Sunday, November 30, 2008

Election 2008 is not a do or die affair- Veep

Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, on Sunday observed that Election 2008 is about the political choices Ghanaians would make on December 7 and not a "do or die" affair.
     He stressed: "Belonging to different political parties does not make us enemies, especially when we have demonstrated in several ways that we are one people."
     Alhaji Mahama made the observation when he addressed the annual Kakube festival of the chiefs and people at Nandom traditional area, in the Upper West Region.
     "No blood should be spilled because of this election. We should listen to all messages being put out there and consider the track records of the parties and individuals and make our choices.
     "We should not allow anyone to incite us towards violence, for nothing good would ever come out of a violent situation."
      Alhaji Mahama said government had committed itself to a free and transparent election.
     "We will not incite or intimidate anyone because we want you to judge us (Government) by our track record and what we have done in changing your lives within these eight years."
     Mr Ambrose Dery, Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General and aspiring Member of Parliament (MP) of the ruling New Patriotic Party for Nandom said the party had captured the Kamba dam, which had been on the drawing board for years, in its 2008 manifesto for implementation.
     He said other parliamentary aspirants in the area and stakeholders of the general election should strive to facilitate free and fair elections.
    Mr Dery asked the security agencies to deal with anyone who undermined the peace and security during the polls.
     Dr. Benjamin Kumbour, the incumbent MP called on government to calve a district or constituency for the area, to ensure free flow of development.
     Nandom is currently under Lawra District.
     Dr. Kumbour also stressed the need for incident-free elections.
     The Nandom Naa, Naa Puoure Puobe Chiir VII, Paramount Chief of the Area, said the agro-related festival was instituted 20 years ago, to revamp the customs and traditions of their ancestors.
     He said it was also a period for stock staking.

Don’t take government’s achievements for granted - President Kufuor

President John Agyekum Kufuor, has asked Ghanaians not to take for granted the Government's achievements over the last eight years, which had given hope to the nation and won international admiration.
     Ghana, he said, "is where it is now because of the hard work and vision of the Government."
     President Kufuor said this when he joined Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the ruling New Patriotic Party's (NPP) Presidential Candidate to address party faithful at a rally in Brong Ahafo Region.
     He encouraged the electorate especially the youth to stand firm and not to yield to falsehood and lies by the party opponents.
     President Kufuor called on all party members and supporters to turn out in their numbers on poll day to vote massively for the NPP's presidential and parliamentary candidates.
     Nana Akufo-Addo reiterated the call on supporters to be careful with those seeking to create confusion in society.
     He told them to exercise restraint and work to sustain the unity, stability and cohesion of the country.
     What Ghana wanted, he said, is politics of unity, solidarity and reconciliation.
     He condemned tribal politics saying, that could only take the nation backwards. "We do not want to go backward in our history," he added.    
     Nana Akufo-Addo told the rally crowd that he entered into politics not personal gains but to serve the nation.
     The NPP, he said, had demonstrated that "it delivers on its promises and therefore Ghanaians should have confidence in the party."

Yeji Youth warned against violence

Ms. Harriet Pataki, Programmes Officer of Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), has cautioned the youth of Yeji in the Pru District of Brong-Ahafo not to allow themselves to be used by politicians to foment trouble in the run-up to the December polls.
     She noted with concern that development projects would continue to be at a standstill at Yeji, the capital of the newly created district, if the people regarded violence "as a tool for political warfare".
     Ms Pataki was addressing supporters, activists and sympathizers of some political parties at a parliamentary debate organized by the CDD for candidates vying for the Pru constituency seat at Yeti recently.
     Mr Been Agenda Adzormahe, Parliamentary Candidate of the Convention People's Party and Dr King-David Amoah, an Independent, attended the debate while candidates of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the People's National Convention (PNC) failed to turn up.
     Also in attendance at the debate, moderated by Mr Peter Kwabena Gyasi, District Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and Mr Yaw Atakora, National Vice President of Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled, were traditional leaders, Assembly Members and representatives of the security agencies.
     Questions asked centred on education, drainage system, health, employment and agriculture.
     Ms Potakey expressed regret that Yeji had been noted for political violence since 1992 and emphasized the need for political parties more especially the NDC and NPP to educate their followers about their conduct to make this year's election violence-free.
     Mr Adzormahe explained that education was his major priority and when given the mandate would liaise with the District Assembly and other NGOs to establish an endowment fund to assist students.
     He said as a professional teacher he would also work hand in hand with his colleagues to organize free remedial classes for the students.
     The CPP candidate noted with regret that pupils and students boycotted classes on Mondays, which were 'market days at Yeji' and went fishing.
     Mr Adzormahe said when given the nod, he would liaise with the District Assembly and traditional authorities at Yeji to enact byelaws that would bar children from going near the lake on weekdays.
     Dr Amoah said he intended to work with the teachers and traditional leaders in the area to set-up a taskforce to monitor and arrest recalcitrant students to minimize the rate of truancy amongst them.
     He expressed concern about the upsurge of drug abuse, sexual promiscuity and alcoholism among the youth and attributed it to the rate of unemployment and pledged to use part the Members of Parliament's share of the District Assemblies' Common Fund to assist the youth to venture into agriculture.
     The Independent candidate noted that because of poverty most of the children in Yeji were engaged in child labour and stressed the need to provide the school children with some basic necessities.
     Dr Amoah appealed to the electorate to vote massively for him in December to enable him to actualise his ideas.

GNA via

Candidates assure of incident free elections in Ho East

Parliamentary candidates in Ho East Constituency on Saturday resolved to ensure that the polls in the Constituency were not marred by violence.
     Mr Victus Avuworda, Ms. Benedicta Datsomor and Dr. Samuel Buame of the New Patriotic Party, the Convention Peoples Party and an Independent Candidate, respectively pledged their commitment to peaceful elections and have therefore asked their supporters to be peaceful at the polls.
     This was at a forum organized by the Volta Physically Challenged Independent Group (VOLPHIG), with support from IBIS West Africa.
     The forum aimed at bringing together the constituents' and the candidates to interact was not attended by the candidates of the National Democratic Congress and the Peoples National Convention.
     The three candidates expressed worry at the polarized nature of the Adaklu-Anyigbe District and said they would work towards uniting the people if elected.
     Mr Avuworda said all government's interventions would be expanded to benefit all the communities in the District.
     He said his priority is to help alleviate poverty in the Constituency and asked the people to vote for him.
     Dr. Buame said his number one agenda was to improve infrastructure, especially road in the area, to pave the way for other developments.
     Ms Datsomor said when voted as Member of Parliament for the area, she would help create jobs, by promoting farming activities, to enhance the socio-economic development of the constituents.
     The three resolved not to let diversity of ideas divide the people and pledged to work together for the development of the area.
     Mr Francis Asong, General Secretary of VOLPHIG advised the people to use the interaction to make good choices that would bring development to the area.
     Mr Simon Manu, Programmes Facilitator of IBIS West Africa in charge of Public Participation in Local Governance (PPALG), urged the people to develop interest in governance and participate fully in the process, apart from exercising their franchise every four years.

Police asked to stop NPP

Sunyani West Constituency branch of National Democratic Congress (NDC) has called on the Police to restrain the New Patriotic Party (NPP) from creating confusion in the constituency.
     The branch stated in a press statement that if the situation was not addressed it might degenerate into violent confrontation between members and supporters of the two parties.
     A statement Ishak Twumasi Ankrah, NDC Constituency Chairman signed and copied to the media catalogued "certain wrongs and misconduct perpetrated by the NPP in the constituency".
     It alleged that Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister and NPP Parliamentary candidate for constituency, once invited some NDC Party Executives at Nsoatre and warned them should any NDC supporter or sympathizer insult or make any derogatory remarks about him, he would use his "high powers" to deal with the person.
     The statement said the Regional minister charged: "I have control over all the soldiers and police in the region and I can easily use them to deal with anyone who will step on my toes".
     It said a week after the warning, verbal exchanges between an NDC boy and some NPP activists at an NPP rally at Nsoatre led to the untimely death of the boy when he fell trying to escape from the irate on-rushing activists.
     On October 9 2008, the Sunyani West NDC campaign team paid a visit to a village called Amanfoso, off the Nsoatre-Berekum road and no sooner had the Parliamentary candidate, Mr Kwadwo Nyamekye-Marfo started delivering his speech than two strong-looking men riding on two motorbikes with registration numbers GV 263 S and GV 292 S emerged from nowhere and started hurling insults at them, the statement said.
     The NDC statement said the case was reported to the Police at Nsoatre after the programme and after Police investigations it came out that one of the two macho men, Mr. Oppong, was a resident at Nsoatre.
     "On October 26 this year at about 0700 hours, a boy named Hinneh, who is also an NPP supporter broke a beer bottle and threw it into an NDC group that was returning from a keep-fit exercise.
     "The broken bottle injured one person and a report was made to the Police in Sunyani after which the victim was given a Police medical form to enable him to receive treatment at the Regional Hospital in Sunyani.
     "The incident occurred at Odumase but no arrest has been made yet the attack took place right at the spot where the Police had assigned to the NDC keep fit group to converge for its activity that day", the NDC statement said.
     The statement added that on November 18 this year the NPP campaign team led by the parliamentary candidate, Mr Baffour-Awuah, besieged Kwabenakuma around 1000 hours even though according to the party's itinerary served to the Police, the NDC was supposed to be there at 1400 hours.
     "The NPP team played music without any speech until 1800 hours. We believe this act is tantamount to intimidation, calculated to prevent the NDC from carrying out its campaign in the Sunyani West Constituency", the statement noted.
     It reiterated, "we wish to make it emphatically clear that we have always notified the Police by consistently providing them with the itinerary of the party in five phases, since our campaign commenced about two months ago.
     "Our conclusion is that when the Police have not called us to discuss the need to vary our itinerary for the reason of clash of political activities by the various political parties, we deem all our activities to have duly received the approval of the Police and will, therefore, have them carried through to the letter. Any attempt by the NPP or any political party to cow us down so that we cannot carry out our campaign will not be countenanced by the NDC", the statement stressed.
     It appealed to all peace-loving people such as the chiefs, the clergy, opinion leaders and institutions like the NGOs, CBOs and election observers to listen to their complaints and prevail upon the Sunyani West NPP to work towards achieving peaceful elections before, during and after the December elections.
     Reacting to the allegations, Mr Kwesi Annan-Frimpong, Special Assistant to the Regional Minister and Regional NADMO Co-ordinator, dismissed them as "calculated lies" by the NDC who are "finding reasons for the elections that they are going to lose".
     He explained, "there might have been some infractions that could have happened at the blind side of Mr Baffour-Awuah, who has the best organised campaign in the country".
     Mr Annan-Frimpong said the Regional Minister had never invited any NDC executives to his father's house at Nsoatre as alleged, adding "Baffour Awuah has never threatened anybody physically and did not even go on his campaign trail with his police bodyguard.
     "Everywhere the Regional Minister has gone to campaign he has been very peaceful", he said, adding, "Sunyani West seat is a safe one for the NPP, which it has won it since 1996 with overwhelming success and this year's victory is going to be monumental".

Commonwealth observers in Accra

A team of election observers from the Commonwealth Secretariat in London has arrived in Accra to monitor next week's general elections.

The group is led by Baroness Valerie Amos, former Leader of the British House of Lords.

The group will determine whether the elections meet set standards of democratic elections.

The communications officer of the group, Julius Makunguzi, said the group was invited by the Electoral Commission to observe the elections.

He said the group accepted the invitation because members believe in democracy and observing election serves to strengthen the democratic process.

"This is a particularly very important election, not only for Ghana but also for the Commonwealth, first because Ghana has been a beacon of democratic practice on the continent, it shows very good example."

He said the Commonwealth was looking forward to a process that will make Ghana continue to be a good example for the rest of the continent and the Commonwealth in general.


Court remands driver for destroying campaign poster

Seth Ansah, a 23-year old driver residing at Kwesimintsim, near Takoradi, has appeared before a Sekondi District Magistrate's Court for destroying the campaign poster of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and defacing that of Mr Joe Baidoe-Ansah, both of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
    Ansah, who pleaded not guilty, was remanded to re-appear on December 11 2008.
    Prosecuting, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Albert Deletsa said at about 1025 hours on November 11 2008, the Western Regional Youth Organiser of the NPP saw the accused and four others now at large defacing the poster of Mr Baidoe-Ansah, Member of Parliament for Effia-Kwesimintsim Constituency and pasting that of Professor John Evans Atta-Mills of National Democratic Congress (NDC) Presidential Candidate, on it at Kwesimintsim.
    He said the accused and his colleagues also tore part of the poster of Nana Akufo-Addo, Presidential Candidate of NPP.
    ASP Deletsa said the Regional Organiser, who was in-charge of a NPP campaign van educating the public to register for the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), questioned the accused person and his colleagues about their action but they could not give any tangible explanation.
    He said the accused and his colleagues took to their heels but only Ansah was arrested after a hot chase and was handed over to the Police.
GNA via

Nana calls for peaceful elections

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has reiterated need to ensure that the December 7 elections were free, transparent, peaceful and credible.
     Nana Akufo-Addo, who was addressing a rally in Bimbilla in the Nanumba North District, accused the National Democratic Congress (NDC) of preaching the politics of ethnicity, which was not good for the unity of the country, saying that Ghana was made up of several ethnic groups that should be allowed to live in unity in diversity.
     He said after 19 years of PNDC/NDC rule, the party could not deliver and Ghanaians should not put their destiny in the hands of incompetent, inefficient and bankrupt leaders, who had nothing more to offer them.
     Nana Akufo-Addo said he would bridge the development gap between the North and the South with the establishment of the Northern Development Fund, which would be used to among other things to improve upon the road network in the North, expand educational infrastructure with special emphasis on technical education.
     He said the airport in Tamale would also be developed into an international airport city to link the North to the neighbouring countries.
     Nana Akufo-Addo said agriculture would also be modernised to make the North the breadbasket for the whole of West Africa adding that marketing companies would also be established for the purchase and sale of soybeans, groundnuts and shea butter.
     Mr Alan Kyeremanten, a Leading Member of NPP, said 60 million dollars had been approved for the establishment of a groundnut-processing factory for the three Northern Regions.
     He said the factory, which would be sited at Buipe in the Central Gonja District, would need about 50,000 groundnut farmers to feed it adding that the factory would thereby provide a lot of employment to the youth.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Dr Mahama says election will knock some candidates out

Dr Edward Nasigre Mahama, the presidential candidate of the People's National Convention (PNC), on Saturday said the December 7 election would knock some presidential candidates out because they would not win.
     He said some of the presidential candidates were sure of winning as if they had been ordained by God to be president and that Ghanaians wanted a genuine change for someone with humility to address their concerns.
     Dr Mahama, who was addressing a mammoth rally in Tamale, said the PNC had adopted a last minute, "Shock and awe" tactics that would convince Ghanaians to reject the other parties and vote massively for the PNC.
     "There are some candidates who are entering the race for the first time and they think they are already winners but when the results start coming in favour of the PNC, they will have the shock of their lifetime and they may collapse."
    "I and some others had gone through the process before and failed but nothing happened to us and naturally we are used to it but this time, the supposed sure winners would collapse since the results would not favour them", he said.
     Dr Mahama said the electorate had devised ways of deceiving politicians who had lied to them for votes. The plan of deceit is to attend rallies in huge numbers and collect what is due them but they would still not vote for them.

     On peace, Dr Mahama said contrary to what people are afraid of the election would be the most peaceful one.
     He appealed to all Ghanaians to be polling agents during voting day by engaging in effective monitoring to ensure that ballot boxes were not sent to wrong places.
    "It is only those who think that they cannot win will use various means to steal the election."
     He appealed to the Electoral Commission to be up and doing to ensure that the election was not rigged and to stop calling on polling agents to be extra vigilant on voting day.
     Madam Ouedraugo Sala, PNC representative in Belgium, said there was the need for peaceful elections particularly in the north because those in the Diaspora had negative perception about the north.
     Madam Maadi Babi, Northern Regional women's organizer of the party, said the PNC would win 20 out of the 26 parliamentary seats in the region since the change that people are calling for would favour the PNC.

Members of NDC Zongo caucus advised

Alhaji Alhassan Ibn Ibrahim, National Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Zongo caucus of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), has admonished members to abide by the code of ethics of the association.
        This, he said, would help retain the good image of the caucus while increasing their membership and their achievements.
        "Under no circumstances should you allow yourselves to be used by self-seeking politicians to cause violence and mayhem as the December 7, 2008 polls draw near," he said.
        Alhaji Ibrahim was speaking at the inauguration of the Atwima-Nwabiagya constituency branch of the Zongo caucus at Barekese at the weekend.
        The 16-member caucus has Mr Ahmed Rufai Abdul-Rahman as co-ordinator, Mr Osumanu Sanusi Mohammed, secretary, Mr Dauda Adamu, organiser and Madam Rahina Musah, women's organiser.
        The National PRO said the caucus has been established on a genuine grounds and that it was not violent as some people perceived. He said the national executive of the caucus had embarked on an intensive campaign to solicit votes to enhance the NDC chances of winning the elections.
       Alhaji Othman Yahya, Ashanti Regional Co-ordinator of the Zongo caucus, entreated members to unite for the benefit of the progress of the association.
       He said the NDC had in the past contributed effectively to the development of the Zongo communities and Muslims in general and said it was during the party's regime that the Islamic Education Unit was established in addition to the institution of the office of the National Chief Imam.
       Mr Abdul-Rahman was happy for the confidence for the confidence reposed in them and promised that he and his colleagues would work harder to increase their membership.

NDC to revitalise CEDECOM

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) will revitalise Central Regional Development Company to additionally take on agriculture
and fisheries as part of its operational activities.
     Mr John Dramani Mahama,  NDC Vice Presidential Candidate told a bubbling rally at Komenda in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Ebrem in the Central Region that CEDECOM should not engage in tourism activities alone.
     He said the NDC would ensure that CEDECOM was involved in  agricultural and fisheries development in the area to guarantee a permanent job for the people and to better their livelihood.
     The NDC would also reintroduce premix fuel distribution by the fishermen themselves to avoid diversion and corruption that existed in the trade while it would also provide fishing gears to fishermen at subsided prices.
     It would also build "blast freezers" for the storage of fish, especially during the bumper harvest while it would also abolish per trawling in Ghanaian territorial waters to ensure that local fishermen also get their catch.
     Mr Mahama urged the people to vote for the NDC during the December 7 election and if they do that they would be electing Professor John Evans Atta Mills as president who has impeccable leadership qualities.
     He said the attempt by the opponent of the NDC to run it down would fail because what the NDC has achieved during its eight years in office was impressive and that they would build on it for a better Ghana.
     Mr.  Mahama thanked the people for giving him such rousing welcome "which is an indication that if the turn out would be converted into votes, then victory of the NDC is assured."

Woe unto anyone to spill Ghanaian blood for power-NDC

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) on Thursday warned that anyone who would spill the blood of a Ghanaian during the December polls for political power would pay dearly for it.
     It said anyone who would do that would not be painting the picture of the democratic height the country had attained both nationally and internationally and that, as much as the NDC handed power to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) peacefully, it should also graciously hand over power to any political party that won the election.
    The NDC said, "free elections do not stand alone, it should be free from fear, intimidation and coercion and that this country was handed over to the NPP freely, united and peaceful".
    The party also asked its supporters to be disciplined and abide by the electoral laws and to remain vigilant on the election day so that the peoples verdict is not stolen.
      Mr. John Dramani Mahama, Vice Presidential candidate of the NDC and other principal speakers underscored these views at a youth forum in Accra.
      Mr. Mahama said elections are civil rights issues and that for a police commander to say that anyone who caused trouble at the polling stations would be shot was the most ridiculous statement to be made by a peace officer.
     Dr. Ekwow Spio-Gabrah a leading member of the NDC said; "The NDC would hold the NPP thoroughly responsible for any problems in the December elections".
      He said it was the responsibility of the NPP government to ensure a trouble free elections and that it was bogus that there was a call for the NPP to sit down with the NDC to negotiate for peaceful polls.   
    Dr Spio-Gabrah said during the NDC era, when the Value Added Tax (VAT) was introduced it organized demonstrations upon demonstration like "kumipreko, wiemepreko and siemepreko just to make sure that the good things that the NDC wanted to do was blocked so that it could not take credit for any development projects.
     "Now that the NPP has had Ghana's debt written off of 41 trillion cedis, a debt accumulated from the Kwame Nkrumah regime up to 2000 written off following the completion point of the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC), the NPP has within eight years of governance incurred more than 91 trillion cedis in debt", he said.
       Dr Spio-Gabrah said these were some of the question the media and Ghanaians should be asking government of what was done with the 750 million dollars it raised from the sovereign bond it floated on the international market.
        Mr. Haruna Iddrisu, National Youth Organizer of the NDC asked what was the usefulness of the NPP government of selling the national Fibre Optic backbone with the Ghana Telecom to Vodafone when in its manifesto, it said the facility would improve Information Communication Technology in education.
   He said a similar fraudulent thing was done to the Volta Aluminum Company (VALCO) when parliament was deceived into approving the VALCO sales agreement only to realize a few hours later that the transaction was a sham.
    Mr Fiifi Kwetey, National Propaganda Secretary of the party told the youth that the future belonged to them and that they would be destroying that fortune if they voted the wrong party into power.
        Madam Hannah Tetteh, Communication Director of the party said she entered parliament at a time that the NPP was vigorously campaigning against the NDC and especially on human rights and wondered why the NPP would not find justice for those who killed the Yaa Naa Andani, king of Dagomba, Issah Mobila and the recent arson victims of Gushiegu in the Northern Region.
    She urged Ghanaians to vote for Prof. Evans Atta Mills and the NDC to come into power to unite the country and bring peace and development as was the wish of all Ghanaians.
     Mr Elvis Ankrah, Deputy National Secretary of the NDC warned polling agents to refrain from taking water or eating food that would be provided them during their monitoring exercise to avoid being poisoned.
    Earlier, the Dansoman Youth Choir sang melodious songs to usher in the NDC officials while a group called Children's Group from Adenta near Accra staged a choreography with military precision and handed over the flag of Ghana to Mr. John Mahama.

NPP will return to power- President Kufuor

President John Agyekum Kufuor has expressed optimism about the ruling New Patriotic Party's (NPP's) victory in the December 7 poll, no matter the threats and falsehood by its political opponents.
     "NPP will return to power and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo wil be leading our government", he declared, drawing prolonged cheers from an enthusiastic crowd of party supporters at a rally in Tamale on Friday.
     President Kufuor urged the Northern Region to be on the side of the winners and vote massively for the NPP's Presidential and Parliamentary candidates.
     Ghana was rediscovering itself and must stay the course of progress and prosperity, the President said.
     He said the broken down economy had been fixed and that, an Akufo-Addo-led NPP administration would lead the nation into solid industrialization.
     President Kufuor advised people in the region to be law abiding and ensure that the election passed off peacefully.
      The area, he noted, has got everything going for it, citing the increased level of infrastructure development.
     Among these are the constructions of a 500-feet bridge to span the White Volta at Kpansenkpe to open the area popularly referred to as overseas, the Tamale Stadium, and Tamale Water Supply Rehabilitation Project and School structures.
     He announced that funds had been secured to refurbish the Tamale Government Hospital into a Teaching Hospital.
     President Kufuor introduced the NPP's parliamentary candidates in the region at the rally.
     Earlier in the day, he inaugurated a 45 million Euro Tamale Water Project to supply 9.6 million gallons of water to a population of over 500.000 people in the Metropolis and beyond.
     He also inspected the bridge over the White Volta at Kpasenkpe, which is being funded through the French Government's support.
     It is almost completed and would shorten the travel distance from Kpasenkpe to Navrongo in the Upper East Region by 50 kilometres.

Parliamentary candidate attributes lack of development to inadequate communication

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) parliamentary candidate for the Ablekuma Central Constituency, Mr. Theophilus Tetteh Chaie, has attributed lack of
development in the Constituency to lack effective communication and commitment by the Member of Parliament (MP) for the area who had spent 10 years in Parliament.
     He said it was the duty of the MP to define a clear agenda with the electorate involved and draw programmes that could be in their best interest in order to reduce poverty and also eliminate ignorance.
     Mr. Chaie, who was addressing the executives of the Abossey Okai Spare Parts Dealers and party members on Wednesday, said many MPs have failed their people because they do not allow themselves to be criticized by the electorate.
     He expressed regret that the situation in which Abossey Okai was left much to be desired due to the lack of coordination, vision and competency creating the impression that government does not generate revenue from the area.
     He said he would use his marketing skills as wells as his past experiences to help mould the youth to lead decent lives, and urged the electorate to vote for him for a real change.
     Mr. Chaie also explained simple basic economic principles to the electorate and asked, "how can we live in a society where poverty has engulfed the whole nation while only few are enjoying; everyone is borrowing all over without saving at the banks."
     He reminded the electorate of the bad policies of New Patriotic Party (NPP) had left the nation with so many problems, such as high corruption, armed robberies, and lack of basic amenities as well as jobs for the youth.
     He said the nation needed a selfless leader like Professor John Evans Atta Mills who cared about the people to bring a new vision to transform their lives and urged the youth not to make mistake to vote to retain the NPP in office, otherwise they should expect more hardships.
     Mr. Mawuko Amedume, Abossey Okai ward chairman of the party urged the NDC supporters to be vigilant at the polling stations and fill all forms of loopholes which were the reasons why the party lost in 2004.

Ghana Pentecostal Council appeals to political parties

The Ghana Pentecostal Council, has appealed to all political parties to avoid Television and Radio adverts of personal attacks on their opponents in the run-up to the December general elections.
    The Council noted with dismay the many provocative and defamatory television and radio adverts that have been put in the public domain by the various political parties.
    At a press conference in Koforidua, the Chairman of the Council, Reverend Alex Ofori Amankwah, said the December elections could be peaceful if only all the stakeholders carried their activities in the national interest.
    He charged Christians not to use the Sunday as an excuse to stay away from exercising their franchise.
    Rev Amankwah on behalf of the Council appealed to the media to be circumspect in their reportage and do away with sensationalism that is likely to affect the outcome of the elections.
   He called on all Ghanaians, irrespective of their religious background to go out massively and vote on  December 07.

Trainees should not take part in Special Voting – NDC

The Electoral Commission has been urged to desist from allowing service personnel who would not be involved in election duties and trainees from taking part in the Special Voting before the 2008 elections.
     The call was made by Mr. Jonathan Tackie-Komme, the incumbent MP for Odododiodioo and the Parliamentary Candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) at a rally of the party at the Rawlings Park in Accra.
     He said a call at the Ashiedu Keteke District office of EC on Friday with the Constituency Chairman, Mr. Daniel Okai, the Secretary, Mr. Joseph Otoo and other Executives to demand a copy of the Transfer List for the December 7 elections revealed that 300 trainees of the Immigration Service at the Fire Service Training School at James Town within the area were to take part in the Special Voting.
     He pointed out that the trainees were not yet security personnel to perform Elections Day duties to take part in the Special Voting and said the party would resist and challenge their eligibility to vote in the constituency.
     Mr. Tackie-Komme stated that Elections Day was a holiday and on a Sunday and said the trainees could travel over the weekend to exercise their franchise where they registered.
     He enumerated his achievements, especially in the areas of education and social development as an MP and called on the electorate to return him and to vote for the Presidential Candidate of the NDC, Professor John Evans Atta Mills to form the next government.
     Mr. Festus Bekoe, Constituency Vice Chairman, advised the NDC supporters and members to remain peaceful and tolerant but to be vigilant on the Elections Day to avoid cheating.
     Mr. Walid Laryea, a leading member of the party described the government as a "Failure" and stressed the need for a change in the administration of the country.
     Madam Vivian Ankrah, Greater Accra, Regional Women's Organizer, expressed concern about the infiltration of foreigners in the country's retail trade at the expense of Ghanaians and said a government of the NDC would reverse the trend.
     The Chief Imam of Zongo Lane, Alhaji Jibril called on the people to compare their standard of living now with the previous government to vote wisely

I will prosecute any member of my government engaged in corruption– Atta Mills

The Presidential Candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Professor John Evans Atta Mills, has given the assurance that he would call for the prosecution of any member of his future government found to have engaged in corruption.
       He was speaking at a mini-rally at Somanya on the third day of his four-day campaign tour of the Eastern Region, which also took him to Asesewa, Akosombo and Nuaso
         Prof. Atta Mills said his government would put up a strong fight against the use of the country as the transit base for banned drugs and check the consumption of those drugs in the country.
        He thanked the people of the Krobo area for their loyalty to the NDC and assured them that a future NDC government would never turn its back against them but would continued all the uncompleted development projects, which it started in the area.
         Prof. Atta Mills called on the people to ensure a peaceful election and be vigilant to ensure that their collective will on the Election Day is protected.
          Ms. Ama Beyniwa Doe, the Women Organizer of the party expressed regret that due to the bad economic policies of the government, farmers in the Krobo area could not buy a gallon of kerosene, salt and fish after selling a basket of cassava as it used to be.
          She said the economy of the country was so poorly managed that, the country was a now the second of the worse countries in Africa hit by guinea worm and also the second dirtiest in Africa. 
          Ms. Doe said a government that had performed well needed not to be distributing cloth and money to the electorate under the cover of darkness to buy their votes.

Partnership between educational institutions and business community vital - Akufo-Addo

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) said his administration would create a partnership between the country's educational institutions and the business community.

     To this end, he said, "we shall re-orient the fields of study of those entering the universities, by investing in the expansion of the facilities and capacities of science, communication, mathematics and research-oriented faculties".
     He said students in those fields would be supported with scholarships and grants.
     Nana Akufo-Addo was addressing members of the Accra Polytechnic branch of the Tertiary Students' Confederacy (TESCON) of the NPP at the school's auditorium on Tuesday.
     It was to brief them on the policies and programmes on education that the NPP administration would implement when voted into power.
     "We need to find a way of bridging the gap between our educational institutions, particularly, our tertiary institutions and our job market.      
     "We shall increase job creation, related to our universities by establishing technology parks near major universities that will speed up the conversion of viable research ideas into business ideas that will create wealth and jobs for our population," he said.
     Nana Akufo-Addo said the establishment of those parks would serve as vital business incubation centres and encourage the universities to go into partnership with the business community.
     The linkages, he said, would bring problems in the business sector quickly to the attention of researchers, while speeding up the adoption of research findings.
     "This will make our universities more entrepreneurial and make them vital cogs in the wheels of job-creation."
     He stressed the need to expand facilities at the primary and secondary levels while improving quality significantly.
     At the tertiary level, the NPP presidential candidate regretted that too many of the few who gained admission into the universities, normally graduated without jobs.
     For this reason, he said, those unemployed graduates should be a constant reminder that the country's educational system required significant overhaul.
     To address this problem, Nana Akufo-Addo underscored the need to ensure that "our university courses are in fields of study that are relevant to our job market".      
     "I believe that our ability to overcome these challenges will determine the future of our country. That is why I have repeatedly pledged to make education the fundamental issue of the next NPP government".
28 Nov. 08   


Social TESCON NPP 2 Accra
     Nana Akufo-Addo gave the assurance that his government would upgrade technical and vocational schools throughout the country to "Colleges of Technology," through the provision of buildings, infrastructure and teaching staff.
     "These institutions will equip our young people with skills in carpentry, masonry, welding, plumbing, landscaping and other such trades that are the life-blood of growing economies".
     Turning to polytechnic education, Nana Akufo-Addo said the country needed more first class polytechnics filled with aspiring engineers, designers, scientists, and academics who had their own dreams for the future of Ghana.
     He said these dreams could be building blocs for a future "that is tolerant, free and prosperous - a Ghana renowned for its renovation and ingenuity".        
     For Ghana to be a stronger and a more innovative nation, the NPP presidential candidate said: "Ghana must do all it can to keep the dreamers dreaming. Education is truly the soil for growing dreams, and we are now at the point where we need big dreams to finish the transformation of Ghana into a modern 21st century nation that remains distinctly and uniquely Ghanaian."      
     On adult illiteracy, Nana Akufo-Addo said his government would commit the necessary resources to have teachers and students of tertiary institutions organize evening and week-end classes to eliminate it.
     This effort, he said, would help "our illiterates to understand basic health information, basic road signs and the fundamentals of finances, so as "to make our population more effective at receiving and using information".
     On teachers and quality, Nana Akufo-Addo noted that to improve the quality of the nation's education across all levels, there was the need to put the teacher at the centre of the educational system.
     He said his administration would improve upon the NPP's programme which sought to upgrade the skills of pupil teachers and make them full-fledged professionals.
     In addition to improving the training facilities, he said "we shall pay our teachers more; pay them rural and housing allowances, and expand opportunities for distance and sandwich learning programmes to help them upgrade their skills".
      He said this would be crowned with a retirement package that would help most teachers to retire with owned homes.
      "The teacher will once again be one of the most respected persons in our community, and while there will be significant rewards in heaven, there will be a lot more for the teacher here on earth," said.

 GNA via

Friday, November 28, 2008

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Political leadership key for combating corruption

Ms Petra Maria Amegashie, Vice Presidential Candidate of the People's National Convention (PNC), on Friday identified political leadership as key for combating high-level corruption.
    "Dr Edward Nasigrie Mahama, PNC Presidential Candidate, has the capacity and will power to combat corruption irrespective of who ever commits it, strengthen anti-corruption agencies; adopt international acceptable norms, work in collaboration with international bodies such as the Integrity International and Amnesty International.
     "A PNC led government would also strengthen the security agencies and other allied bodies with the capacity to deal with corrupt officials," she said, adding; "Dr Mahama and myself would serve with dignity and integrity, set the standard for all the ministers, parliamentarians, civil society organizations and as well as public and civil servants". Ms Amegashie was speaking at the first-ever Vice Presidential Debate at Cape Coast.
     The Debate was on the general theme: "Strengthening the Pillars of Ghana's Democracy". The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) organised it for four political parties with representation in Parliament out of the seven parties contesting Election 2008.
     The other Candidates were: Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice Presidential Candidate of New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr Foster Abu Sakara of Convention People's Party (CPP) and Mr John Dramani Mahama of National Democratic Congress (NDC).
     The debate among the aspiring Vice Presidential Candidate according to IEA was to create a platform for dialoguing, discussing issues and to maintain the electioneering campaign on issues that affected the general public.
     Ms Amegashie said PNC had demonstrated its commitment to promoting gender parity in governance by heeding the call of gender activists to become the first political party to consistently nominate a woman as a running mate.
      Answering question on education, Mrs Amegashie expressed reservation about the claim by both the NPP and NDC of being the architect of Ghana Education Fund (GETFund) and the National Health Insurance Scheme, explaining that they were the brainchildren of the PNC.
     She said the GETFund was captured in the PNC 1996 Election manifesto, while the NHIS was captured in Election 2000 manifesto, "unfortunately both governments failed to acknowledge and consult the PNC for experts' advice, a situation, which has led to the teething problems the programmes encountered".
     On which experiences impressed as well as those that depressed her most during her campaign tours over the past month, Ms Amegashie said: "I came face to face with high level of poverty; people living under dilapidated condition without potable water and electricity in spite of their contribution to national development.
      "I was saddened by the plight of people living at the slums even at the urban centres. I was, however, encouraged by the willingness of the people to fight on in spite of the challenges. This gives us hope for the future."  
      Mrs Jean Mensa, IEA Administrator explained that both the Presidential and Vice Presidential Debates had offered the electorates the opportunity to make informed choices as to which political party to vote for on December 7th.
     "It has directed the campaign messages of the parties compelling them to move away from one of personality attacks, acrimony and insults, which used to characterize Sub-Saharan African political campaigns," she said.
     The debate moderated by Professor Ivan Addea Mensah, Former Vice Chancellor of University of Ghana and Mr Israel Laryea, a Broadcast Journalists, was attended by leading politicians from the various parties, academia, local and international journalists, traditional rulers and a cross-section of the general public.


Middle-income status attainable - CPP

Dr Forster Abu Sakara, Vice Presidential Candidate of Convention People's Party (CPP), on Friday said Ghana could become a middle-income country only if it increased its manufacturing capacity and made the productive sector competitive internationally.
     He said the focus should be to increase productivity by strengthening strategic investment in the agricultural sector, strong tax incentives and clear trade policies to ensure that the country's entrepreneurs became viable in both the local and international markets.
      Dr Sakara was answering questions at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) organised vice presidential candidate's debate at Cape Coast in the Central Region.
       He noted that the critical issue was not how wealth was being created but how to increase productivity and sustain it to enable the economy to stay on the path of growth, adding that government should assume the role of striking the right strategic partnership to grow the economy.
       On corruption, Dr Sakara prescribed stiffer punitive measures and the strengthening of existing State institutions to make them autonomous in holding public office holders accountable as deterrence to corruption.
   He said there should be periodic reviews of assets of public office holders and properties found to have been acquired illegally should be confiscated.
      Dr Sakara said the CPP was determined to fight corruption "and we would do this by leadership by example".
     He said the party would ensure that they put structures in place to randomly check both the central and local government as well as institute avenues for complaints of impropriety against public office holders.
     Asked how he saw his role as vice president, Dr Sakara said he would ensure that his skills would be brought to bear on the vision of the Leader of the party.
    He said he is bringing to the ticket of the CPP valuable knowledge that would ensure that the agricultural sector, which held the potential for the country's growth, was sustained.

Court to hear Dan Lartey’s suit on December 1

Mr. Dan Lartey, leader of the Ghana Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), on Friday told the Ghana News Agency at the High Court Premises that his suit against the Electoral Commission (EC) would be heard by an Accra Fast Track Court on Monday.
     Mr. Lartey instituted the legal action after the Commission had refused to accept his nomination forms as the presidential candidate of the party to contest the presidential election slated for December 7.
     His action at the court is therefore seeking an order to compel the EC to accept his nomination forms and allow him to contest the election.
     The Fast Track Court was to have heard the case on Friday, but it did not sit, hence the adjournment to Monday, December 1.

We will resign if our President condoned corruption - Vice Presidential Candidates

Three Vice Presidential Candidates for Election 2008 say they would be ready to resign if their President condoned corruption and refused to take appropriate action against corrupt government functionaries as a matter of principle.
      Mr John Dramani Mahama, Vice Presidential Candidate of National Democratic Congress (NDC), Dr Mahamudu Bawumia of New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Dr Abu Sakara of Convention People's Party (CPP), were answering questions at the Vice Presidential Debate organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) at Cape Coast on Friday.
      They were asked what they would do should they differ on principle with their President, who failed to take action against a member of Cabinet, who was found to be corrupt.
      Mr Mahama said he was sure Professor John Evans Atta Mills, as he knew him, would never countenance corruption in any form, but if it happened he would resign.
      Both Dr Bawumiah and Dr Sakara also said they would resign under similar circumstances.
      All the Vice Presidential Candidates, including Ms Petra Amegashie of People's National Convention (PNC) agreed that there was the need to fight the pervasive corruption in the country.
      While Mr Mahama criticised the way President John Agyekum Kufuor had been dealing with corruption, Dr Bawumia tried to distance Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo from it.
       The debate was organised under the theme; "Strengthening the Pillars of Ghana's Democracy" and the questions centred on economic, governance and social issues.
       All the candidates identified the need to grow the economy to improve upon the living standards of the people but each had a particular way of achieving it.
        They would adopt various ways to increase productivity including improving the work environment, condition of service and remuneration.
       They all endorsed the National Health Insurance Scheme; School Feeding Programme; special packages to bridge the development gap between the North and the South; Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) and free education at different levels.
        The Candidates pledged to improve the lot of the disabled by paying attention to their needs, such as equipping them with employable skills and providing them appropriate access to public buildings.
       They promised to pay attention to the development of other sporting disciplines in addition to soccer to enable Ghana to win more medals at international competitions.  

Ghana Elections 2008 Hold your breath

The country considered one of Africa's biggest recent successes is going to the polls. The handling of the election matters for the whole continent

LAST year oil was found off the coast of Ghana. There was rejoicing, of course. But the mood was tempered by the knowledge of how oil has polluted the nearby Niger Delta and corrupted Nigeria. More than anything, Ghanaians were seized by a determination to avoid the "resource curse" of Nigeria.

Now, with a general election on December 7th, it is the curse of the ballot box that Ghanaians want to avoid. After electoral disasters in Nigeria, Kenya and Zimbabwe in the past 18 months, everyone is hoping, and many are praying, that Ghana will avoid the bloodshed, chicanery and political warring of its African peers.

Even more so as Ghana, with annual growth rates of about 6% during the past few years, is one of Africa's few undisputed successes of the past decade. It plunged the depths of despotism and kleptocracy in the 1970s and 1980s, but has fostered an enviable reputation for individual freedom and political stability since democracy was restored in 1991. This has attracted a lot of financial and diplomatic investment. For the sake of African democracy as much as of Ghana itself, nobody wants to jeopardise all of that with the sort of chaos that hurt Kenya earlier this year.

In this respect, Ghana has several advantages over Kenya, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. It has a highly competent electoral commission, whose independence is respected by all Ghana's politicians. Above all, ordinary Ghanaians are acutely aware of the eyes of Africa and the world upon them. Foreign-aid and human-rights bodies, diplomats and church people all hold daily meetings and workshops with titles such as "Elections: Lessons from Zimbabwe and Kenya for Ghana". A sense of pan-African responsibility prevails.

Ever since Ghana became the first sub-Saharan country to win independence (from Britain) in 1957, Ghanaians have been conscious of being in the vanguard of African history. Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi of the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development says it is still the case. "There is a popular desire to maintain a record of not behaving like others on the continent in these elections. It is a point of pride."

So an electoral disaster might be avoided. But Mr Gyimah-Boadi says that the dangers are still real. For a start, as in Kenya, the two main parties, the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), are very evenly matched. This gives them every incentive to cheat, knowing that just a few votes either way could tip the balance. The parties both claim they will win the presidential ballot on the first round. Yet it is thought they are both a few percentage points shy of the 51% they need to win outright and avoid a second round.

There is also a lot of ill-feeling between the two parties. It has already provoked violence in the north. In one incident the NDC says two of its organisers were shot dead. The opposition resents the way the NPP has used its time in government to jail several NDC former ministers on charges from the time the NDC was in office in the 1990s, while taking no action against present government ministers who have been accused of corruption. NDC members talk of a political vendetta against them; many want vengeance.

On top of this, the oil discovery has raised the stakes. The winner, after all, will be looking at a bonanza of about $3 billion a year in oil revenues from as early as 2010. Never will there have been a better time to be in government in Ghana.

So it is an irony, given the charged atmosphere, that the policies of the NPP on the centre-right and the NDC on the centre-left are not that far apart. Both pledge largely to continue the more-or-less orthodox free-market policies that have served Ghana well for the past few years.

The NPP's presidential candidate, the energetic Nana Akufo-Addo, is happy to campaign on the present government's record. He trades on the popularity of the outgoing president, John Kufuor, in office since 2001. Mr Akufo-Addo, who was foreign minister and attorney-general in Mr Kufuor's two governments, hopes his experience and a pedigree as the son of a former president will help him to victory.

The NDC is led by the quieter John Atta Mills. A lawyer, academic and former vice-president, he has lost the last two elections to Mr Kufuor, so this is probably his last tilt at the presidency. His NDC talks more about social justice than the NPP does. It also has its former leader, the extrovert and populist Jerry Rawlings, on the campaign trail to stir up support. Mr Rawlings can still wow a crowd but he repels as many people as he attracts. Many recall his thuggish ways as president in the 1980s; he is as much a liability as an asset to the NDC.

In the end, the two parties' differences have come to be encapsulated in the saga of the new presidential palace. Now almost finished, this huge building is shaped like an Ashanti stool to symbolise that ancient source of authority. It is bold and showy but also hugely expensive. Nobody knows for sure, but the bill could be as high as $50m. The NDC argues that this, as well as new presidential jets, is a wasteful extravagance in a country where many people are still miserably poor. The NDC also says the haziness of the accounts points to corruption and a lack of accountability.

The NPP ripostes that such a building was long overdue. Until now, the presidential offices have been in a former Danish slaving castle by the port of Accra. "If ever there was an inappropriate symbol of the new Ghana, that was it," snaps Mr Akufo-Addo. The new building represents the nation's growing self-confidence and dignity. And anyway, the would-be president adds, it was built with Indian money—a sign of global interest in the new Ghana.

source :

Ghana Elections 2008 Related Violence Goes Down

There is an appreciable reduction in the number of election-related violence in the country, the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) and the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) have observed.

This was stated in their second report on election-related violence ahead of the 2008 general election.
The report covered the period between October 22 and November 6, 2008 and is a follow-up to the first report released in late October 2008.

It captures findings received from 25 observers deployed in 26 constituencies and the project is supported by the German Mission in Ghana.

According to the two organisations, election-related violence had dropped from 42 to 20 in 26 constituencies.
They said that relative improvement might be attributed to the peace educational activities that were ongoing on throughout the country.
"The attention given by the media and other civil society groups to the violence-prone constituencies carried in our first report may have contributed to the reduction in election-related violence in those communities," the report said.

According to the summary of the latest report, the Upper East Region recorded the highest incidents of election-related violence during the period, and that "the Bawku Central and Bongo constituencies in the Upper East Region are repeat offenders of election-related violence".

"In the Northern Region, the Yendi Constituency is increasingly becoming a hot spot. There is growing tension between supporters of the independent candidate and those of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate in the constituency," it said.

It said the Tamale metropolis continued to be a volatile area, with reports of stockpiling of arms for election violence, adding that there was also growing fear of a spill-over of the Gushegu conflict into the Mion Constituency in the Northern Region.

The report indicated that the Odododiodoo Constituency in the Greater Accra Region was a potential trouble spot for election-related violence, explaining that "as a result of rapid changes in the demography of the constituency, with a high concentration of people of northern descent, there is growing fear that the several chieftaincy disputes (Abudu/Andani, Mamprusi/Kusasi) are being imported into the constituency by the new settlers from conflict areas".

It said the NPP and the NDC were the perpetrators and victims of election-related violence and that observations carried out in the 26 selected constituencies confirmed the potential for actual violence in parts of the Northern Region, as the various militant youth groups identified in its earlier report were still very active in the Tamale metropolis.

In its main findings, it said Bawku Central recorded the highest incidence of defacement of party posters and that posters belonging to the two main political parties — the NDC and the NPP — were the most affected.

"The most serious threat of violence occurred in the Tolon Constituency. A chieftaincy conflict, with political undertones, is brewing in the area," it said, stating that the Regent of Nyankpala, a known sympathiser of an opposition party, was suspected to be trying to install two sub-chiefs in two villages noted to be strongholds of the ruling party (Kpalsogu and Golinga) in the Tolon-Kumbungu District.

It said people in the two villages had vowed to resist the installation of the chiefs in their communities by the Regent and stressed the need for the situation to be handled carefully so that it did not degenerate into violence, given the history of politicised chieftaincy disputes in the region.

The CDD and CODEO, in their recommendations, called on the authorities in the Tamale metropolis to proactively follow up on the rumours of stockpiling of arms at Kalariga.

"The REGSEC and the Regional House of Chiefs should prevail upon the Regent of Nyankpala to suspend the installation of chiefs in his traditional area till the end of the year. The security agencies in Yendi should increase security patrols in the town and intensify the monitoring of political activities in the area.

"Joint police and military presence at political rallies in Yendi is highly recommended in the last days leading to December 7," it said.
The speedy trial of suspects, it said, would help build confidence in the judicial system, as the perception of selective justice was creating a culture of impunity, especially in some parts of the Northern Region.

It said the police should be seen to be enforcing the laws, particularly the issuance of permits for political rallies in the same area, and that the police must follow up on rumours and allegations, including those of vote buying in the Volta Region, investigate them and prosecute offenders, if any.

"We entreat the media to continue to put their focus on peace education as election day approaches. We call on all stakeholders to intensify peace education throughout the country, especially communities noted for election-related violence," it emphasised.

daily graphic

The December 7 General Election - Go Out & Vote, Your Safety Is Assured - Dr Amoo

National Security Co-ordinator, Dr Sam G. Amoo, is urging voters to go out in their numbers to exercise their franchise without fear because the security agencies have put in place adequate measures to ensure the safety of all Ghanaians.

He said the electorate should disabuse their minds of violence on election day or thereafter, as portrayed by sections of the media and some politicians to create fear and panic among the populace.

"The security agencies assure all that we are ready to fulfil our mandate with regard to the forthcoming elections. We shall provide a secure and congenial environment for all to play by the rules. We shall be fair and robust," Dr Amoo told the Daily Graphic.

He said a rapid response strategy had been designed with standby forces in place to react promptly to reinforce and contain any crisis situation.

"Specialised police units like the Rapid Deployment Force, the Armoured Car Squadron, the Mounted Squadron, the Striking Force and multi-purpose vehicles would be deployed, together with appropriate military contingents, as part of the rapid response strategy," he said.

Dr Amoo said joint patrols would be intensified, while the necessary strategies had been mapped out to deal with all the flash points identified by the security forces.

On logistics, he said more than 300 pick-ups had been procured for the task force operations, while the Ministry of Education had confirmed its readiness to release an additional 300 vehicles to the National Security Council Secretariat for use in the regions and districts for security activities during the elections.

The National Security Co-ordinator said all ministries, departments and agencies were to release all available vehicles to the regional and district co-ordinating councils by the close of December 4, 2008 for the transportation of security personnel for election duties throughout the country.

He said arrangements had also been made with the GPRTU, PROTOA and M-Plaza for the hiring of additional vehicles to support the transporting of security personnel to the various regions and districts.

"A comprehensive communication plan to cover the whole country for the operations of the election security task force has been put in place. Equipment for the communication strategy includes VHS radios, a national security communication system and Kasapa cellular phones," he added.

Dr Amoo recalled that the readiness of the security agencies was tested and rehearsed through nation-wide police/military joint training exercises between November 3 and 17, 2008.

He said the National Security Secretariat was convinced that on the D-day all concerned agencies would function like a seamless operational machine to achieve the ultimate goal of ensuring a secure and enabling environment for a free, fair and transparent electoral process.
He explained that while the activities and operations of the election security task forces were ongoing, the regional and district security committees would continue to function, stressing that "military and police commands will continue to operate in their traditional roles, with overlap responsibility with the various rapid response forces within their areas of responsibility".

He said the Ghana National Fire Service would continue to play its traditional roles but would also be on standby to respond to any fire outbreak.

Dr Amoo was confident that the good people of Ghana would support and work with the security agencies to maintain peace with fairness and firmness.

"Lest we forget, we are a people who have gone through a lot in our young history: We have been freed (1957), we have been liberated (1966), redeemed (1972), revolutionised (1979 and 1981) and eventually we have achieved democratic dispensation. This, we believe, Ghanaians are all determined to keep," he added.

daily graphic via

Journalists schooled on election coverage

A day's workshop to remind the media of its responsibility in ensuring free, fair, credible and peaceful elections was held in Accra with a call on journalists to do more in-depth research into their news reports.
     The workshop organized by the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) with financial support from the Canadian High Commission brought together reporters from the various media houses in Accra.
     Mr Ransford Tetteh, President of the GJA, said the workshop although late, would provide the opportunity to evaluate media coverage and strengthen the commitment of the media to promoting free and fair election through accurate, balanced and credible reportage.
     He said indications were that despite challenges the Ghanaian media remained determined to improve on their coverage of elections, which were prime and vital instruments for the establishment of democracy.
     The GJA president said since the promulgation of the 1992 Constitution the country had come a long way in holding elections as part of the process of deepening multi-party democracy, and the Ghanaian media had undoubtedly played a very critical role in the attainment of this political culture.
     "We are confident that the Ghanaian media will again rise to the occasion by exhibiting high professional standards, integrity and media accountability in the coverage of the December 7 polls and raise public confidence in them to promote good governance and social cohesion," he said.
     Mr Tetteh announced that the Ghana International Press Centre with the permission from the Electoral Commission had entered into a venture with Sedeli & Mobile Content Enterprises to disseminate election results by SMS message to mobile phone users.
     The centre, he said, would also serve as a media resource centre and election relay and dissemination point.
     Outlining other activities that would take place at the centre on Election Day, Mr. Tetteh mentioned mounting of a giant public scoreboard, a live band to liven up journalists and the public who would be awaiting results at the centre.
     Mr. Micheal Gort, Charge d'Affaires of Canadian High Commission, said it was the hope of Canada that Ghana with its tremendous democratic gains previously democracy would continue to mature in Ghana and that the upcoming election would be free, fair and peaceful.
     "The world is watching Ghana. Not only are these elections important for the country, but they are for Africa as a whole. After the failure of elections in Kenya and Zimbabwe, the world is asking if there is a future for democracy in Africa. Ghana has the potential to provide an answer: that free and fair elections are still possible and that violence and power-sharing arrangements are the exception, rather than the norm," he said.
     "An election that goes well can further strengthen a maturing democracy but an election that goes badly can easily destroy the democratic gains that have taken so many years and decades to make," he added.
     He announced that Canada through the Canadian International Development Agency was also supporting other election-related activities.
     Mr Yaw Boadu Ayeboafoh, General Manager of Graphic Communications Group Limited, stressed the need for the media to give equal coverage to all political parties irrespective of their popularity or size.

Government’s educational programmes have been beneficial – Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, Minister of State and Member of Parliament for Suame Constituency, has observed that Government's educational policies and programmes had made education accessible and affordable to children.
     He said it had in addition, increased enrolment in schools from 2.7 million to five million.
     Mr Mensah-Bonsu made the observation when addressing a rally organised by Suame Constituency Secretariat of NPP at Anomangye and Kropo in Kumasi.
     He said the Peoples' Assembly Concept introduced by NPP had deepened democracy, good governance and development of Ghana.
     Mr Mensah-Bonsu said Government was committed to the development of all communities in the country and provision of classroom blocks, hospitals, clinics, access roads, electricity, potable water and other basic social amenities for the people.
     He said the NPP under President John Agyekum Kufuor had laid a solid foundation for socio-economic development in the country and was optimistic his successor Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo would be given the mandate to continue.
     Mr Mensah-Bonsu said Nana Akufo-Addo would continue to pursue sound socio-economic policies on agriculture, industries and other sectors to contribute meaningfully to the economy by providing jobs for the people and improve on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
     He noted that most Ghanaians had accepted the NPP Government as the best in Ghana's political history and urged the electorate to renew its mandate to continue with the country's development.
     Mr Mensah-Bonsu announced that some communities in the constituency including Old and New Suame, Kwapra, Kronom, Bremang, Abusuakruwa, Maakro and Kropo had been provided with basic infrastructure to enhance their living standards.
     Mr Badu Boahen, Suame Constituency Chairman of NPP educated the electorate on the voting procedure and advised them to exercise their franchise on December 7 and vote massively for the NPP.

Reduce petroleum prices - Prof. Mills

The flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Professor John Evans Atta Mills, has called on the government to listen to the genuine complaints of the people and implement policies to reduce their suffering.

He said when crude oil prices were rising on the world market; prices of the product in the country were constantly adjusted upwards to march the world market price.

Professor Mills said yet when the world market price of the product fell to almost half the highest price that it rose to, the prices of petroleum products in the country had not been adjusted to correspond to current market price, making life unbearable to ordinary citizens.

He was speaking at a mini rally at Amanase in the Ayensuano constituency on Thursday as part of his five- day tour of the Eastern Region, which started on Wednesday.

He assured teachers in the country that if by the "Grace of God" he becomes the President of the country after the December general elections, he would improve their service conditions and enhance their dignity in the society.

Earlier at a similar rally at Suhum, he assured the people that if voted into power, he would provide the security agencies with all the needed equipment that would enable them to stop the serial killings going on in the town.

Prof Mills said he had worked with many of the security agencies in the country and assured that many of the personnel were prepared to lay down their lives for the good of the country, but was lacking the necessary equipment and motivation to enable them give of their best.

He said the country could not move forward with high corruption, dishonesty, arrogance and promotion and usage of cocaine as the country was being witnessed in recent times.

Prof. Mills assured the people of Ghana of hard working, honesty and humble leadership if elected President on December 7.

Prof Mills and his entourage also visited Begoro, Kwabeng and Nkyenoa.

Source: GNA

Ghana Elections 2008 heading for re-run- Ben Ephson

The editor of the Dispatch newspaper, Ben Ephson, has predicted a second round of balloting in the December presidential elections.

The pollster and political analyst said his analysis of the trends in various opinion polls provides grounds that a run-off would not be a remote possibility.

"It looks like we are heading for a re-run," Mr Ephson told Paul Adom Okyere, host of Good Evening Ghana, a political analysis show on Accra-based Metro TV.

Although he would not predict specific numerical outcomes, Mr Ephson said the candidates of the two major parties, the ruling New Patriotic Party and the opposition National Democratic Congress would have to brace themselves for a second contest which will be 21 days after the first ballot.

The 60-minute programme beamed with two of Ghana's finest morning show hosts, Joy FM's Kojo Oppong Nkrumah and Peace FM's Kwame Sefa-Kayi.

The panelists discussed issues bothering mainly on the up-coming elections and the preparation of their media house ahead of the national exercise.

Mr Oppong Nkrumah raised doubts about a possible re-run in the face of recent developments in the political arena, especially the "Nduom factor" which could have somewhat shifted the balance of popular opinion.

Recent attacks launched at Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, flag-bearer of the Convention People's Party (CPP), may have reduced confidence in the Nkrumaist fraternity.

The party's youth organiser Kwabena Bomfeh Jnr. had in a letter, circulated to the party leadership, challenged Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom to purge himself of newspaper allegations that he had been negotiating for ministerial positions with the NPP and the NDC, and also creating parallel structures within the party. Dr. Nduom has denied all charges against him.

Mr Sefa-Kayi maintained that a lot had changed in the media due the elections.

For the panelists, the need for a peaceful and a violent-free ballot must drive discussions and comments in the media.


Media asked to protect democracy

The Director of the School of Communication Studies of the University of Ghana, Dr Audrey Gadzepko has called on the media to be vigilant to protect Ghana's democracy.
"There is a history of reversal of democracy in Africa therefore the media must be vigilant," she said.
She said this at a workshop on Election Coverage for Political Reporters held at the Ghana International Press Centre in Accra today.
It was organised by the Ghana Journalists Association and sponsored by the Canadian High Commission.
Dr Gadzekpo said the media was central to electoral arrangements, adding that "we are too important to screw up."
She advised the media not to feed their consumers with negative reportage, saying that they should check their facts before going public with their information.
The Charge d'Affaires at the Canadian High Commission, Mr Michael Gort in a remark said an election that went well could strengthen a maturing democracy.
He said the media could play "a huge role in the ultimate success or failure of an election."
"Without freedom of speech and a free press, no election can be truly democratic," he said.
The workshop also discussed the GJA Guidelines on Election Coverage and covered areas like accuracy and fairness, bribes and other inducements, political affiliation, endorsement of candidates and reporting election disputes among others.
Mr Yaw Boadu Ayeboafoh, General Manager, Graphic Communications Group Limited also addressed the workshop.
It was moderated by Dr Doris Dartey, a Communications Consultant and Educator.


Dr Mahama says PNC government will provide equal opportunities

Dr Edward Nasigre Mahama, the presidential candidate of the People's National Convention (PNC), has pledged equal opportunities for all Ghanaians if he is elected president.

He said this at a regional rally at Bolgatanga on Wednesday that attracted party supporters from all the region's 13 constituencies.
Dr Mahama said under the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) governments, opportunities in most sectors of the country were based on partisan lines.

 "If you are not a member of any of the two parties you are denied opportunities especially in terms of jobs. Under my government equal opportunities will be provided for all without discrimination and based only on merit."
He said he would give priority to education particularly in Science, Mathematics and Information Technology.
Dr Mahama said he would ensure provision of quality and affordable healthcare to all Ghanaians and the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) would cover everyone.
He would introduce a "Health Management Organization" to ensure that every Ghanaian goes for regular check up.
Dr Mahama said he would build dams and sheanut factories in the three northern regions to provide employment for the people to prevent them from migrating to do menial jobs in the southern parts of the country.
Mr. David Apasera, the Member of Parliament for the Bolgatanga Central Constituency, appealed to the electorate to vote for the party and said he had brought numerous development projects to the area.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Media accreditation for Dec 7 Election

Journalists, both local and foreign and their crew going to cover the December 7 polls are requested to submit their passport-size photographs to the Ghana International Press Centre for accreditation by the Electoral Commission.

Applicants must state their name and their media organisation. Local media organisations are advised to submit a group application which should be endorsed by their Editors or head of organisation.

In the case of foreign media personnel they must first register with the Ministry of Information and National Orientation which will assist them to pass their documents to the Press Centre. Foreign applicants will be required to produce their press cards.

Applications should be labeled "Media Accreditation for December 2008 Election" and addressed to the Director, Ghana International Press Centre.

The deadline for the submission of application is Monday, December 1, 2008.

Applicants for special voting which takes place on December 2, 2008 should state their name, age, media organization, constituency polling station and voter identity card number.

All individual and group applications are to be labeled Media Special Voting.

Regional GJA executives are to take charge of the two exercises in the various regions and submit applications to the Regional Director of the Electoral Commission.

source : daily graphic

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

NPP failed to stimulate agriculture - Mahama

Mr. John Dramani Mahama, Vice Presidential Candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on Tuesday said over the past seven
years the New Patriotic Party (NPP) failed to move the fortunes of the country's agriculture.
     "With the notable exception of the cocoa sector whose output increases have largely been a function of the HI-tech technology, the crisis in the Cote d'Ivoire and persistently high world market prices since 2001, all other sub-sectors of agriculture have either stagnated or performed poorly," he said.
     Interacting with the National and Regional executive committee members of the Ghana National Association of farmers and Fishermen (GNAFF) Mr. Mahama said excessive imports of rice, poultry products, and fish led to depreciation of domestic output and a deepening of rural poverty.
     He said, "the next NDC Government is resolved to tackle the issue of agricultural modernization most seriously and reverse the unsavoury trends in the sector.            
     "Poultry, rice, cotton and food crop production will be revamped; the most critical problems of the canoe fishermen – policing of the Ghanaian territorial waters to ward of foreign fishing trawlers which also damage the gear of local fishermen; the availability and the appropriate pricing of pre-mix fuel will be resolved within the first 100 days of gaining power."
     Mr Mahama said the NDC Government had appropriate plans to grow the sector at a minimum rate of 6 per cent per annum and make the sector the driving force of the over-all economic growth.
     The NDC Administration would involve the various Farmers' and Fishermen's Associations and solicit for their inputs and cooperation in the prosecution of its agricultural agenda.
     Mr. Mahama said, "Together we should make farming and agriculture a dignified and rewarding proposition and the most important sector of the economy – the recent oil find not withstanding."

NDC to invest in genuine social dialogue

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) on Tuesday spelled out its industrial relations agenda, saying it would invest more in genuine social dialogue and collective bargaining to ensure that peaceful industrial relations and the orderly and speedy settlement of disputes were achieved. 
     It said it was an NDC government that initiated the major law reform process to overhaul, update and codify the country's labour legislations culminating in the passage of the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651). 
     "With the passage of the Act the expectation of all the social partners was that the necessary flexibility will be injected into the labour market and that industrial relations will move away from the fire-fighting model to a more proactive system aided solidly by bipartite and tripartite co-operation and collaboration," Mr John Mahama, vice presidential candidate of the party said in an address to civil servants and other labour unions in Accra. 
     He said an NDC-led government would work with organized labour and other social partners to actualize the vision of the Labour Act and to deepen, refine and fine-tune its provisions, if necessary, to give it more impetus and vitality.
     On the National Labour Commission (NLC), he said the party was aware of the difficulties it faced such as, inadequate budgetary allocation and human resource constraint; the limitation on its ability to enforce legitimate labour decisions for instance, on the arbitrary termination of appointment of workers. 
     Mr Mahama said there will be minimum delay in establishing the full complement, both in quality and quantity, of commissioners of the NLC and employees, pointing out that the present situation, where there was only one legal expert serving on the commission was grossly unacceptable. 
     "The establishment of structures of the Commission at the Regional level will receive early attention and will be carried out in phases."
     Mr Mahama noted that the District structures will take a while to establish due to the expected large financial and human resource commitments the exercise will require. 
     "Just as the NDC found time-tested mechanisms during its tenure, to alleviate extreme difficulties associated with the funding of education, road construction and maintenance, and export development so shall it find the means to help the NLC resource itself to enable it exert its independence and deliver on its mandate without fear or favour."
     On a strategic public sector wage policy, Mr Mahama said, in line with its social democratic ideology the NDC was committed to social justice, equity and the constitutional principle of equal pay for work of equal value.    
     It would therefore work expeditiously with labour towards the formulation and adoption of an agreement on a strategic wage policy framework covering all labour groups in the public sector. 
     "While taking on board as appropriate the new reforms initiated by the NPP government, we will ensure the introduction of a unified single spine salary structure for all workers in the public sector."
     Mr Mahama said an NDC government would "promote a new order of salary administration whose hallmark shall be rationality, consistency, equity, social justice and the constitutional principle of equal pay for work of equal value".
     He said the party was committed to the setting of minimum daily wage as a way of providing a safety net for the vulnerable and a guide to employers.     
     "The ultimate aspiration of our party, indeed, is to achieve a living wage for working people.  The inability of the economy to meet this commitment has always been cited as the black spot. 
     "I do not believe that this country is too poor to meet this commitment if we manage our resources in a more rational manner and pick our priorities right. 
     "The NDC shall do well to harness revenues from cocoa, gold, and non-traditional value added exports as well as the anticipated oil export to motivate workers to increase productivity and grow the economy for the benefit of all."
     On Housing, the NDC said available data indicated that the housing deficit was in excess of 500,000 units, whilst housing supply growth varied between 25,000 and 40,000 units per annum, against annual requirements of about 100,000. 
     He said the NDC intended to introduce a number of interventions that will accelerate shelter provision, particularly for low-income earners. 
     These include granting of tax credits and other incentives for private estate developers who would explore the production and use of improved local materials and appropriate technology in the built industry to bring down the cost of buildings.