanaians into submission. I cancelled my subscription to a newspaper last week after yet another violent and misleading headline. The brutal assault of partisan political noises on all our senses from radio finds its echoes in the political free-for-all that has been declared by a number of political tracts masquerading as newspapers. Sadly, as the political ante is upped this journalistic aberration has become a trend.


The next source of the generalised fear is the recent history of post-election violence in other African countries, especially in Kenya and Zimbabwe. There is a general suspicion that rewarding probable losers with power sharing has created a template for election losers to use violence as a means of staying in power or getting a share of it.


This is a legitimate fear but it is probably misplaced because Ghana is not Kenya or Zimbabwe. Kenya's ethnicised politics had cast a long shadow over the country's political development since independence, and this was the basis of the post-election violence that erupted in December last year. Zimbabwe is a special case and nothing in Ghana's recent history remotely suggests a parallel with our situation.


None of this is meant to suggest that we should indulge in complacent self-congratulation. That would be a mistake because sadly we have to accept that we cannot rule out possible violence during or after the election. This is because despite the professions of peace by party leaders there is that hardcore extremist element that would exploit any situation to create chaos.


The real danger is that the drip-drip of loose political talk can coalesce into the makings of a "programme of action" for that tiny minority waiting for a call to arms. The other danger is from the politicians who are going round alleging that the election will be rigged without providing any evidence of how this is going to happen. It has almost become standard practice for election losers to allege electoral fraud after elections but to allege the same BEFORE an election presents us with a unique situation.


The allegation of possible rigging and violence is not doing this country any favours. A friend of mine who works for a multinational company says that all further foreign investments have been put on hold because some people are briefing foreign government that the coming elections cannot be free and fair and can lead to trouble.


 Those alleging electoral fraud before the election have a duty to provide the evidence so that for once in an African election the fixers and riggers can be nabbed before they strike. If, on the other hand, there is no evidence then those alleging the rigging are merely putting the country in harm's way without any good reason.


There are reasons for us all to continue to press the case for peace but we should not fall into the trap of a hopeless pessimism and despondent negativism. But the government has a responsibility to address the question of possible post-election violence head-on by specifying the flash points so that the Ghanaians understand the nature of threat and how to deal with it.


These flash points are the areas where pre-existing tensions can be used to ignite fresh trouble which otherwise would have no intrinsic political connections. This is the best way to isolate the tiny band of political extremist who might have an agenda that runs contrary to the prayers that most Ghanaians have been offering since the last elections.

source :

Presidential Debate Key Issues

Skill training means to provide jobs - Mills

Akufo-Addo to build upon foundation by Kufuor

Mahama blames mob justice

Nduom gives condition for production of oil

 Professor John Evans Atta Mills, Presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), on Wednesday said he would equip the youth with employable skills to enable them to find jobs when elected President of Ghana.

He said many of the youth were finding it difficult to get jobs after school because they did not possess the requisite skills that would enable them to get employment.

Prof Mills was answering a question on how his administration would create job opportunities for the unemployed at a presidential debate organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs in Accra.

The debate brought together the candidates of the four political parties with representation in Parliament to address issues of common concerns including job creation; the management of anticipated oil revenue; women's and children's rights; provision of adequate electricity and the fast-tracking the implementation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Protocols.

Prof Mills said his administration would accelerate growth in the agriculture sector to generate employment for the people. He said the fact that 60 per cent of the population was engaged in the sector made it imperative for any government to address the needs of the sector.

In this direction, an NDC Government would implement policies such as the provision subsidies; reduction of post-harvest losses and the institution of a buffer stock management system as a means of providing ready market for produce and thereby encourage farmers to produce more and entice others to the sector.

There would also be linkages between agricultural production and industry to allow for the processing of the produce. Prof Mills identified the major challenges facing the country's industries to include high cost of production; low skill levels in the workforce and the dumping of cheap and inferior goods Ghanaian markets and said these would be addressed to enable the private sector to create jobs and employment.

Touching on the oil discovery, he said, it was necessary that the country learnt from the experiences of other countries where instead of being a blessing to the economy, oil had turned to engender violent conflicts.

Prof Mills said his administration would ensure that the country received a fair share of the oil revenue and pledged to make provision for the present and future generations through the use of part of the monies to shore up the economy.

In this connection, he said, an independent authority, a body that would monitor the operations in the oil sector would be established to keep Ghanaians abreast of the operations of the industry. On Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Prof Mills said such investments must not be at the expense of local initiatives to grow the economy, saying that they were welcomed as long as it would help to supplement efforts of local entrepreneurs.

Prof Mills said the NDC Government would put into operation the Osagyefo Electricity Generating Barge, build minor hydroelectric dams on Pra and Ankobra Rivers and exploit wind and solar energy to augment the present electricity generating capacity of the country. He said he would work to gain the confidence of Presidents of neighbouring countries in order to facilitate the integration of West African States.

His Eminence, Peter Cardinal Appiah Turkson, Chairman of the IEA Presidential Debates Committee, said democracy was truly exercised when the electorate was knowledgeable and informed about the options before it.

The IEA, he said, had initiated the process to enable aspirants to debate on common issues of concern to all Ghanaians and to answer questions from the electorate.

Akufo-Addo to build upon foundation laid by President Kufuor

Accra, Oct. 29, GNA - Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Presidential Candidate of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) on Wednesday pledged his commitment to build upon the economic foundation laid by President John Agyekum Kufuor over the past eight years.

He said: "The party inherited a battered economy in 2001, but through the prudent management of the economy by the NPP Government under President Kufuor, Ghana's economy is now on a solid foundation." Nana Akufo-Addo was answering questions at the first of two Presidential Debates organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in Accra.

The debate was among the Presidential candidates of parties with representation in Parliament- NPP; National Democratic Congress (NDC); People's National Convention (PNC) and Convention People's Party (CPP). The questions focused mainly on the economy; social; security; pension schemes; the oil industry; infrastructure development; education and job creation.

The NPP Presidential Candidate used the platform to defend the eight year rule of the Party and spelt out his blueprint to move the nation forward as contained in the Party's 2008 Manifesto; "Moving Ghana Forward: Building A Modern Ghana."

He said President Kufour's Government had brought back the dignity of the Presidency and made Ghana an internationally recognised good-governance regime, which has enlarged the freedoms of the individual citizen, and institutions.

On promoting gender equality, the NPP Presidential Candidate said his administration would drastically reduce maternal and infant mortality by improving quality of and access to ante-and post natal care; address the issue of child mortality, morbidity and malnutrition. He would ensure that social security arrangements were set up in the formal and informal sectors in the rural and urban areas to cover all workingwomen and men.

Nana Akufo-Addo said he would introduce micro-financing schemes to help to improve the economic position of women, continue with the free maternal health care, and create enabling environment for accelerated growth.

He said the discovery of oil and gas in Ghana was the result of prudent management of the economy, "my administration will implement national oil policy with the aim of maximising benefits to the local people in the Western Region.

"Institute measures for transparent management of oil revenue, use oil as an instrument of national development through specific identified projects and develop liquefied natural gas as a complement to government's efforts in the West African Gas Pipeline Project." On national security, Nana Akufo-Addo said his Government would establish relationship with international community to combat crime and increase the manpower capacity of the Police Service.

He also responded to questions on NPP's policy on education; health; infrastructure development; bilateral trade; foreign direct investment; energy, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and relationship with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Mrs Jean Mensa, IEA Administrator, said the debate provided the four leading Presidential candidates an opportunity to dialogue and discuss their vision, policies and programmes on the same platform. Meanwhile organisers of the programme seemed not to appreciate that journalists relied to a large extent on the body language of newsmakers in crafting their stories, and consigned them to an adjacent room with a projector television screen, and thus compelling them to pick the news from the perspective of a cameraman.

Mahama blames mob justice on failure of criminal justice system

Accra, Oct. 30 GNA - Dr Edward Mahama, Presidential Candidate of People's National Convention (PNC), on Wednesday said he would ensure justice for all under his presidency, blaming the lynching of suspects on the failure of the criminal justice system. He pledged that under his presidency justice to all would be a cardinal principle.

Dr Mahama made the remark in answer to a question about national security, law and order during the first round of two scheduled presidential debates organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs. The debates featured the four Presidential Candidates of parties with representation in Parliament.

Other candidates in the debate were Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of New Patriotic Party (NPP); Professor John Evans Ata Mills of National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom of the Convention People's Party (CPP).

Dr Mahama, who spotted white smock on top of a black pair of trousers, his usual cap and a muffler in party colours, was the fourth in the sitting arrangement.

He noted that the search for peace in Ghana could be an effort in futility if justice was not upheld. "A CPP chairman was killed sometime back and people were arrested and let go - till date justice has not been done and that could be a possible source of mob action," he said.

He also noted that in northern Ghana, the interference of politicians in chieftaincy matters had been a major source of the conflicts in parts of that area, saying that under PNC Government the politicians would keep off chieftaincy issues and allow chiefs to deal with such matters.

"Under my Government the police will deal with crime and chiefs will deal with chieftaincy issues," he said. Dr Mahama also promised to ensure judicial independence by improving the judicial system to enable it to provide justice without influences from politicians.

"The days when senior politicians protect junior politicians from the long arms of the law would be over under a PNC government," he said. On energy, Dr Mahama promised to explore wind, solar, bio-fuel and nuclear energy sources to augment the hydro and thermal energy in the country, adding that even the two existing sources would be improved substantially.

He also promised to improve the management of energy and cut down the wastage in the system to ensure that production cost also reduced substantially to make energy affordable to citizens. Dr Mahama said under a PNC Government petrol chemical industries would be established in the Western Region to process some of the oil discovered for local consumption.

"We will also build a university in the Western Region with a particular focus on training people in oil management to man the petrol chemical industry.

"We will also ensure transparency of contracts with the overseas explorers through a Parliamentary scrutiny process to ensure that the public knows the quantity of oil going out and how much revenue is coming in," he said.

He said PNC Government would create an effective link between the petrol chemical industry and agro-industries to ensure that the food production sector got enough oil and other by-products to increase production for the benefit of the masses.

"Through that linkage we are sure to create at least 100,000 jobs in the first year of our coming into government," he said. Touching on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Dr Mahama said he would not go round begging for investors to come into the country, but rather focus on helping local investors and innovators to improve their production and thereby attract foreign investor to partner with them. He cited the Rev. Safo Kantanka, Head of the Kristo Asafo Mission, who uses reverse engineering to manufacture cars and other mechanical equipment, saying that a PNC government would support such initiatives. Dr Mahama deplored the existence of borders and roadblocks on trade routes within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and promised that if voted president, he would use his good relations with other Heads of State and government in the Sub-Region to remove the roadblocks to allow trade to flourish.

He said his Government would ensure food security by creating market at the farm gates; improving irrigation systems through rainwater harvesting and providing functional storage and food preservations systems.

"We would go back to Operation Feed Yourself but in a modified form," he said.

On quality education and social security, Dr Mahama said he would focus on improving the lot of teachers and revamping the salary system in the country to ensure that pension money was calculated on a larger basic salary than what it was now.

"That way we would encourage more people into the teaching profession to fill in the huge gap which is adversely affecting quality education in the country," he said.

Dr Mahama noted that some of the investment made by SSNIT with pensioners' fund were low yielding and that had led to low pension payment to retired workers, saying that a PNC Government would re-look at some of those investment and ensure that the interest of the masses were upheld in that regard.

He said the PNC would overhaul the public health system to for instance prevent maternal mortality, which now stood at 50 per 1,000 mothers.

Dr Mahama used his concluding statement to call on Ghanaians to choose between the road that led to destruction and violence and that which led to prosperity and progress and promised a leadership of honesty and sincerity saying that under his leadership there would be real change and real hope for the people.

"I will provide leadership by example - leadership that does what it tells others to do - people centred leadership," he said. In all, there were eleven major questions, which focused on job creation; education; health; security; law and order; oil revenue; energy; women and children's rights; foreign direct investment; food security and intra-regional trade.

There were four rounds of four questions each. For the first two rounds each candidate had three minutes to answer a major questions and a minute for rebuttal, which was optional. Two minutes was allotted for major questions in the third and fourth rounds and each was given an extra two minutes to make concluding remarks.

The moderators were Mr. Cyril Akolatse, a veteran broadcaster and Prof. Kwame Karikari, Associate Professor of the School of Communications Studies, University of Ghana.

Dr Nduom gives condition for production of oil in Ghana

Accra, Oct. 29, GNA - "If the oil is not going to benefit Ghanaians then it must stay under the ground," Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, Presidential Candidate of the Convention People's Party (CPP) said at the first Election 2008 Presidential Debate.

He said, "CPP led government will ensure that revenue generated from the oil industry benefits Ghanaians, especially communities who will be affected by the oil exploitation in the Western Region".

Citing experiences in the solid mineral sector, where most communities in which the mines were allocated did not benefit from the gold, diamond and manganese deposits, Dr Nduom said the oil resources must be used for the benefit of the people.

The debates featured the four Presidential Candidates with representation in Parliament; Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP); Professor John Evans Atta Mills of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Dr Edward Nasigrie Mahama of the People's National Convention (PNC).

Dr Nduom said for the country to be saved from the experiences of what was happening in Niger Delta of Nigeria, communities around such resources would be rebuilt.

The CPP Presidential Candidate said petrol chemical industries would be set up to provide the people in the community employment and direct benefit from the resource.

He said a CPP led Government through Parliament would enact a law to prevent the Executive from taking decisions on how the oil revenue was used. On security and crime he called for a proper identification system of properties and people to allow for easy tracking of criminals. In addition the Attorney General's Office would be separated from Ministry of Justice to ensure quick prosecution of criminal cases. Dr Nduom also pledged to use the State's purchasing power to buy what was produced locally to boost demand and create market for people. Commenting on the NPP Government slogan 'private sector as the engine of growth of the economy' Dr Nduom said an engine alone could not move so a CPP led Government would provide the engine with a body, fix tyres and provide a competent driver.

He said his administration would pursue local investment and not foreign direct investment, saying as President he would go round the country to find out what the needs of businesses were and provide for those needs.

Dr Nduom stressed the need for agricultural subsidies, saying they would help farmers and fishermen to produce sufficient food to bring about food security.

In all, there were eleven major questions, which focused on job creation, education, health, security, law and order, oil revenue, energy, women and children's rights, foreign direct investment, food security and intra-regional trade.

There were four rounds of four questions each. For the first two rounds each candidate had three minutes to answer a major questions and a minute for rebuttal, which was optional.

Two minutes was allotted for major questions in the third and fourth rounds and each was given an extra two minutes to make concluding remarks.

source : GNA via

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ghana Elections - A View From The Outside -One Week To The US Elections

By Karen Attiah

Its one week to the US elections, and the world is waiting with baited breath as Americans both home and abroad cast their votes for the next leader of the United States. I myself as an expatriate sent in my ballot last week. As a foreigner in Ghana, I find it amazing that so many people watch the U.S. elections so closely. I stayed up for each and every debate, and more times than not, other Ghanaians watched as well. I can find Obama bumper stickers and T-Shirts here. MTN, one of the mobile phone carriers and Joy FM have created a text message subscription service that offers customers US election news for just one Ghana Cedi. I signed up and told my other friends about it as well.

But with one week to go until one of the biggest elections in recent global history, all I can say is that Americans on both sides of the political divide are nervously biting their nails. An article from MSNBC describes this wide spread what I would call "Pre-Election Syndrome", evidenced by symptoms of loss of sleep, addiction to television and internet updates on poll numbers, and a penchant for getting into heated political debates with all those who come within three feet.  ( See Lets face it, Americans feel deeply invested in this election. As the article states, "elections generate so much stress because we [Americans] vote out of a very, very core place in our has to do with their existential view of how the world works and the fear is that a candidate who shares a different worldview is rattling." To many people, they cannot even imagine what the world would look like if their preferred presidential candidate happened not to win. A loss for their preferred candidate, in a winner take all situation, resembles a life-or-death type of game.

I know I exhibit some of the symptoms of Pre Election Syndrome.

But what about Ghana? What are the symptoms of Pre Election syndrome in Ghana? Is it evidenced by higher sales of political newspapers? Higher listenership to radio stations? Are citizens with access to television finding themselves glued to it? Are political discussions around the dinner table more heated? As most of us know, an unfortunate symptom of Pre-Election Syndrome here is the potential for violent confrontations between party supporters at rallies. Regrettably, within the past week, there have been several instances of clashes between the NPP and the NDC parties. Additionally, PES comes with extra political sensationalism in the media, rumor-mongering, heated rhetoric from candidates, and loud arguments over the radio airwaves between party leaders. All of these factors help to raise the temperature of the nation as a whole.

But as an outsider, what I fail to understand in Ghana is where the heat is coming from. Sure, the Ghana elections are a "first past the post" 50+1 contest as I understand it. But in terms of ideologies, I wish someone could tell me what fundamentally distinguishes the NPP from the NDC, the two major players in the race. For instance, Republicans in the United States are known to ideologically favor small government regulation in individual affairs, while Democrats favor funding large government projects and regulation. Im speaking broadly here, but on social issues, Republicans tend to be socially conservative, with objections to gay marriage, and abortion, while Democrats favor inclusiveness concerning marriage and civil unions, and supporting a woman's right to choose. But in the Case of the NPP and NDC, what are the basic differences between the parties, besides the personalities? I would welcome comments.

As for my vote........Obama/Biden 2008!!!

Credit :  African

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

CPP promises to revamp fishing industry

A government under the Convention Peoples' Party (CPP) will adopt
pragmatic policies and programme to revamp the fishing industry to
make it profitable to fishermen and fishmongers.

Some of the policies would be the offering of assistance in the form
of micro credits to fishermen to acquire fishing trawlers to fish in
deep sea.

The government would also establish cold stores and fishing harbours
in some fishing communities to ensure safe landing and storage of fish
to avoid post-harvest lost.

Mrs Yvonne Nduom, wife of the Convention Peoples Party Presidential
Candidate, Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom said these in a message she delivered on
behalf of her husband when she interacted with fishmongers and market
women in Winneba.

She told the fishermen that a CPP-led government will ensure that
fishermen handle pre-mix fuel themselves in order to boost their
fishing activities.

Mrs Nduom said that 68 factories established by Dr Kwame Nkrumah
throughout the country that had been abandoned will be revived to
generate more employment for the people.

Mrs Nduom said the political lives of women will be improved and that
five women will be appointed as Regional Ministers while half of
Municipal and district chief executives would be women.

She said free education will be provided for children from
Kindergarten to children of 19 years.

Earlier, Mrs. Nduom paid a courtesy called on the Queen mother of Kojo
Bedu, a suburb of Winneba, Nana Bondzie Asiako II.

Nana Asiako 11 petitioned Mrs Nduom to ensure that education, youth
employment and the fishing industry will be tackled when the CPP
assumes the reigns of government.

Source: GNA

Monday, October 27, 2008

"Our research shows we'll win the December elections" - NPP

Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, National Campaign Director of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has stated that research conducted by the party's campaign team had shown that the party would win the December polls.He said reports received from the team and despatched to all the ten regions, indicated that Ghanaians were ready to vote massively for the NPP.Dr Apraku said this to news men last Friday at Agona Swedru after he addressed a two-day meeting organised by the Central Regional Campaign Team for Parliamentarians, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives, Constituency Chairmen and supporters.He pointed out that the research team had gone to the three northern regions, Central, Brong Ahafo, Ashanti, Eastern, Western and Greater Accra regions to assess the fortunes of the party. The Campaign Director acknowledged the fact that there were pocket of problems in some constituencies, but he said steps were being taken by the party to address them and further enhance the NPP's chance. According to him, even though Nana Akufo-Addo was leading as the research showed, few parliamentary candidates of the party had problems. He said NPP under President John .A. Kufuor had done well and cited the Capitation Grant, which made basic education free, National Health Insurance Scheme, School Feeding Programme, Micro Finance for small scale businesses and roads construction as some of the good works. Dr Apraku for the 19 years of National Democratic Congress (NDC) rule, schools, roads, health facilities and poverty still plagued the three northern regions and noted that Nana Akufo-Addo would bridge the gap between the north and the south when given the nod to become president.He said Ghanaians would not vote for a party, which spoke violence and chaos, but rather would go for a party that preached peace and development.He said there were clear indications that Ghanaians would vote for the party, which could tackle the world economic recession adding, "The NPP government won't sit down for the global economic crisis to overwhelm the nation."Dr Apraku said an NPP government would create enabling environment for investors and solved the housing problem facing the nation.

source :gna powered by

EC briefs media on electoral process

The Electoral Commission (EC) has appealed to the media to report accurately on issues concerning the December election to enable voters make informed decision.

     Mr David Adeenze Kangah, Deputy Chairman in Charge of Finance and Administration, stated at three-day workshop on the electoral process for media practitioners at Koforidua that it was a collective responsibility of all and not the sole responsibility of the EC to ensure that the electoral process is free, fair and transparent.

     The workshop on the theme; "Responsible Reportage, Key to Credible and Peaceful Elections" was organised by the EC in collaboration with the UNDP for journalists.

     Mr Kangah said any unfair representation of electioneering issues would not make for free and fair elections and would not give the electorate the opportunity to make informed decisions.

     He said the EC facilitated the electoral process by ensuring all materials needed for the election are provided to enable every eligible voter to vote and urged the media to help to educate people on the process. 

     He said the EC is training agents of political party candidates to observe the election as a means of assisting those who could not afford to train their own agents.

     Answering questions from the media Mr Kangah said nobody could manipulate the EC to twist the electoral laws.

     He said the presiding officers and party candidate agents are always present to check any malpractices during elections and have the power to sanction offenders when the need arise.

     Mr Kangah said the inbuilt checks in the election process would make it impossible for anybody to manipulate the conduct and outcome of the December polls.

     He said: "even if the Chairman of a political party is made Chairman of the EC there is no way he can favour his party."
     He said though it is not the job of the EC to train polling agents for the political parties it decided to do so in order to make such agents knowledgeable about the election processes and to help them overcome their timidity.

    Mr Kangah advised journalists and others who would be on duty at polling stations to get accreditation from the EC to avoid being thrown out by the presiding officers.

     Mr Albert Kofi Arhin, EC Director in Charge of Elections, appealed to journalists to be careful about their choice of words when reporting on the election, making sure that their reports reflected the real situation on the ground and not based on assumptions.

    He conceded that it was possible that some of the temporary staff recruited for the elections might not be of the right calibre but gave the assurance that officers found wanting would be removed.

     He said in all large-scale recruitment exercises, it is difficult to vouch for the integrity of everybody, especially in a situation where some of the recruiting officers might follow the trend in Ghana to favour relatives.

    About 50 journalists from the Ghana News Agency, print and electronic media attended the three-day workshop.

Source: GNA

Special Voting kicks off

The Electoral Commission (EC) has initiated arrangement for members of the Ghana Armed Forces, Police, Prisons, Prisons and Customs, Excise and Preventive Services, journalists, EC officials and staff of essential services to cast their ballots. Mr Christian Owusu-Parry, Acting Director of Public Affairs, said this at the weekend at a three-day workshop for journalists. The workshop was on the theme; "Responsible Reportage, Key to Credible and Peaceful Elections" was organised by the EC in collaboration with the UNDP.

He said special polling stations have been mapped out by the EC for the exercise and voting would start at 0700 hours as has been the practice, the ballot boxes for the Special Voting would be sealed and counted after the December 07 election.

Candidates contesting the presidential election are New Patriotic Party's, (NPP) Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, National Democratic Congress' (NDC), Professor John Evans Atta Mills, Convention People's Party's (CPP), Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom; and Peoples National Convention's (PNC), Dr. Edward Nasigrie Mahama.

Others are Democratic Freedom Party's (DFP), Emmanuel Ansah-Antwi, Democratic Peoples Party's (DPP), Mr Thomas Ward Brew, Mr Kwamena Adjei of the Reformed Patriotic Democrats and Mr Kwesi Amoafo-Yeboah, an independent candidate.

The nomination papers of the New Vision Party (NVP), Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) and an Independent candidate, Mr Richard Nixon Tetteh were rejected for falsification of documents. Mr Charles O. Addei, EC Director in Charge of Training, called for collaboration between EC and its stakeholders to ensure free, fair and transparent elections.

He appealed to politicians, the media and party activists to focus on issues rather than personalities in the campaign. "Issue-centred politicking reduces the danger of character assassination, personality attack and creates the conducive environment for healthy campaigning," Mr Addei.

Source : GNA

Friday, October 24, 2008

Piesie - Spinning the Numbers(Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng Elections' Diary)

Our space visitor could also have concluded that the ballot indicated the actual finish place of the election, if he was to go by the broadest smiles which were worn by NPP supporters as they savoured their position at the top of the ballot paper for the December 7 election.

This would appear strange and arcane to non-Ghanaians and others who take bits of the democratic process for granted. It would not matter much where a candidate was placed on the ballot paper; after all every party has a symbol and every candidate has a name, but apparently where a candidate or party is placed on the ballot is deemed to be imbued with mystical meaning and foreboding.

There was drama galore as representatives of all seven political parties in the presidential and parliamentary race gathered for the ballot on Tuesday morning. The idea was for the political parties to ballot for places on the ballot paper and for the presidential candidates, including the lone independent candidate to ballot for places on their ballot sheet.

Ordinarily this should be a very simple ABC activity, even if it was necessary in the first place. But nothing is as it appears in Ghanaian politics. The assembly of important politicians and party representatives squabbled about whether a clear or opaque container had to be used: they settled on opaque and then solemnly, as if performing the most important political act of the campaign, proceeded to pick a number.


That was the easy part. The real excitement was how the various parties would spin their place on the presidential ballot. The placing went as follows:

  1. New Patriotic Party (NPP)
  2. Peoples National Convention
  3. National Democratic Congress (NDC)
  4. Democratic Freedom Party
  5. Democratic Peoples Party
  6. Convention Peoples Party (CPP)
  7. Reformed Patriotic Democrats
  8. Independent candidate

Then, on cue, numerology came into its own as each of the parties tried to convince its members and the public that its placing was propitious. The obvious winners were the NPP which got the number one position. Its spin doctors explained that getting the top spot was divine affirmation of its slogan of "moving forward". Its main rival, the NDC countered that its own third place was even more divine as this indicated the support of the "Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Ghost".

 Thus, on and on each party claimed to have found solace in its place which was determined by pure chance. Our friend from outer space would shake his head ruefully, suggesting to himself that these politicians had lost their marbles. But, in truth, there is madness to the method of assumed numerological destiny. In an nation with a relatively low level of literacy visuals become very important and in that sense the ballot paper becomes like a family picture and the voter has to locate where various family members are in the picture. It is easy to find your favourite if you know where they are in the picture.
 According to recent political myth-making, the NPP is said to have benefited immensely from being at the bottom of the ballot in the 2000 elections. It derived a mini-slogan, "Aseeho" (at the bottom), which also had a sexual double entendre that caught the imagination of the public. Now that the NPP finds itself at the top they are spinning it in the opposite direction.
 Whether all this makes sense will be revealed only after December 7, but one thing is for sure: the picture at the bottom of the ballot would be that of an independent candidate, and no matter how he spins it, he will not be going to Flagstaff House in January 2009.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Political parties pledge commitment to peaceful elections

Representatives of seven political parties on Thursday pledged their commitment to peaceful free, fair and transparent elections in December.

At a forum of members of the Council of State and the political parties to identify obstacles to a peaceful election in December and find ways to tackle them, each representative stated that they would not do anything to mar the peace before, during and after the elections.

The forum, organised by the Council, was in response to a request by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the Council to enter the political fray and help address thorny issues that could mar the electoral process.

Representatives of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Convention People's Party (CPP), Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), Democratic People's Party (DPP), National Reform Party (NRP) and the Reform Patriotic Democrats (RPD) were present at the forum.

Prof. Daniel Adjei Bekoe, Chairman of the Council of State, noted that the Council found it necessary to enter the fray at this time to help find solutions to possible obstacles to a peaceful election.

He congratulated the political parties for the tolerance they each exhibited at the balloting for positions on the ballot paper and expressed the hope that the same level of tolerance would characterise the December polls.

"We are interested in peace and we believe that every political party has a role to play in ensuring a level playing field which is imperative to keeping the peace before, during and after the elections," he said.

Dr. David Pessey, Member of the National Working Committee of NRP, disagreed with the Chairman of the Council of State, saying that the responsibility of ensuring a peaceful election rested with the sitting government since it controlled the law enforcement agencies, state media and other institutions, which were part of the framework for peace.

"I don't think it is fair for the Council of State to call on all political parties to ensure a peaceful election when all the institutions and mechanisms for ensuring peace are being controlled by the incumbent," he said.

"The Council must be forthright enough to place that responsibility squarely at the doorstep of the government and the EC instead of generalising the call to ensure peace."

Dr Pessey observed that it was all well and good to witness the peace campaigns across the country, but stated, however, that the mere call for peace would not guarantee peace.

"Justice and fairness precede peace; the EC needs to ensure a credible electoral register to warrant a peaceful election," he said.

He, however, pledged that the NRP would be willing to participate in any venture geared towards ensuring a peaceful election and expressed the hope that the forum would be a springboard for a sustained process at ensuring a credible election in December.

Ms Hannah Tetteh, Communications Director of the NDC, called on the Electoral Commission (EC) to display the voters' register on its website to enable everyone to have easy access to it and contribute to its purging.

She noted that one of the major obstacles to a peaceful election was the lack of credibility of the current voters' register due to the mass abuse of the recent limited registration exercise where hundreds of thousands of minors were reported to have registered.

Ms Tetteh said the recent exhibition of the register was not patronised as expected, adding that the register could not guarantee and free, fair and credible elections.

She noted that the election itself was just one event, but the processes that led to it needed to be handled properly to guarantee peace before, during and after the elections.

Mr Peter Mac Manu, National Chairman of the NPP, asked the political parties not to demonise the EC, saying they could all help to solve the mistakes of the EC instead of taking advantage of them to go on rampage.

"EC alone cannot guarantee peaceful elections - all of us need to come on board to make peace a reality in this election," he said.

He urged all parties to be guided by Constitutional Instrument 15 and the Public Order Act in the conduct of their activities before and during the elections, saying that the NPP was committed to making the law work.

Mr. Mac Manu assured the other political parties that the NPP would not abuse incumbency but would ensure a level playing field.

Source: GNA

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Another clash between NDC, NPP at Ho

The violence in the run-up to December 7 is unabated as supporters of the two main parties have yet again clashed in the Volta Regional capital Ho.

The violence was blamed on the alleged defacing of New Patriotic Party (NPP) posters by supporters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Supporters of the NPP accused the Member of Parliament for Ho Central, Captain George Nfordjor of instigating the defacing of the posters of the NPP parliamentary candidate.

An eye witness told Joy News that some NDC supporters attempted to place Captain (retd) Nfordjor's campaign posters on that of his NPP counterpart.

But supporters of the NPP resisted the attempt resulting in violent confrontation between the two groups on Thursday morning.

The NDC supporters have denied the allegation.

In Accra, the national capital, the blame game continuous as leaders of the two parties accuse each other of orchestrating the violence that followed the campaign tour of the NPP flag-bearer, Nana Akufo-Addo of some parts of Accra.

Mr. Seth Ofori of the NDC claimed, "innocent supporters of the NDC were attacked by the NPP" when they countered the kangaroo dance with the 'Yeresesemu' sign.

He said properties belonging to members of the NDC were destroyed.

Reacting to the claims, the National Organiser of the NPP, Mr. Lord Commey said it unnecessary for political leaders to try and apportion blame in such situation.

For him, the leaders of political parties should instead show leadership by advising their supporters against acts of violence.

CPP launches campaign to win Wa Central seat

The Convention People's Party (CPP) has launched its campaign in the Wa Central Constituency with the aim to wrestle the seat from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) this time round.
    As part of the broader strategy, the Party is undertaking house-to-house campaigns and inter-personal contracts to complement political rallies in the Municipality, Mr. Issahaque Sulemana, CPP Parliamentary candidate for Wa Central told the Ghana News Agency in Wa.
     He said the key thrust of the campaign will be to explain policy issues including the CPP's Manifesto to the electorate, especially the youth.
     Mr Sulemana held that the CPP has come to stay in the Municipality and pledged the commitment of the leadership to work with the youth "to pull a surprise" in the December polls.  
     He said the CPP manifesto centred on human development and that it sought to address the economic hardships of Ghanaians.
     He said a CPP administration would provide the youth with employable skills and rehabilitate abandoned factories that Dr. Kwame Nkrumah established to take onboard the youth to contribute their quota to the national economy.
      "The CPP's vision is to involve the youth in its activities and implement policies and programmes that were appropriate for self-uplifting and nation- building through the utilization of their talents," Mr. Sulemana said.
     He said of all the candidates who were vying for the Wa Central seat, he stood tall among them because he sees the problems of the youth better than the others.
     Mr. Sulemana appealed to supporters of the CPP to emulate the Party's Presidential Candidate, Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, who, he said, had been campaigning without insulting or vilifying opponents.
     He urged the supporters not to do anything that would tarnish the Party or Dr Nduom's image.
     Mr. Sulemana commented on the Wa chieftaincy dispute and said he was a unifying factor and had the ability to mediate to restore peace.

NDC launches campaign in New Juaben North Constituency

 Mr Adu Boateng, Parliamentary Candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for New Juaben North, said the NDC government when voted in power would set up an agricultural financial scheme to support both urban and rural farmers.
     He said the NDC government would set up the necessary economic environment that would encourage the youth to develop their entrepreneurial skills and go into private business to create jobs for themselves and others.
     Mr Boateng, a former New Juaben Municipal Chief Executive, was speaking at the launching of his campaign in the constituency and his formal introduction to the chiefs and people of the constituency at a forum at Akwadum on Wednesday.
     He promised the electorate that when elected Member of Parliament, he would sponsor a sports academy to ensure that within the first four years, a team from the New Juaben Municipality qualified to play in the premier league.
     Mr Boateng explained that, soccer has many economic advantages and the youth of New Juaben need to be supported to have a share in the soccer economic boom to help create wealth and employment.
     He said the academy would help develop other sporting disciplines, which would be an advantage for the New Juaben Municipality.
     Mr Boateng assured the people of New Juaben that when the NDC won power, it would reintroduce the domestic toilet promotion scheme, where landlords would be supported to build their own toilets in their homes.
     Mr Frank Mensah Frimpong-Boateng, the campaign manager of Mr Adu Boateng, said when NDC comes back to power; it would ensure transparency and accountability in governance and would empower the citizens of the country to help fight corruption in official circles.
     The Constituency Chairman of NDC, Mr Owusu Boahene, said his party would win the December elections and therefore called on the people of New Juaben North to join the party and vote massively for its presidential and parliamentary candidates.
     He said the people of the constituency had learnt their lesson the bitter way and would no longer sell their voting right by collecting money to vote for a candidate who would disappoint them.

NPP and NDC Parliamentary candidates pledge to ensure violence free campaign

Both the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) parliamentary candidates for Atiwa constituency in the Eastern Region have pledged to ensure that their campaigns were devoid of violence.
     They have therefore cautioned their supporters to avoid any form of activity that could lead to violence and tension in the area before, during and after the general elections.
    Mr Kwasi Annoh Ankamah, of the NPP and Mr Attah Twum of the NDC made the pledge at a public forum organized by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) at Kwabeng on Wednesday.
     The forum aimed at educating the electorate on the electoral process, was attended by members of civil society organizations, students, teachers and the general public.
     Mr Ankamah said the people of Atiwa had lived together as one people over the past years and should not allow themselves to be divided by politics.
     He was optimistic that he would retain the seat for the party due to the good works of the NPP government over the past seven and half years.
     Mr Ankamah said when voted into office, his major priority would be education, agriculture and youth development and urged the electorate to vote for him and the NPP to continue with their good programmes and policies.
     Mr Attah Twum of the NDC on his part said after visiting all the communities within the constituency, he was convinced that the people would give him the mandate to lead them in the new NDC government led by Professor John Evans Attah Mills.
     He said the NPP government had failed the constituency in the areas of developmental projects and urged the electorate to reject them this year.
    "NPP has nothing to offer this country any more after almost eight years of economic failure, high school fees, high infant mortality rate and other policy failures".
     Mr Twum said when giving the nod, education and agriculture would be his main agenda and urged the electorate to carefully study his policies for the area and vote for him.

Vote NDC to complete its developmental agenda — Bondzie

The Effutu Constituency Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Kojo Asmah Bondzie, today said the NDC is the only political party after Dr Kwame Nkrumah CPP that has witnessed major developments in Ghana.
    For that reason he said, Ghanaians must vote to return the NDC to power to continue its development plans.
    Mr Bondzie, who was addressing a rally at Essuekyir, a suburb of Winneba, said under the NDC regime, a number of development projects including roads, electricity, and potable water, among others, took place in every part of the country.
    He said because Dr Nkrumah was a selfless leader, who had the development of the nation at heart, he did not own any personal property in any part of the country with state resources.
    Mr Bondzie noted that "some leaders and officials of Ghana have not been truthful to the people over the years and this has brought untold hardships to Ghanaians".
    The NDC Chairman reminded Ghanaians to go through the records and assess the economic state of Ghana before the NPP assumed the reigns of government.
    Mr Bondzie recalled that the NDC under Jerry John Rawlings saw major economic transformation, which improved the economic well-being of the people.
    He wondered why the price of crude oil had been reduced drastically on the global market but had not reflected on the local market and urged government to reduce the price.
    Mr Bondzie appealed to the electorate not to sell their conscience but rather exercise their franchise without fear and or favour.
    The vice-chairman of the party Lieutenant Osardu urged members of the party to be vigilant and expose any electoral mal-practices during the elections.
    He called on supporters of the party to redouble their efforts and canvass vigorously for more votes for the NDC to win power.

Muslim pilgrims get vote

Ghana's electoral commission has announced special arrangements so Muslim pilgrims going to Mecca for the Hajj can vote in polls on 7 December. Ghana's electoral commission has announced special arrangements so Muslim pilgrims going to Mecca for the Hajj can vote in polls on 7 December.

The annual religious journey in Saudi Arabia is scheduled to take place between 30 November and 20 December.

Those going to the Hajj will be able to appoint a proxy to vote on their behalf on election day.

The BBC's David Amanor in the capital, Accra, says the decision follows lobbying by Ghana's Hajj Committee.

An estimated 3,000 to 4,000 Muslims are expected to make the trip this year.

President John Kufour - of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) - is standing down after two terms in office, and a tight race is expected.

The electoral commission says no early voting will be allowed and the proxy voter must be a registered voter in the same constituency and polling area as the absent voter.

The process already exists for servicemen on UN missions, people on diplomat missions and certain students abroad, our reporter says.

Although a minority community in Ghana, Muslims dominate the three northern regions, he says.

Historically, the majority of votes from these regions have gone to the main opposition National Democratic Congress.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I’m in alliance with NDC – Kofi Wayo

Kofi Wayo, the founder and leader of the United Renaissance Party (URP) says his party is in alliance with the National Democratic Congress (NDC). He said it is an alliance of about five parties, and mentioned the Ghana National Party (GNP) as one of the parties in the alliance.

He told Citi Breakfast Show host, Samuel Bartels that Prof. Mills has consulted him, because the NDC presidential candidate cares about Ghana. "The NPP would never do that," he said.

On his failure to get on the ballot paper, he said because the Electoral Commission openly admitted that the voters' register was bloated, he did not get onto the ballot paper.

"A man has told you there is hole in front and you want to go and fall in it and break your neck before you know there is a hole?" He asked.

Kofi Wayo said because the voter's register is not correct and because of what the EC said about the register, he believes there would be conflict. "I would not accept the results. I will fight. The people who are with me, they will fight. I don't want to be the first to go to war. I don't want to spill any Ghanaian blood to be president."

He said if it was somewhere else the problem would be fixed. "Here there is no law, the political party in power is the law."

He said he knows his party would not get more than 12% of votes because his party is only one year old and he is still building it up.

Kofi Wayo said he would wait till after the elections to put more money into building his party.

He also said he does not have a manifesto, but a policy, because the word manifesto brings to his mind communism. He said instead he has a policy arguing that the NDC has the same ideas as his party.


Dan Lartey wants EC in court

aving failed to successfully filed his nomination forms to contest the December elections, Mr. Dan Lartey, flag-bearer of the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), is nursing a plan to drag Ghana's electoral body to court for "deliberately" refusing his nomination.

He told Joy News he hoped the Electoral Commission (EC) would be compelled by the court to rescind the decision to disqualify him from contesting for the presidential position.

"I spoke to Dr. Afari Gyan and he said if the court instructs him he will comply; so in other words he was leading me to the court ; if there is a procedure to go through in which he will comply, then why not?"

Mr. Lartey was disqualified along with two other presidential candidates – Prophet Daniel Nkansah of the New Vision Party and Richard Nixon Tetteh, an independent candidate, - for presenting incomplete nomination forms

He accused the EC for "deliberately saying there was a mistake in the form" he presented on Friday 17, 2008, the final day for submission of nomination forms.

He told Joy News's Sammy Darko in an interview that since the EC has refused to take a second look at his case, he has no option than to go to court.

Asked if it is not too late since balloting has been done, he shot back, murmuring, "it doesn't matter if they have balloted…if I am put at zero or whatever it is, and I am on the line for election that is alright".

Just for emphasis, a question was reposed if he really meant business, Mr. Lartey reiterated, "If it is the process to be able to settle the matter why not?"

However, he could not readily tell when exactly he is going to initiate the court action.

Until death, Mr. Lartey at age 82, has no dream of retiring from politics. "A human being who is alive and not dead, how can he retire from politics? Until the bones are rotten," die-hard Uncle Dan said.

He said Ghana has a lot of problems in the country and he is the only person with the "methods and way" to solve them.

Meanwhile, Ms. Anna Bossman, the Commissioner at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), has said Mr. Dan Lartey has no case going to court.

"I doubt it, I am not sure what his contention is, I don't see what his problem is," she told the Accra Daily Mail.

Sowing the Seeds of Disappointment -Election Diary

The late British politician, Enoch Powell, is credited with one of the most astute and prescient observations about politics: he said that "all political lives, unless they are cut off in mid-stream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs". No matter how much politicians may strive to achieve "the best" for their people, expectations will ALWAYS overtake what can be realistically achieved.


That is part of human nature, but also it is because politicians always overestimate what they can do, especially when they are in opposition. This leads to gross over-promising which inevitably leads to disappointment, disaffection and frustration, if the party wins office and is seen not to have fulfilled its promises.


This classic scenario applies to the situation of both the NPP and NDC as they struggle for our votes in this year's election. However, it is the NPP that appears to bear the brunt of people's disappointment. In its manifesto, the NPP has catalogued many achievements in all spheres of life and they are impressive. And yet when you speak to many young people they say that the NPP has not fulfilled its promises.


It appears that the cause of this sentiment is a promise made during the 2000 campaign that the NPP would create hundreds of thousands of jobs for young people. It is the sort of vague campaign promises that are made every day in every political campaign across the world but it appears that this particular promise raised huge expectations of the NPP, which in power could NEVER be fulfilled.


Let us leave for the moment the fact that the government per se does not create jobs except for the few within the civil service. This promise could not be fulfilled because even if all the unemployed youth of 2000 found jobs, there would be many more young people in the job market by the end of the government's term of office.


The NDC is in a similar bind. It is making promises which people simply cannot square against the party's performance in office from 1992 to 2001. Even worse for the NDC is the fact that many of the dramatis personae in its long life on the Ghanaian political stage were also part of the PNDC – a period that is remembered with less than fond memories in Ghanaian minds.


To put it mildly, there is a huge credibility gap in the public perception of the manifestos of the political parties, especially the NPP and NDC. People just do not believe that the parties mean what they are saying or will do what they are promising. This may be a tad unfair but the incredulity is rooted in the country's political culture and how the two parties have conducted themselves in opposition and in office.

 In Ghana, it appears that political campaigns are all about promises and thus a key benefit of campaigns, which is public education, is completely absent. For example, political platforms are used elsewhere to explain policy choices and why particular parties are making the choices they are campaigning on. The current campaign in the US is, in effect, a national class on issues such as taxation, energy, the environment, foreign affairs, and of course the on-going financial sector crisis and possible recession.

 Also absent is any appeal to the electorate to play its part in national development, or even the peaceful conduct of the elections. It is astonishing that some political parties keep exhorting the government to ensure peaceful and fair election but do not urge restraint on its own supporters and cadres.

 President Kennedy famously called on Americans during his inauguration in 1961 not to "ask not what America can do for you, but what you can do for America". This kind of elevated rhetoric which places the burden of development on the citizen is largely absent from this campaign. At the very least, the politicians, when they promise the earth, could also tell the electorate to pay the taxes that will make it possible for those promises to be redeemed.

 Credit :


Subin NPP PC calls for peace to prevail

   The New Patriotic Party (NPP) parliamentary candidate for Subin constituency in Kumasi, Mr Isaac Osei, has called on all political groups and activists in the constituency to work conscientiously to ensure that peace prevailed before, during and after the December elections.
     He said the government under President Kufuor had laid a solid economic foundation and there was the need for peaceful elections this year to enable the country to continue with its developmental agenda.
     Mr Osei made the call on Tuesday when he visited the Ghana News Agency offices in Kumasi as part of his tour of some media organizations in the Subin constituency.
     He was accompanied by members of his campaign team and visited the Daily Guide Newspaper offices, the Chronicle Newspaper and other media houses.
     Mr Osei said Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo, the NPP flag-bearer carried a message of hope and prosperity for Ghana and there was the need for all Ghanaians to give him the necessary support to ensure that they were translated into reality.
     Mr Osei, also the Chief Executive of COCOBOD, said when voted into office, he would facilitate meaningful development in the constituency and appealed to the youth to desist from acts that could jeopardize the unity, peace and love existing among them in the constituency.
     Mrs Elizabeth Kankam Boadu, Ashanti Regional Manager of GNA, said the Agency played a vital role in the dissemination of news to the public and provided feedback on government policies and programmes, which were important for governmental action.
     She, however, said the Regional Office was woefully under-resourced and that hampered the policy of the Agency, which was speed and accuracy among other things.
     Mrs Kankam Boadu appealed to Mr Osei to use his offices as the Chief Executive of COCOBOD to assist the Agency with logistics.


NDC asks President Kufuor to brief candidates on economic situation

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) on Tuesday asked President John Agyekum Kufuor brief the presidential candidates about the state of the economy.
     In a statement issued in Accra by Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, the NDC said the government's economic team could do the briefing if the president himself would not be available.
     "That way, he will be seen to be putting Ghana first and not the (New Patriotic Party) NPP first, which is what he has been doing ever since he became the President of the country."
     The NDC said its statement was in reaction to a statement read by the NPP presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, about an initiative he had taken in relation to the global financial crisis originating from the US.
     "We wish to express our disappointment at the abandonment of responsibility by President J.A. Kufuor in such an important matter.  We want to ask the question, 'who is president of Ghana today? Is it J.A. Kufuor or Nana Akufo-Addo?'
     The NDC noted that in the US where the crisis originated, President George W. Bush, with as little time left of his presidency as President Kufuor, took charge of the crisis and summoned the two leading presidential candidates to discuss and seek a non-partisan solution to the crisis. 
     "In the end, he succeeded and got both the Democratic and Republican candidates to buy into his salvage plan.
     "We of the NDC have been waiting for such a show of leadership from President Kufuor in order to respond positively to enable us all prove to the world that in the face of a common adversity, we are one country and one people instead.
     "The President has left on a state visit to (the Netherlands) and left it to Nana Akufo-Addo to attempt to respond to the crisis, unmindful of the fact that even in his absence, there is a sitting Vice President in the person of Alhaji Aliu Mahama."
     The NDC said the importance of having President Kufuor to act in a situation such as this was that nobody knew who would win the December elections and it was important to let all the presidential candidates feel like they would be part of the solution should they win the elections. 
     It said Nana Akufo-Addo's action, "in taking the lead and pretending to act presidential will only add to the shock of his defeat in December".
     "Until a new President is sworn in on January 7, 2009, the country has only one President in the person of John Agyekum Kufuor. 
     "It is high time the President showed political leadership. Leaving it to his party's Presidential candidate to try to get political mileage out of what could very well be a national calamity is tantamount to abandoning the national interest on the altar of partisan political interest."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Atta Mills: I will provide food security for Ghanaians

Prof. John Evans Attah Mills, Presidential hopeful of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has promised to institute a buffer stock management to ensure food security for all Ghanaians, if voted into power in December.

He said his government would buy food crops from farmers in periods of glut for distribution to the populace in the lean season.

This he said, would restore confidence in farmers and safeguard their livelihoods.

"When the yams are getting rotten on the farms, you have to find some money, buy them, store and in the lean season you sell it to recover the money." He noted.

In an exclusive interview with Joy FM correspondent Steven Anti, who has been monitoring the NDC campaign, Prof. Mills attributed the surging food prices to the neglect of agriculture by government.

"We must make sure we increase agriculture production, provide inputs, give necessary motivation for farmers."

"What we need is the will and determination to do it, and not just to talk about it."he added

Prof. Mills who has been campaigning in Kumasi over the week-end was optimistic of winning the December poll, saying "the people have made their comparisons and have drawn their conclusions to vote for the NDC."

Source :

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Capitalism is a failed system - Dr. Sakara

The Vice presidential candidate of the CPP Dr. Abu Sakara the global economic crisis facing the West is an indication that capitalism is not a sustainable economic system.

He said the system oppressed the poor in favour of the rich.

Dr. Sakara was addressing the media in Accra.

"We must pursue an economic system that is human centered and ensures that we are each others' keeper."

According to him, the CPP's policy of government intervention to ensure that the poorest members of the society have access to essential services is the best in all the manifestos presented by the various political parties.

He cautioned against voting for any other political party either then the Convention People's Party.

"Do we want a continuing widening gap between the rich and the poor, do we want a widening gap between the urban and rural areas?", he asked.

For him, to avoid a worsening economic and poverty situation in the country, the CPP must be voted into office.

Dr. Sakara exhorted Ghanaians to look at the governance system of the country because it determined the economic prosperity or otherwise of the country.

On the election of District Chief Executives captured in the CPP manifesto, he said the argument that it is impossible because of the tendency for opposition people to win the slot and draw back government's plans is untenable.

He said there were many checks that would make the DCE accountable to the people.

"People will compete for the position of DEC under the CPP and be voted for on the basis of merit" and this will fast-track development instead, he argued.

On the position of the party on the ballot paper, Dr. Sakara said since the CPP won independence for Ghana on March 6, 1957, a sixth position is good for the party.

He said the party will once again win the election on the elections and lift the country out of its economic woes.

The National Vice Chairman of the CPP, Mrs Araba Bentsi-Enchill, who was present at the press briefing, said a tour of the country shows the grim reality of poverty facing the masses.

She said while the NPP had been touting its performance in road construction, many roads especially in the northern part of the country were in a sorry state.

She said a CPP government will create women desks in every district to ensure that women's concerns are adequately taken care of.

credit : myjoyonline

NPP to be on top of ballot paper

The New Patriotic Party's (NPP) candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo will be on top of the ballot paper in the December 7 election, according to the balloting carried out at the Electoral Commission (EC) today.

     The second on the ballot paper will be Dr Edward Nasigrie Mahama of the People's National Convention, while Professor John Evans Atta Mills of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) will be third on the ballot paper.

     Mr Emmanuel Ansah Antwi of the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) will be fourth, Mr Thomas Ward-Brew of the Democratic People's Party will be fifth, Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom of the Convention People's Party will be sixth, Mr Kwamena Adjei of the Reformed Patriotic Democrats will be seventh, while Mr Kwesi Amoafo-Yeboah, an independent candidate will be eighth. 

     The positions will be the same for parliamentary candidates, with independent candidates coming after candidates of the political parties in alphabetical order.
     There were two rounds of balloting. The first round was to choose the order of picking the ballot to determine the order on the ballot paper. 

     The order for that balloting was determined by the order in which the presidential candidates filed their papers at the EC last Thursday and Friday. 

     After that round of balloting, the RPD was to pick first, followed by the CPP, NDC, NPP, DFP, PNC and DPP.

     Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, who picked the NPP ballots, said the top position for their candidate showed that they had moved from "asieho" (bottom of the ballot paper in 2000) to the top, adding that, this showed that they were moving forward. 

     He said they were the first to file and the first to be on the ballot paper.

     Mr Ahmed Ramadan, National Chairman of the PNC said the second position on the ballot paper confirmed their slogan of "2 Direct; Two Sure".

     Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, National Organiser of the NDC, said their position on the ballot paper was "divine" since it showed the "Trinity of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit".

     He said they were consistent in their position of the Holy Trinity, as they picked the third position in both rounds.

     Mr Ofosu-Ampofo said the Holy Trinity is also confirmed by the fact that this was the third time Prof. Atta Mills was contesting the presidential election and they also had three Johns in their presidential race – Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, Mr John Dramani Mahama, running mate of Prof. Mills, and former President Jerry John Rawlings.

     The other parties appeared uncomfortable with their positions on the ballot paper because they may be difficult to market.

     The EC team was made up of Mr David Kanga, Deputy Chairman in charge of Finance and Administration, Mr Kwadwo Safo-Kantanka, Deputy Chairman in charge of Operations and Mr Albert Kofi Arhin, Director in charge of Elections.

     Mr Arhin told the GNA that the EC would now print a "Notice of Polls" and then print the ballot papers.

     The EC would also undertake a series of training programmes for the agents of the parties, security personnel, parliamentary candidates and the media on their roles in the election, he said.

Source: GNA via