Monday, November 9, 2009



November 11-14, 2009

Accra, Ghana


The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD), Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will co-sponsor  a Colloquium on African Elections from 1214 November 2009 in Accra, Ghana. 


The colloquium will review the challenges and best practices in the conduct of elections in Africa, with a particular focus on lessons that could be shared from Ghana's 2008 electoral process.


Approximately 100 participants from 25 African countries will attend the colloquium.  Participants will include elections commissioners, political party leaders, civic advocates, leaders of elections monitoring groups, journalists and high level officials of security services that oversee peace building and law enforcement missions around elections.


The Colloquium on African Elections: Best Practices and Cross-Sectoral Collaboration will seek to address two critical points:


1)    the effective performance of entities involved in the electoral process and

2)    the linkages that should exist among stakeholders, and how to foster cross-sectoral collaboration during elections. 


Examining the strengths and weaknesses of the Ghanaian electoral process and how it compares with other African countries will facilitate sharing knowledge and strengthening linkages among different sectors of the electoral process.  The anticipated outcome of discussions at the colloquium will be to identify guidelines on how to conduct credible elections, ease political tensions, enhance transparency, and facilitate the acceptance of genuine election results by political contestants and their supporters.  Sharing best practices among African practitioners will enhance prospects for democratic elections across the continent and inspire professional conduct among various stakeholders in countries preparing for upcoming elections. The Consortium of organizers are hoping to compile the cases of best practices in elections in Africa and publish on a book form.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

welcome back

welcome back to ghana elections 2008

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Biometric voters register key mechanism against multiple voting

Seven political parties through the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) on Tuesday identified biometric system of voter's registration as a key mechanism against multiple voting and impersonation in Ghana's electoral system.

The IPAC therefore, charged the Electoral Commission (EC) to initiate systematic procedures to use the biometric mechanism for capturing data in preparation of the next voters register. "This is very necessary to deal authoritatively with practices of multiple voting and impersonation that tend to undermine public confidence in declared election results," the seven parties stated in a communiqu=E9 issued at the end of a three-day self-assessment forum at Akosombo.

The self-assessment forum was organised by the EC in collaboration with KAB Governance Consult and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) under the "Safeguarding the Integrity of the Ballot Project".

The parties are the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), New Patriotic Party (NPP), Convention Peoples' Party, Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), and Reformed Patriotic Democrats (RPD) stated at the fourth in a series of post election self-assessment consultative forum. Other parties that participated are; Ghana National Party (GNP), Peoples National Convention (PNC), and the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP).

The parties also called on the government to provide the necessary resources on a regular basis for the EC to discharge its responsibilities. The parties also recommended a total replacement of the current voters' register, and tasked EC to streamline the procedures for compilation of the Transfer, Proxy and Special Voting list and increase the number of polling stations as well as review the number of voters per polling station.

In an interview with Ghana News Agency, however, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, EC Chairman welcomed the idea of biometric system but cautioned that the nation should hasten cautiously. The EC Chairman outlined modalities for a completely new voter's register for the 2012 general elections, including adoption of modern technologies and biometric registration to deal with the electoral hiccups.

Dr. Afari-Gyan indicated that however that it could be possible for the nation to phase into the biometric registration system after the national census in 2010.

IPAC also agreed to play by the roles governing political parties operations in the country, to ensure free, fair and transparent elections in the future to reduce tension such as the nation experienced during Elections 2008.

The political parties and other democratic stakeholders at the forum also commended the media for their role in Elections 2008 but tasked the National Media Commission and Ghana Journalists Association to watch against negative reportage which created confusion.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ghana Election: Parties want new register

Issues concerning security and the need for a new voters register dominated a three-day Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting which opened at Akosombo in the Eastern Region yesterday.

The meeting involves the Electoral Commission (EC) and all the political parties in the country and although the opening ceremony was held in camera, some of the participants the Daily Graphic spoke to expressed various views on the last general election.

Mr Huudu Yahaya, one of the representatives of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), suggested that since the EC had admitted that the register for the 2008 elections had been bloated and the figures were more than what was statistically acceptable, it must be replaced with a new one.

That, he said, would make future elections more credible.

He also said the NDC was of the view that during general elections, representatives of political parties must be strategically placed at polling stations to observe the process, especially the counting of votes.

He also suggested that the EC must furnish the political parties on the movement of electoral materials to the voting centres.

Nana Ohene-Ntow of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) suggested the setting up of an IPAC security task force to complement the work of the state security apparatus to monitor future general elections, adding that such an initiative would not make it possible for macho men engaged by political parties to intimidate voters at the polling stations on voting day.
He also said the counting of votes must be done at selected centres, instead of at the polling stations, to make it impossible for people to interrupt the counting process.

For his part, Mr Bernard Monarh of the People's National Convention (PNC) suggested that voting in future elections must start from 6 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. to make it possible for the counting of the votes to be done before nightfall.

That, he stated, would prevent the snatching of ballot boxes which normally occurred in the night.

The Democratic People's Party's (DPP's) Mr Thomas Ward-Brew called for a constitutional review to make it mandatory for the state to sponsor political parties, while Mr Ivor Greenstreet of the Convention People's Party (CPP) proposed the streamlining of the process for the replacement of lost voter identity cards.

The political parties being represented are the ruling NDC, the NPP, the CPP, the PNC, the Great Consolidated People's Party (GCPP), the National Reform Party (N'RP), the New Vision Party (NVP), the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), the DPP and the Reform Patriotic Democrats (RPD).

The event, on the theme, "Safeguarding the Integrity of the Ballot", is to review the 2008 elections with the view to ensuring the integrity of future general elections so that their results will be acceptable to all participating parties.

It is being organised by the EC, in collaboration with the CAB Governance Consult, with funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

The NDC is being represented by Messrs Yahaya and Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, the party's National Vice-Chairman and the National Organiser, respectively, while Nana Ohene-Ntow, the General Secretary of the NPP, is leading his party's team, with the CPP being represented by Mr Greenstreet, the party's General Secretary.

The PNC is led by Mr Monarh, its General Secretary, with the DPP being represented by its leader and founder, Mr Ward-Brew.

All the other political parties are being represented by some of their national executives.

Source: Daily Graphic

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Kofi Jumah sues Radio Gold, Raymond Archer, et al

A Former Mayor of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, Maxwell Kofi Jumah, has sued Radio Gold for what he says are false information they spread about him a day before last year's presidential election run-off.

Other respondents in the suit are Capital Radio in Kumasi, Deputy Information Minister, James Agyenim Boateng, who was Morning show host on Radio Gold at the time and the Managing Editor of the Enquirer newspaper, Raymond Archer.

The plaintiff who spoke on Peace FM, is claiming GH¢100,000 each from Radio Gold and Capital Radio and GH¢25,000 each from Archer and Boateng.

On the eve of the presidential run-off last year, the two radio stations were said to have broadcast audio tapes alleged to be recordings of a meeting addressed by the plaintiff at which he was allegedly planning to rig the election.

According to the broadcasts, the plaintiff promised huge sums of money to a group of young men who were supposed to carry out the operations to rig the poll.

He also allegedly assured the operatives of immunity from prosecution.

The meeting was said to have been held in the then campaign director of the New Patriotic Party, Jake Obetsebi Lamptey's house.

In attendance, according to the claims, was the Member of Parliament for New Juaben, Hackman Owusu Agyeman.

All the three persons named have denied any such meeting ever took place.

Nonetheless, the tapes which had Raymond Archer and Agyenim Boateng run extensive commentary on them, gained currency at the time.

Unhappy about the issue, Mr. Kofi Jumah who was alleged to have spearheaded the meeting says he has gone to court to seek redress for his damaged reputation.

When one of the defendants, James Agyenim Boateng was reached by Peace FM for comment, he said he had not been served any writ yet.

He would not speak to the authenticity of the tapes in question, arguing he would state his case in court if the case got there.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Electoral officers upgrade skills

Electoral Commission members and senior officials from election management bodies in West and Central Africa on Monday engaged in a specialised training programme designed to improve the skills, knowledge and confidence of election administrators.

The five-day workshop based on a capacity-building curriculum known as "the BRIDGE Project" (Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections) is being organised by the African Union and International IDEA.

Mr. Theophilus Dowetin, IDEA West Africa Programme Manager, expressed concern about the lack of a university awarding degree in election administration on the continent even though recent events in Africa remind us of how important credible elections are and that democracy requires the continuous building and strengthening its institutions and process.

He said: "Election management is the greatest logistics event any country may undertake in peace times; for elections to be free and fair and to produce a credible result the body organising the elections needs to have independence, integrity and professionalism.

"The BRIDGE training curriculum focuses on the professional development of election administrators – recognising that this is one of the essential ingredients for a successful election."

Mr Dowetin said the aim of the Accra BRIDGE "Professional Development Training (PDT) Course" includes providing a platform for analysing global trends, standards, principles, practices and processes in election management; build professional networks amongst practitioners; and enhance leadership competencies in sustainable election management

Mr William Williams, Australian High Commissioner in Ghana, said Australia was pleased to be associated with the professionalisation of election administration in the respective countries of participants.

About 21 election administrators from 11 Africa countries Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Comoros, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Mali, Senegal and Togo- are attending the course with funding from the Australian Government.

Source: GNA

Media ownership by politicians threat to democracy

Prof. Kwame Karikari, Executive Director of Media Foundation for West Africa has described as dangerous the situation where politicians were constantly owning media houses and throwing ethics and professionalism to the wind.

He said politicians were also using such media to persecute their political opponents.

Prof. Karikari who was sharing his thought during a symposium on "Reflecting on the first 100 days of Prof. Atta Mills's Presidency" organised by the Danquah Institute in Accra on Monday, called for urgent steps to pass the Broadcasting Bill to law to save the nation from drifting to a civil war similar to what happened in Rwanda.

He said the dangerous utterances of some radio presenters and leading members of some political parties on FM Stations during the 2008 elections could have slipped the country into the brink of a civil war.

He alleged that some of the personalities who perpetuated such dangerous acts on radio had been rewarded with ministerial appointments and described the December 7, 2008, till the day the final results were declared as "the worse time in the media in Ghana".

According to Prof. Karikari, the knee jerk reaction of the director-general of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) to a complain by some activist of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) about the composition of panelists of a television programme had a semblance of censorship which should not be allowed to happen again.

He said another problem that the media in Ghana was facing was how to be critical without being partisan and how to be adversarial with decent language.

He added that those who have been able to achieve these virtues had made their mark as very objective and respected media houses in the country.

Mr Kweku Sakyi-Addo, a broadcast journalist expressed worry about a recent directive from the Ministry of Information urging all foreign media practitioners who wanted to film documentary of some parts of the country to seek clearance from the ministry ,and also show such films to the ministry before they could be broadcast in their home country.

He said the directive which was issued in March 2009 and withdrawn later was similar to another one issued in 1999.

He added that it was of no use because of the current information technology architecture, where even cellular phones could be used to film any part of the country and posted on the Internet for the whole world to view.

Mr Sakyi-Addo described the move as a kind of censorship "in a cottage industry within the Ministry of Information" and also could create room for some unscrupulous civil servants to extort money from some foreign media practitioners.

He suggested that just as countries with high crime and HIV / AIDS rate like South Africa and Nigeria had been able to tell the world about their best part, Ghana must also emulate such example and refrain from censoring foreign media.

Mr Raymond Archer, the Editor-in-Chief of The Enquirer, wondered why President J.E.A. Mills saddled himself with a lO0-day promise instead masking for a honeymoon to settle down properly.

He appealed to the media in Ghana to channel their pages and time on their airways to productive use and not to throw mud at each other in the profession.

Source: Daily Graphic

NPP damns NDC over 'revised election manifesto'

The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has accused the National Democratic Congress (NDC) of surreptitiously revising its 2008 manifesto to evade the fulfillment of all its electoral promises.

The NPP believes the move is a deception and a fraud against the people of Ghana.

Addressing a press conference in Accra to officially review the government's 100 days, the Chairman of the party, Peter Mac Manu, said the government had shown it was weak and lacks ideas to develop the country.

According to him, the NDC had expunged the promises from the manifesto recognizing that it was incapable of delivering on them.

"In a show of mediocrity and lack of faith in its own abilities, the vision of taking Ghana to middle income status by 2015 has been shifted to 2020."

Mr. Mac Manu claimed that on page six of the original NDC manifesto, the NDC promised to motivate teachers by improving salaries, accommodation and retirement benefits.

"They said they were going to pay licensed teachers and professionals allowance of 15 per cent of the basic salary, pay technical and vocational teachers an additional 10 per cent of their basic salary and lastly, they said they were going to pay teachers in deprived areas an additional 20 per cent of their basic salary," he pointed out.

But in the revised manifesto, he contended, all the promises catalogued earlier have been taken out. "This is the deceit we are talking about."

The NPP Chairman also enumerated increases in prices of commodities, fuel price hikes and possible tariff increases in utilities and argued the government was simply incapable of dealing with the economic problems of the country.

He consequently called on the government to call a crisis meeting with economic experts within 21 days to discuss and find solutions to the debilitating economic challenges of the country.

He also called on all Ghanaians, regardless of their political persuasions, to help the government to fix the moribund economy of the country. "It is a duty we owe to our motherland."

Responding to the claims, Information Minister, Zita Okaikoi told Joy News the NDC had only one manifesto, as far as she knew.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Ghana: General election a lesson in democracy

Jean Mensa

On December 7, 2008, Ghana's Democracy was for the fifth successive time, put to the test. Eight million, two hundred thousand people went to the polls to elect a President and two hundred and thirty Parliamentarians to decide the political fate of Ghana for the next four years.


The stakes for this year's elections were high for a number of reasons. Firstly, the two largest Parties in Ghana, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) having served two terms each, sought to break the deadlock to determine who the most dominant force was. Secondly, this was the third successive-and most likely the last time- that Professor John Atta Mills, the Flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress was contesting the Presidential Elections. This election was therefore a make-or-break for him. Again, one of the smaller Parties, the Convention People's Party (CPP) seemed to have suddenly woken up from its long slumber with the selection of Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom as its Flagbearer. The Party was therefore tipped to cause a major upset this year. Furthermore, this was also the first time in the Fourth Republic where neither a President nor his Vice was seeking re-election. Finally, for the first time, there were as many as eight Candidates contesting the Presidential Election –

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo-New Patriotic Party,
Dr. Edward Nasigrie Mahama –Peoples' National Convention
Prof. John Evans Atta Mills –National Democratic Congress
Mr. Emmanuel Asante Antwi- Democratic Freedom Party
Mr. T. N. Ward -Brew Democratic Peoples' Party
Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom-Convention Peoples'Party
Mr. Kwabena Adjei-Reformed Patriotic Democrats
Mr. Kwesi Amoafo-Yeboah -Independent Candidate



The campaign period was an exciting one. The four Parties with representation in Parliament did all in their power to woo voters. There were songs, catch phrases like "we are moving forward (NPP), "Ye re Sesamu" literally meaning we are changing things (CPP), "Change you can trust (NDC), and "real change, real hope (PNC)"; dances, radio and television adverts and above all, well -prepared and thought -out Manifestoes to display.

The NPP campaign was by far the most attractive and the most media-intensive. The NDC on the other hand initially embarked on a modest house –to- house campaign, which was later augmented by a media-savvy campaign. Perhaps, the most impressive (considering their showing in the last twelve years) was the CPP whose slick media campaign and solid showing of their Presidential Candidate in 'The IEA Debates' (the Institute for Economic Affairs, the facilitator of the NIMD political party programme) gave hope of their emergence as a third force in Ghanaian politics. Their massive registration drive of the youth and grassroots approach made them attractive to many. The other five Parties did not embark on any visible campaign save rare PNC adverts and radio interviews mercifully granted to their representatives and the Presidential Aspirants.

The last day of campaigning saw the NPP and NDC holding mammoth rallies in Accra and Tema respectively. Apart from giving the Candidates a final chance to appeal to voters, the rallies were a show of political force. The NPP rally was covered live by all the television stations whilst the NDC rally was telecast after the event. They both generated huge support making it an impossible task to judge who had the bigger crowd.


Although voting was scheduled to commence at 7:00am, enthusiastic voters had formed queues at polling stations as early as 4:00am. Most poling stations recorded long queues throughout the day. This was a departure from the norm where polling stations are usually quiet between 12 noon and 3pm. In spite of the long queues, it turned out that 69% of voters turned up to vote. One reason attributed to the relatively low voter turn out was voter indifference. With the two main Parties having served two terms each without significantly improving the lot of the average Ghanaian, most voters felt it was worth their while to go and vote. Another reason that could be attributed is the allegation that the voter's register was bloated. If that assertion is true, then one could argue that the 31% of people who did not cast their votes were either minors, people who had registered more than once or ghost names. A less probable reason was that the sometimes confrontational language used by the two leading Parties scared some doves.

Another interesting trend was the number of rejected ballots which represented 2.4% of the total votes cast. This percentage is bigger than the combined percentage of votes cast for the CPP and PNC during the elections. A lack of voter education has been identified as a possible cause. Again, for the first time in Ghana's election, the index finger was dipped in indelible ink rather than marking the thumb which had been the norm in the four previous general elections. Most people, especially the unlettered, therefore voted with their index finger- rendering the votes invalid.



Several polls had been carried prior to the elections. The polls produced varied results with regards to the percentage of total votes each candidate was to receive. All of them, except that of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), put the NPP ahead of all the other Parties. One thing that was certain about all the polls was that no Party was going to win the elections in the first round.

The NPP was very confident of a first round victory and was disappointed when the total number of votes fell short of the more than 50% (at least 50% + 1) vote required for a first round victory. The NPP obtained 49.1% of the valid votes cast. While some had attributed this to complacency on the part of the NPP, voter apathy and the improper settling of disputes arising from the Party's primaries may have accounted for their inability to win a first round victory. Professor Mills of the NDC was also confident of a first round victory. He however managed to make 47.96% an improvement on the 44.63% he had obtained in 2004.

Declaration of Results

Ghanaians sat on tenterhooks until the Electoral Commission announced the results 69 hours after the polls closed. After an official announcement of a run-off, the two Parties are each psyching themselves and their supporters up for the second round of voting. They have both embarked on subtle and rigorous attempts to court the minority Parties. It is difficult to predict whose side the small Parties will go for, even though there are many personal and political interconnections between the Parties. For example, Dr. Nduom of the CPP was a long-time Cabinet Minister of the NPP and also worked with the NDC. The running mate of the NPP is also married to the daughter of the National Chairman of the PNC whilst they both supported the NPP in the 2001 Presidential run-off.

Parliamentary Results

The 2008 Parliamentary elections can be termed "the fall of the mighty". Many popular and long serving Parliamentarians of the four Parties with representation in Parliament have fallen victims to the massive wind of change that swept through the parliamentary elections. The NPP suffered the most casualties as their number of Parliamentarians dropped form 126 in 2006 to 107. The NDC on the other hand have made some gains as it increased its number of seats from 96 to 114. The CPP's promising campaign did not yield any gains for the Party with regards to Parliamentary seats. Their seats in Parliament were reduced from 3 to 1. A school of thought suggests that Ms. Samia Nkrumah, the CPP Candidate for the Jomoro Constituency won the seat because her father, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana and indeed a forerunner in the fight for Ghana's independence hails from the area. Therefore, the indigenes felt they owed it a duty to her father to throw their weight behind her. The PNC, who did not do much in terms of campaigning, lost two of its four seats they had won in 2004.

Among the casualties were Hon. Steven Asamoah Boateng, NPP MP for Mfansteman West constituency and Information Minister and Hon. Hajia Alima Mahama, NPP MP for Nalerigu-Gambaga constituency and the Minister for Women and Children Affairs. Interestingly, Hajia Alima Mahama was one of the few people who had made the short list for the running mate position of the NPP. Within the NDC, Hon. Mahama Ayariga, spokesperson for the NDC Flagbearer and Hon. Ben Kunbuor, NDC MP for Lawra-Nandom were among the few who lost their seats. While the loss of some of these Parliamentarians could be attributed to the desire for change, voters also punished some for their failings. The lesson is for incumbents to be less complacent in the future and listen to their constituents and undertake relevant projects.

Women's Representation

The hope that many more women would be elected to Parliament in 2008 after Ghana signed onto several national and international conventions such as CEDAW and Beijing Platform was shattered when fewer women got elected than in the previous year. In the 1996 parliamentary elections, out of 59 women who contested, 18 (30%) were elected, constituting 9% of 200 MPs, in 2000, the number of female Candidates increased to 101 but the number elected was 19 (18.8%), constituting 9.5% of 200 MPs. In 2004, the number of women that contested was 104, including 14 sitting MPs, out of which 25 (24%) were elected constituting 10.9% of 230 MPs. The number in 2008 has been reduced to 15 constituting only 6.5% of the House.

The Political Parties as well as the Ghanaian society is equally to blame for paying lip service to the empowerment of women in Ghana. Even though the IEA organized Training Workshops for the Female Aspirants and drafted a Women's Manual which advocated the fielding of female Candidates in the Parties' strongholds, the Manual was not adopted till after the Party primaries which saw a good number of women losing their seats.

Prior to the elections, there had been speculations about the possibility of violence erupting during the elections. These speculations were triggered by violent incidents that were recorded during the limited registration exercise across the country and other incidents that had been recorded during the selection of Parliamentary Candidates within the Parties. Again, the post- election violence in Kenya and Zimbabwe put Ghana on the spotlight as many across the world wondered if Ghana's election would be lead to similar reactions as witnessed in Kenya and Zimbabwe. As a precautionary measure, several initiatives such as Peace Walks, Peace Songs and the broadcast of Peace Messages from distinguished citizens were organised to preach the message of peace across the length and breadth of Ghana.


Possibility of Violence

While it is the prayer of most Ghanaians that harmony would prevail, it is a little too soon to start celebrating. Polling day in Kenya was quiet. It was the refusal of either of the big Parties to accept defeat that sparked the violence. The closeness of the results is likely to make both Parties scramble feverishly for every vote to win the second round. This is where the trouble may occur. So far however, the peace has been maintained. It is the hope of The IEA that its numerous interventions at ensuring peaceful free and fair elections would suffice to keep the peace before, during and after the second round presidential Election on December 28th, 2008.

Again, during the first half of the year The IEA under the Ghana Political Parties Programme organised a workshop on the theme 'Towards a Peaceful and Violence Free Election 2008'. At the end of this workshop the Leaders of the Political parties signed a Communiqué pledging to abide by the Political Parties Code of Conduct. Among other things, the Leader's pledged not to on behalf of their respective Political Parties announce, declare or call the Election in their favour. They agreed that this was the duty of the Electoral Commission and no one had the authority to do so. This communiqué was widely circulated throughout the country and was discussed extensively by Media houses for well over a week.

The IEA Interventions

Another was the IEA sponsored Political Parties Code of Conduct which was reviewed in the first quarter of the year. The document and the communiqué that was signed by all the Political Parties were again widely circulated throughout the country. This put the document in the public domain. The general public and the Regional Enforcement Bodies that were set up after the publication of the Code have monitored the political Parties closely to ensure strict adherence to the Code. For the most part of the year, the Parties did their best to adhere to the Code of Conduct. All the reports from the regions reported no major breeches to the code. This monotony was however broken when serious breeches of the code were reported in Gushegu in Northern Ghana during the limited registration exercise held nationwide. This was quickly reported by the Regional Enforcement Body in Tamale and a press statement condemning all the Parties involved was issued. No major incidents were recorded afterwards.

The IEA 2008 Presidential and Vice Presidential Debates further contributed to restoring calm to the country. For the first time in Ghana's Political history, all Candidates of the four Political Parties with representation in Parliament participated. Held at a time when the political temperature had begun to steadily rise again, the Debates which were very civil in themselves carried on a calm atmosphere throughout the entire country. Perhaps, the most significant of all the Debates was the second Presidential Debate held in Tamale. Due to several violent clashes that had been recorded in the Northern Part of the country, during the year there was a lot of hesitation about hosting the debate in Tamale. However, the people of Tamale were poised to prove a point to Ghanaians. They were bent on ensuring that they were equally capable to hosting and indeed being part of an event that would contribute to the development of democracy in Ghana. More importantly, the people of Tamale proved to the rest of Ghana that politics could be used as a tool to unify people. Among the highlights of the Debate was during the final round when all the Candidates held hands and openly pledge to maintain the peace before, during and after the Election. This symbolic gesture has been captured and used by the state owned media which has nationwide coverage as an advertisement to promote peace.

The NCCE has also put up large billboards depicting the Presidential Candidates holding hands during the Tamale Presidential Debate. Indeed the Political parties involved particularly the ruling party as well as the largest opposition party have used captions from the Debate for their own advertisements. This display of friendship and camaraderie ensured and promoted peace before, during and after the Election. Indeed the British Broadcasting Corporation also in a documentary on Ghana, showed the Presidential Candidates at the Tamale Debate holding hands and pledging to maintain peace in the country. The British Broadcasting Corporation summed it up by saying that it was not in many countries around the world that this happens. Another was a letter from the regent of the Dagbon (the most powerful traditional ruler in Tamale) congratulating the IEA for doing the North proud by bringing the Presidential Debate there. The National Security Apparatus was at its best as it assisted in maintaining law and order during the Debates.

Trend analysis & interparty initiatives

The Institute is currently transcribing all the tapes of the Presidential and Vice Presidential Debates to document the promises made by the Candidates and put it out in the public domain so that the people of Ghana can hold the politicians accountable to their promises.

The IEA Governance Unit is also engaged in serious trend analysis of the Election results and will make its findings available in due course.

Finally, the various peace initiatives and inter-party collaborations of The Institute will continue in all their diversity to ensure that multi-partyism is the true winner of Ghana's Election 2008.

The IEA political programme has been implemented with the full support and cooperation of the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD).

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ghana Elections : Minority leader seeks changes in electoral laws

The Minority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu says the country's electoral laws must be reviewed, especially the aspect on resolving disputes over election results.

He said the present provision that aggrieved persons can only challenge election results after the Electoral Commission has gazetted the results is unfair.

The minority leader was reacting to the increase in parliamentary seats by the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).

The ruling party had 114 seats in the house until a Supreme Court verdict on the Asutifi-South constituency hurdle added another seat.

The court ruled in favour of Alhaji Collins Dauda who had petitioned it to overturn an earlier ruling by a Sunyani High Court.

The High Court had put an interlocutory injunction on the declaration of the parliamentary results in the constituency.

The application at the lower court was filed by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate Mr Boakye-Yiadom Boateng.

But reacting to the issues in an interview with Joy News, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the current provision permits usurpers to rule.

He said it must be captured in the law a reasonable timeframe within which legal tussles over any election would be cleared before the EC declares the result.

"We certainly should give ourselves a timeframe to listen to final judgments," he stressed.

The minority leader also cited cases where electoral disputes have dragged for years.

He said such situations would always permit the wrong people to fill certain important positions.

The Supreme Court's ruling puts the majority's seats at 115 against the NPP's 107 in the Fifth Parliament of the Fourth Republic.

The two PNC members in the house also sit with and vote in favour of the Majority, further swelling the highest majority vote count possible to 117.

Pollster Ben Ephson has described the current membership in the house as safe for the ruling party.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Ghana Elections 2008 : Collins Dauda wins Asutifi South seat

The National Democratic Congress (NDC), on Good Friday added to its parliamentary majority as its candidate, Collins Dauda, was declared winner of the Asutifi South parliamentary election by the Electoral Commission.

Dauda marginally won the disputed, polling just 14 more votes to beat his closest challenger, Mr Yiadom-Boakye Boateng of the New Patriotic Party.

Correspondent Asamoah Mensah of Sky FM who covered the ballot counting for Joy News said Collins Dauda polled 10,984 votes, while Boateng had 10,970 votes, with the Democratic People's Party's George Okyere coming a distant third.

The constituency election result had been outstanding following a High Court injunction sought by Yiadom-Boakye Boateng on grounds of massive election irregularities during voting on December 7, 2008.

The Supreme Court however overturned the High Court order restraining the Electoral Commission from declaring results of the Asutifi South parliamentary election on Wednesday, declaring that, results of election could only be challenged after declaration.

With the declaration, the NDC now has 115 Members of Parliament as against NPP's 107. There are four independent MPs, with two for the People's National Convention, and one for the Convention People's Party.

So far, Akwatia in the Kwaebirem District of the Eastern Region remains the only outstanding constituency yet to declare its results. The NDC and NPP are again in court over the conduct of the parliamentary election.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

NPP raises red flag over Jirapa ballot

The New Patriotic Party, NPP, has notified the Electoral Commission of a blot on ballot papers being used in the Jirapa bye-election.

According to the National Organiser of the party, Lord Commey, the blot looks like a thumb print positioned at the neck area of Dr. Francis Bawaana Dakurah, candidate for the ruling National Democratic Congress and could compromise results of the election.

Speaking in an interview with Joy FM correspondent Elton John Brobbey, Mr. Commey said a report has been made to officials of the Electoral Commission.

A senior member of the Commission, Dr. Safo Kantanka, he said, had been told of the anomaly and he has in turn, dispatched officials to work out a compromise so it does not undermine he poll.

Ruling out a complete withdrawal of the blotted ballot papers, Mr. Commey is hopeful the EC will reach a consensus with all the interested parties.

Meanwhile, there are reports of low turnout in the election set to replace Hon Edward Salia who died in February.

Residents of the constituency are said to be disinterested in the election.

Information vans from the Information Services Department are said to be driving through the constituency inviting constituents to come out to vote.

NPP's Mr Justin Dakorah and Ms Joycelin Ansiena for the Democratic People's Party (DPP) are the two other candidates optimistic of displacing the NDC from the seat.

Pollster Ben Ephson however predicts the NDC will retain the seat. It is only the margin of the victory that is in contention.

Voting underway at Jirapa bye-election

Voting is underway in the Jirapa Constituency of the Upper West Region where 43,056 registered voters are expected to elect a Member of Parliament in a bye-election according to myjoyonline.

Voting started at all 105 polling centres in the constituency at 7am, but according to Luv FM's Elton John Brobbey who spoke with Joy FM, turnout so far has been discouraging.

He said the people appeared to be disinterested in the exercise, attending to their daily chores and businesses.

The constituency lost its MP, Mr Edward Kojo Salia, former National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament who died in February this year.

Three contestants; Dr Francis Bawaana Dakurah for the NDC, Mr Justin Dakorah for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Ms Joycelin Ansiena for the Democratic People's Party (DPP).

On Sunday, the NDC held a well attended rally at Jirapa attended by the Founder, former President Jerry John Rawlings and Vice President John Dramani Mahama and some National Executive Officers.

Nana Ohene Ntow, General Secretary of NPP, and some leading members of the Party including some Members of Parliament were also in the constituency to whip up support for their candidate.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

UK High Commissioner applauds Ghana’s 2008 elections

The British High Commissioner, Dr Nicholas Westcott on Tuesday applauded the successful conduct of Election 2008 and described it as a "triumph for democracy" in the West Africa.

He pointed out that the matured and timely manner that the irregularities that arose during the exercise was addressed is commendable, saying Ghana did better and was quick in solving those issues than America did during its 2000 elections.

Dr Westcott who was delivering a public lecture at University of Cape Coast (UCC), on the topic 'Ghana and Britain: Parallel Histories, Converging Futures' saluted civil society organisations, particularly chiefs and the clergy for their advocacy roles that contributed to the successful conduct of the elections.

Dr Westcott gave the political history of the United Kingdom (UK) and pointed out that it had its fair share of "turbulence and instability" and it took it more than a century to stabilize and unite.

He noted that democratic development is a gradual process and therefore all emerging democracies should ensure the institution of the requisite structures including a judiciary, which has public confidence and a vibrant and liberal but responsible media.

He said the rigid enforcement of the rule of law and respect for individual rights both by the state and fellow citizens are all factors that ensure political stability and peace.

On the two countries, Dr Westcott said they both understand each other and share the same ideals and therefore there should be more co-operations between Ghana and the UK for mutual benefit, adding that, this is important especially in the face of the recent global financial crises of which both the rich and poor nations are now mutually dependent.

He said the co-operation will help share concerns of promoting peace keeping operations, combat drug trafficking as well as continue to fight the effects of climate change and encourage the link between UK universities and the UCC.

Dr Westcott announced that the UK will not only continue to support Ghana in terms of infrastructure, but will also invest in capital and create jobs in the country.

The Vice Chancellor of UCC, Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman, who chaired the function said there was the need to dialogue on the past and link it with the current circumstance to bridge the future.

She said the UCC's public lectures have been designed to expand the scope of sharing ideas and reaching out to the diplomatic, educational, business, medical, judiciary and scientific fields, to partner and learn from their different perspective and emphasis.

During a public forum, both lecturers and students expressed disgust about the bitter experiences of colonialism that they said had contributed to the current poor state of African countries.

Source: GNA

Monday, March 30, 2009

GACC calls for transparency and accountability in transition process

The Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) on Sunday said events that unfolded just before, during and after Ghana's recent transition requires that the country strengthens its fight against corruption to improve good governance delivery.

The coalition which is made up of various public, private institutions and civil society groups working to reduce corruption, said the country needs to ensure that every government adheres to strict rules and procedures that promote transparency and ensure a smooth transition process.

A communiqué signed by Mrs. Florence Dennis, Executive Secretary of GACC at the end of a two-day meeting of the Coalition, said successive governments had failed to carry out the measures in a transparent and timely manner and as a result, embroiled the changeover process in needless controversy.

It said the current situation has created a public perception of bad faith and corruption on the part of the past government and one of vindictiveness and vendetta on the incumbent.

The GACC expressed misgivings about the timing and circumstances surrounding the approval of the ex-gratia awards and other packages for the President, Members of Parliament and other office holders, which obviously did not ensure the necessary parliamentary scrutiny and transparency.

The Coalition called for the creation of the Office of the Administrator–General which would take inventory of all state assets, irrespective of which government was in power.

"It is evident that the lack of a clear-cut procedure for handing over by public officers, including the vacation of their official residences, has clearly resulted in unauthorized removal of state property.

"In addition, the coalition noted with concern, the drastic reduction of budgetary allocations to key accountability institutions, including Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) in spite of the government's avowed commitment to strengthen these institutions to fight corruption," It added.

The GACC called on the government to ensure the independence and efficiency of these anti-corruption institutions.

The meeting re-elected Reverend Dr Fred Deegbe as Chairman, Miss Anna Bossman as Vice–Chairperson and Dr Osei Boeh–Ocansey, Honorary Treasurer, for a four-year term.

GACC is made up of Ghana Conference for Religions for Peace, Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Serious Fraud Office, Ghana Integrity Initiative, Private Enterprise Foundation, Ghana Centre for Democratic Development, Institute of Economic Affairs, National Governance Secretariat and Ghana Journalists Association.

Source: GNA

Friday, March 27, 2009

Ghana Elections Disputes : Akwatia Electoral Dispute Adjourned?

An Appeal Court in Accra has adjourned indefinitely the Akwatia parliamentary electoral dispute case before it, raising concerns among the disputants according to Daily Guide.

When the case was called on Monday, the Electoral Commission (EC) which took the case to the court was nowhere to be found, apparently because the EC was not informed about the date, leading to the adjournment.

The EC had filed the appeal against a Koforidua High Court ruling on the electoral dispute occasioned by snatching of ballot boxes during the December7, 2008 parliamentary polls which the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was cruising home to victory.

The Koforidua High Court had dismissed an application by the EC and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) parliamentary for Akwatia, Dr Kofi Asare.

The application was to nullify a writ filed by the parliamentary candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Babal Jamal and two independent candidates who are seeking a re-run of the parliamentary elections in the constituency.

The High Court presided over by Justice Surrebarreh threw out an application by the EC and the NPP candidate in its ruling, and awarded a GH¢500 cost against the NPP man.

The NDC candidate, Baba Jamal and two independent candidates, Basil Ahiable and Samuel Abrokwah, jointly filed a writ praying the court to order the EC to conduct fresh parliamentary elections since they believe there were serious electoral irregularities and fraud at most of the polling stations.

However, the EC wanted to conduct elections in only six of the polling stations located at Akwatia where the ballot boxes were snatched by some 'macho men' believed to be supporters of the NDC candidate.

In the course of the trial, Dr. Kofi Asare came in as a second defendant and filed a petition asking the court to dismiss the writ filed by the plaintiffs, citing that the case should have come on a petition.

The judge however dismissed the application and ordered that the writ should go through its normal course.

Giving reasons for his ruling, Justice Surrebarreh said since nobody had been elected at Akwatia to be gazzetted and presented to Parliament, the event could not be an election whose grievances should be addressed through a petition.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

EC Ghana aims for transparency and credibility of the electoral process

The Electoral Commission (EC) intends to carry out some electoral reforms as part of measures to enhance the transparency and credibility of the electoral process. Mr Alban Bagbin, Chairman of the Special Budget Committee of Parliament, in a report read on the floor of the House, said these reforms were expected to begin this year and it was to be financed from the service expenditure of the EC's budget.

"It was however, observed that the Commission's service budget has been significantly reduced. The 2009 approved figure is 294,763 Ghana cedis whereas the 2008 figure was 418,104, Ghana cedis, a difference of 123,341 cedis or 30 percent," Mr Bagbin, who is also the Majority Leader said.

He was seconding a motion for the approval 7,091,990 Ghana cedis for the services of the EC for the 2009 fiscal year. He said there was allocation for the conduct of only one bye-election in the EC's budget for the year. "It is the view of the Committee and the EC that past experiences make it imperative that there should be provision for more than one bye-election considering the fact that we already have one bye-election even though the year is only three months old, and therefore urges the Ministry of Finance to make contingency arrangements to provide the EC with funds for bye-elections whenever the need arises," Mr Bagbin added. The Majority Leader also seconded a motion for a sum of 5,044,605 Ghana cedis for the services of the National Commission of Civic Education for this year and said the Commission would this year, deepen the social audit programme of the Commission to educate the public on its rights and powers to hold both elected and non elected public office holders accountable, particularly at the district level. Earlier, Finance Minister, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, moved a motion for the approval of a sum of 146, 681,167 Ghana cedis for the services of the Finance Ministry.

He said the ministry would, for this year, improve upon revenue collection and tax administration to support the economy. The House also approved an estimate of 4,206,832 Ghana cedis for the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice for the year.

Media reportage vital during elections- CDD

The Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) and the French Embassy on Wednesday described media reportage as vital and indispensable in several efforts in securing a lasting and durable democracy in the country.

The media played a significant role in past elections and every commentator expressed some appreciation for the work the media did.

One thing media did so well collectively was to ensure that every Ghanaian knew there was a general elections coming on, to the extent that there was elections fatigue and people actually got fed up with election news.

The media also did well during the elections itself, sending reporters to practically every nook and cranny. Radio Stations and the TV Channels were clearly in competitions to see who could cast the net wider. And in cases where results delayed, reporters and presenters evidently made personal sacrifice to wait and keep the public informed.

Although Journalists played a significant role in the run-off Elections, some journalists and media houses did not live up to expectations. News items that could have plunged the country into conflict were transmitted.

Journalist must avoid partiality, misuse of power, defamatory languages in their reportage, she added.

Jeannette Quarcoopome of the Media Foundation for West Africa also made a presentation and said well trained journalists should be sent to the field to ensure professionalism.

Source: GNA

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Government to gazette assets declared by public officer holders

Government on Monday took a giant step in its effort to tackle sleaze in the public service with the gazetting of assets declared by political appointees and public office holders. 
     Currently, assets declared by public office holders are lodged with the Auditor General in a sealed envelop.
     Vice President John Dramani Mahama, who announced this at the Castle, Osu on Monday, said the current assets declaration was "quite meaningless" in dealing with the menace of corruption, which had been identified as a major factor responsible for Ghana's state of underdevelopment.
      He was interacting with a joint delegation of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) and management of South African construction conglomerate, Power Group.
      Vice President Mahama pointed out that government would not relent in safeguarding the public purse from being dissipated by greedy state officials. 
      He said the decision to gazette or make public assets declared by public office holders was part of efforts being initiated by President John Evans Atta Mills to ensure the "highest degree of responsibility and accountability" in public service.
      Vice President Mahama said the newly minted code of ethics, which would soon take effect, would bring sanity into state financial controls and ensure that national resources were expended on the marginalised.
      He noted that government would focus on instilling in the public sector a high sense of moral integrity in line with President Mills' transparent and ethical leadership.
      Vice President Mahama said public officials who transgressed the new code would be punished, as the core principle of the code was to ensure that timely actions were taken in punishing erring officials.
      He reiterated the commitment of President Mills to demonstrate through actions, his loathing for sleaze in both the public and private sectors by ensuring that those who fell foul of the law were dealt with swiftly but firmly.
      Vice President Mahama commended Right-Reverend Dr Yaw Frimpong-Manso, Moderator of the General Assembly of PCG for being at the forefront in developing a culture of industriousness and clean living in Ghana.
      He said the visit of Mr Graham Power, Chairman of Power Group of Companies and his lead role in tackling corrupt practices in the corporate world would serve as an inspiration to efforts geared towards rooting out the bad practice in Ghana.
      Vice President Mahama said the canker of corruption had helped unfortunately to divert public money into private hands, but was hopeful that through the collaborative efforts of organisations such as the PCG, government would come at grips with the problem. 
      Rt-Rev. Frimpong-Manso reiterated the commitment of PCG to work towards a "holistic ministry" in Ghana that required its congregants to pursue business goals with integrity.
      He said introduction of Mr Power in Ghana was due to his sterling leadership in insulating businesses from sordid deals which tended to exacerbate poverty on the continent.
      Mr Power, an advocate of the Global Day of Prayer, a platform that blends entrepreneurial practices with Christian teachings, challenged his colleague businessmen to help turn a page of the "horrible statistics' of corruption in corporate boardrooms in Africa.
      He posited that the biggest problem confronting Africa was the problem of corruption, alluding that efforts to tackle poverty would only become successful when the problem of corruption was firmly tackled.
      Other members of the delegation included Rev. Herbert Anim Opong, Clerk of General Assembly of PCG and Rev. Professor Emmanuel Martey, Chairperson of Ga Presbytery of PCG.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Government to deepen democracy at local level

Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development on Wednesday said government was committed to deepening democracy at the local level.   
     He said local government institutions would be strengthened to mobilize and generate revenue to improve the welfare of Ghanaians.
     The minister said this when the US Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Donald Teitelbaum called on him in Accra to discuss bilateral relations between the two countries.
     He said local government officials ought to interact with their people to enable them understand and appreciate the policies of government so as to encourage diverse contributions.
     Mr Chireh said government would implement reforms to accelerate the work of the local institutions to deepen the decentralization process and accountability.
     He called on the US government to support Ghana in her efforts to improve the decentralization process.
     Mr Teitelbaum commended the Ghana government for the reforms in the decentralization process and pledged the US support to further improve the system.

Afari-Gyan: Biometric registration for 2012 elections

The Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan has hinted that a completely new voter registration exercise would be undertaken to derive a new register for the 2012 general elections according to Joy FM.

The exercise will employ the best of technologies, including the use of biometric registration to beat fraudsters who attempt to exploit the voting exercise to their advantage.

Afari-Gyan maintained that a lot of allegations during elections are unfounded, and those who make such claims more often than not fail to provide evidence to support those claims, maintaining 'that the name of the game is evidence."Agreeing that Ghana is lagging behind in the use of technologies in the electoral process, he said any new improvements in the system will have to include the best technologies, including biometric systems that will beat the fraudsters,.

He expressed the hope that the population census for the country would be conducted for 2010 to form the basis for the new registration exercise.Arguably Ghana's most celebrated elections referee, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan admitted he prefers to watch cartoons while political parties and their followers boil up their temperatures in their own schemes.

He assured that he will be around for Ghana's next general elections in 2012, 'God willing', explaining that he had not yet reached the retiring age and subject to his resignation, he should be around to supervise yet another election, one he expects would build on the successes of the past and see shortfalls corrected for a better poll.

Afari-Gyan has supervised five successful national polls in the country since 1992, and said most of the allegations that seek to subtract from the credible elections have lacked substance and mainly come from losers who instead of analyzing the what went wrong, look for people to blame.

"Let us remember that in the realm of elections, the name of the game is evidence, you can allege all kinds of things if you don't have evidence you are just playing around. Yes I would admit that various allegations have been made and when you ask for the evidence… and everything that we do at the Electoral Commission is subject to judicial review so if you have the evidence, even after the election results have been released, you could go to court and get justice and the reason why this has not been done is that in many cases they themselves realize that they do not have the evidence."

Dr. Afari-Gyan said while Ghanaian politicians have not done too badly in the area of political behaviour and playing by the rules, there is still a lot of improper behaviour, likening the situation to the resort to Judo tactics in the game of football.

He said sanctioning and prosecution of infractions lie mainly with the law enforcement agencies and the law courts, while the EC is reduced to only reporting such infractions to the authorities.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

NPP for early congress

Unassailable information reaching The Statesman indicates that there are moves on the part of the New Patriotic Party leadership as well as some members for an early National Congress, possibly early December 2009. March 2010 is the latest the advocates of an early congress will settle for, The Statesman understands.

The move, which was reported to have been engineered by a section of the leadership who believe in unity as a key ingredient in preparing the party sufficiently for its 2012 successful bid, has among its advocates high-ranking NPP personalities, including Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, a leading member of the NPP Campaign Team since 1996, and former Chief of Staff Kwadwo Mpiani.

The Congress is expected not only to elect a National Executive, but also the Flagbearer of the NPP.

The idea, according to sources within the Party, has gone down well with every interested faction in the NPP, with the two-in-one Congress idea intended, according to advocates of the move for early Congress, to save costs and resources for an earlier and more effective national campaign in the effort to convincingly unseat the National Democratic Congress at the next elections.

The Constitution allows an early Congress, two years ahead of elections, when the party is in opposition and 11 months, when in power. An early Congress in this case is ideal, since the emerging Flagbearer would have a longer period to campaign and also afford the Campaign Team enough time to market the elected Presidential candidate.

Another reason for the call for the early Congress, according to an insider, "is for the Party to have ample time to patch up possible cracks which would have bedeviled the party during the Congress and Flagbearer Campaign, which is expected to be fiercely contested".

"Once the Party has a flagbearer, it gives the entire membership a sense of direction and hope," our source concluded.

Initial calls on the part of a section of the membership for a review of the Constitution to expand the electoral college according to our sources, seem not to be getting the nod, with ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor reportedly leading the crusade to maintain the current tradition. However, there are favourable indications that those campaigning for the expansion may have the last laugh for more paid-up members to determine the future and course of the party through that mandate given in the reviewed NPP Constitution.

So far, according our reliable sources, this deal of an early Congress has found acceptability with all interest groups in the party.

In spite of the surprise loss of power on the part of the NPP to the NDC led by Professor Evans Atta Mills, the leadership of the party believes the NPP still enjoys tons of goodwill unheard of in the history of opposition politics in Ghana - which puts the NPP on a pedestal of hope in terms of a formidable come back in 2012.

The theme of the December Congress, The Statesman was told, would reflect that fact and thinking in gingering rank and file members of the party and in uniting them towards the objective of an envisaged return 'to power in 2012.

Source: The Statesman

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Almost 50 days gone, how much has Mills achieved?

The president, Prof. J.E.A. Mills will hit half of the 100 days within which he promised significant changes in many spheres of national life, on Thursday.

He promised to clear the filth in the capital, fight armed robbery, reduce fuel prices, give 40 per cent appointments in his government to women, and run a lean government. He also promised to initiate processes that would see the passage of the Freedom to Information Bill into law.

As the clock ticks, those who remember the promises and have the time are counting the days and asking whether the work done by the government so far gives an indication that the president can fulfill his 100 days promises.

While it is completely outrageous to use 100 days to judge a four-year term for the government, the president is being held to his own promises.

The president has appointed some women into office, reduced fuel prices albeit insignificantly, and reduced the number of ministers from 88 to 75.

But some argue these are tepid and cosmetic as they are a far cry from what was promised.

Panelists on Joy FM's Super Morning Show examined the president's 100 days promises and work done so far to fulfill them.

Journalist and lawyer Egbert Faibille Jnr. believes the president has hit the ground crawling contrary to his assertion that he would hit the ground running.

He says the president's pledge was "just political talk."

A more optimistic David Ampofo of the Convention People's Party, says since the country is not immune from the global economic crisis, the government should be allowed space to work.

He nonetheless is not enthused by the delays in reconstituting boards of government agencies and institutions.

The situation, he regrets, has led to a lull and a virtual paralysis in such institutions which is at a great cost to the nation.

Deputy Information Minister designate, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, on the contrary believes the government is fulfilling all its promises in record time.

He thinks government's actions have not been properly publicized, blaming the media for rather concentrating on mundane issues.

Mr. Okudzeto catalogued a number of things the government is doing to cut down on extravagant expenditures citing cocktails that used to be orgainsed after the delivery of State of the Nation Addresses and Independence celebrations.

Pollster and election monitor, Mr. Ben Ephson stresses that the 100 days tradition is only a psychological game.

He says voters will use the overall performance of the government in the four-year term to judge it by juxtaposing their present living conditions with the period before the government in question came to power.

The issues to consider, according to him, will be the availability of jobs, security and salary levels.

As the debate rages on, some are continuing to count the hours or even minutes and ticking their checklists of unfulfilled promises of the government.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Election offenses should be prosecuted

Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC) on Tuesday said those who flout the country's electoral laws should be prosecuted in order to end "political impunity" during elections.
     Speaking at the special Regional Inter-party Advisory Committee (RIPAC) meeting in Ho under the Commission's "safeguarding the integrity of the ballot" project, he said it was the duty of the police to bring such offenders to book.
 The meeting was organized in collaboration with the Canadian International Development Agency and the KAB Governance Consult.
 Dr Afari-Gyan made the call in response to a catalogue of concerns raised mainly by representatives of the National Democratic Congress and New Patriotic Party (NPP) representatives regarding abuses during the last elections in the region.
 Asked by the Ghana News Agency whether it was not the responsibility of the Commission to initiate such prosecutions, Dr Afari-Gyan said that was the duty of the police to whom the Commission has made several complaints.
 He said both the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) were guilty of polluting the election atmosphere in the country.
 Dr Afari-Gyan said abuses of the country's Electoral laws seemed to arise from the leeway the Commission had given to the political parties.
 "We have been too transparent with the parties, sometimes we have to step back," he said.
      Dr Afari-Gyan said if only the political parties would adhere to the country's electoral arrangements every election report would be verifiable.
      He said both the NDC and the NPP when in power turned the police into political and government police during elections, and did not allow them to act professionally.
      That he said created problems for the Police establishment and its personnel when the reins of government changed.
      "We are not treating them fairly," he said.
      Dr Afari-Gyan told the political parties that the calibre of people they appointed as party agents were essential to safeguarding their interests during elections.
      Ms Laurentia Kpatakpa, Volta Regional Director of the EC said the integrity of Ghana's Electoral process rested in the checks and balances within the system which when operated properly would produce outcomes that are acceptable, verifiable and could be audited at every stage.
     She said the 2008 elections should be a learning experience for the country, using best practices accepted globally to improve on subsequent elections in the country.
     "We wish to re-iterate that when we make regulations and laws we have a duty to uphold them. Non-compliance could result in chaos.
     "If party executives fail to submit lists and information on agents appointed by them for accreditation, we do not see how the returning officer could certify the agent's application authorizing him to work at a Polling Station or Collation Centre," Ms Kpatakpa said.
     The meeting called on the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), the Information Services Department (ISD) and the EC to collaborate and that adequate resources should be made available to them to carry out education on elections.
     It was also suggested that Chiefs should be included in stakeholder forums on elections such as the RIPAC meeting because of the influence they wielded over the conduct of their people in the last elections.
      The meeting agreed that people could capture events at the polling stations on their mobile camera phones as proof of allegations that might be raised.
  It was explained that there was no law that limited political parties to choosing their agents from localities in which they would be guarding the elections, but it was important that such agents were conversant with the people and localities where they would be representing their parties' interests.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

President appoints Council of State members

The President His Excellency, John Atta Mills has appointed eleven persons as members of Council of State. 

The action is consistent with Article 89(2) (d) of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana. 

This was put across in a statement signed by the President's Spokesperson, Hon Mahama Ayariga. 

The members of the Council of State are as follows


1. Mrs. Victoria Addy

2. Mrs. Cecilia Johnson

3. Prof. Akilakpa Sawyerr

4. Prof. Kofi Awoonor

5. Daasebre Kwebu Ewusi VII

6. Alhaji Asoma Banda

7. Hajara Musa Ali

8. Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu

9. Nana Akuako Sarpong

10. Otumfuo Badu Bonsu XV

11. Rev. Nii Amo Darko


Meanwhile the President, His Excellency John Evans Atta Mills has withdrawn the nomination of Dr. Nartey Siaw-Sappore.

Dr. Siaw-Sappore was slated for the Ministry of Communications as deputy to Hon. Haruna Iddrisu, the substantive sector minister. Details of the president's action remain sketchy.

This brings to two the number of nominations the President has withdrawn, the first being Hon. Moses Asaga, then the President's choice for the Works and Housing Ministry.

Citi News Parliamentary Correspondent, Richard Sky reports that the statement from the castle was read on the floor of parliament.





Tuesday, March 3, 2009

CPP exists as mere vehicle for election

A leading member of the Convention Peoples Party (CPP) and a lecturer at the University of Ghana, Dr Kojo Opoku Aidoo, has said the party currently exists as a mere vehicle for election.

"When it is time for elections, we elect a presidential and assemble parliamentary candidates to contest elections. We are humiliated and then sit down and wait for the next election only to be humiliated again," he stated.

"In the Limann regime, we saw how our party members in leadership positions thwarted party unity which led to the fall of Limann in 1981, again in 2004 we saw also how certain persons in leadership positions decided to vote 'skirt and blouse' by which they campaigned and voted against the CPP's presidential and parliamentary candidates."

Addressing some party supporters at the 33rd Remembrance Day celebration of the overthrow of the first President of Ghana, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, in a coup on February 24, 1966 last week, he said "in the just ended election, we saw the same attitude where some individuals within the party campaigned against CPP's presidential and parliamentary candidates, which resulted in the poor performance of the party in the presidential and parliamentary elections."

He said concerted efforts were needed to rebuild the CPP into a vibrant mass political movement.

He said Dr Nkrumah placed a great deal of emphasis on human development to enhance the capacity of the people to develop themselves.

"Illiteracy eradication, higher education, healthcare enhancement, skill development, management training, among other things, were Nkrumah's democratic development strategy," he added.

Dr Opeku Aidoo said for Osagyefo, development was about the process by which people created and recreated themselves to attain higher levels of civilisation in accordance with their own choices and values.

The chairman for the occasion, Dr Nii Noi Dowouna, said the election of Samia Nkrumah as the only Member of Parliament was a victory for the CPP as this was the first time the CPP had contested an election without any alliance with any political party and won.

Source: Daily Graphic

Monday, March 2, 2009

NDC in manifesto scam?

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) is alleged to be have surreptitiously withdrawn the manifesto signed by the then candidate John Evans Atta Mills, with which the party ran its 2008 political campaign for last year's elections, replacing it with a new one they refer to as 'The New King James Version.'

Just a few weeks into the ceremonious first 100 days of the government, the ruling NDC has substituted the endorsed manifesto and put in circulation a brand new one with different content and devoid of the signature of President Mills.

As it appears now, the belief of Ghanaians that they voted for the NDC based on a manifesto that would serve their interests has apparently been short-changed with the withdrawal of the original one.

The matter of the two contrasting manifestos became a subject of acrimonious debate on the floor of Parliament last Friday when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Bimbilla, Dominic B. A. Nitiwul, in an attempt to quote from portions of the NDC manifesto, quickly sent almost all the ruling party MPs to their feet.

The NDC MPs argued in unison that Hon. Nitiwul, was not quoting from their manifesto and that the document he was referring to, which had the signature of President Mills had been withdrawn by the ruling party because of certain errors in it.

However, Hon. Nitiwul, a teacher by profession, who was contributing to the debate on President Mills' State of the Nation address on education, insisted that he was actually quoting from the NDC manifesto which had been endorsed by its leader to indicate what the ruling party promised to do for the education sector.

After a heated debate and protestations on the issue between the Minority and Majority sides, the NDC MP for Avenor Ave and First Deputy Speaker who was in the Chair for the day, ruled that Hon. Nitiwul, should use the new version of the NDC manifesto as the old one had indeed been withdrawn, re-affirming the submissions of his colleagues on the Majority side.

Obliging with the Speaker's ruling, Hon. Nitiwul then started to quote figures from the new manifesto, which the Minority described as the 'King James Version'.

Surprisingly however, the first objection by the majority was just a sequel to another denial, as the NDC MP for Ningo/Prampram and Majority Chief Whip; E. T. Mensah, rose up on his feet to challenge Hon. Nitiwul that he was still not referring to the revised NDC manifesto.

Nonetheless, having been challenged to refer to page 78 of the manifesto and after realizing that the young and eloquent Bimbilla MP had not manufactured any figures but just simply quoting those from the 'King James Version', Hon. E. T. Mensah concluded that the figures were typographical errors and not what the NDC intended to put in the manifesto.

In the said document, the NDC had promised to build 20,000-seat capacity stadium for each regional capital as well as 7,000-seat capacity for each district capacity, which the party said it was a typo error.  

This conclusion left many tongues wagging on the floor of Parliament, especially from the minority side as to what commitment the ruling NDC is making to the Ghanaian electorate.

Nitiwul in a sarcastic way told the house that it was very difficult to quote from the NDC manifesto because of the inherent shortcomings.



Source: Daily Guide

Media severely criticised over bad reportage

The media's coverage of the recent general election has been severely criticised.

The criticisms which were levelled at a round-table discussion on the elections at Koforidua last week, accused journalists, most of whom were said to be unqualified and media houses of being bias, partisan and influenced by politicians.

The event which was organised by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (COD-Ghana) on the theme "Towards a freer, fairer and a more credible elections 2012" was to examine all aspects of the 2008 elections with the aim of making recommendations that would do away with or reduce negative traits at the 2012 elections.

It brought together experts made up of seasoned media and legal practitioners, lecturers from the universities, top officials from various organisations such as COD-Ghana, CODEO, the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), the Ghana Bar Association(GBA), the National Media Commission and representatives of the European Union Election Observation Mission.

The group which pointed out Radio Gold and Oman FM for broadcasting news items that could have led to chaos called on the government to hasten the passage of a broadcasting law to regulate the activities of radio stations.

A lecturer of the School of Communication Studies, University of Ghana, Dr Audrey Gadzekpo, who set the ball rolling, stated that the media, before and during the elections did not perform well and that news items were based on rumours to incite the public.

She said apart from that, the reports which were partisan in nature featured prominently on the two main political parties, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) while the smaller parties had little coverage.

According to Dr Gadzekpo, such negative traits which nearly plunged the country into chaos must be avoided at the 2012 elections to sustain the country's fledgling democracy which had made Ghana the beacon of hope in Africa.

"Some of the media houses, especially the FM stations such as Oman FM and Radio Gold, due to some circumstances came up with news items that heightened tension and nearly plunged the country into chaos and these must be avoided in 2012", Dr Gadzekpo stated.

Dr Gadzekpo, however, said the media highlighted certain aspects of the elections that made the event successful and called on media houses, especially the private radio stations to recruit qualified and competent staff to be able to perform creditably.

She expressed the hope that the participants would come out with recommendations that would stand the test of time.

Mr Kofi Asante of the CDD said if was not media houses alone whose performance negatively affected the elections and that district chief executives and other public officials should also be blamed because they erected billboards for candidates of the ruling government.

He also wondered why there should be strongholds for certain political parties where others could not freely operate.

The acting Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Miss Anna Bossman, said a study conducted by her outfit in some constituencies during the elections brought to light abuse by the ruling government.

She was also not happy that ballot papers had to be collated or counted more than twice in some constituencies, which according to her, were recipes for chaos.

For his part, the Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Dispatch, Mr Ben Ephson, called on owners of private media houses to engage qualified staff and suggested that the editors of such media outfits must be held responsible for any lapses.

The Executive Secretary of the NMC, Mr George Sarpong said although political parties cheated in the elections, they condemned others.

The General Secretary of the GJA, Mr Bright Blewu, who was of the view that the NMC should be well resourced to be able to do its work, said something must be done to prevent chaos during the 2012 elections.

The EU representative, Mr Nicholay Miadenov, said although the recent elections met international standard, there were some shortcomings and suggested a review of the voters' register and that district chief executives must not campaign for the candidates of the ruling government.

Other contributors were Mr John Larbi of the CDD; Mr Afriyie Badu of Cab Governance Consult; Mr Kofi Owusu of Joy FM; Mr Kwasi Ennin, a conflict resolution expert; Mr Justice V.C.R.A.C . Crabbe, a constitutional expert, Maulvi Wahab Adam, Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission in Ghana, and Professor K.A. Ninsin of the University of Ghana, Legon.

Source: Daily Graphic

Saturday, February 28, 2009

EC charges parties to educate members on electoral laws

Mr Albert Kofi Arhin, Director of Elections of the Electoral Commission (EC), on Friday charged political parties to educate their parliamentary candidates and polling agents to be conversant with the electoral laws in order to remove suspicion that tended to characterised elections.
     He said candidates who employed knowledgeable, effective and reliable polling agents would not have any difficulty with the outcome of the elections.
     Mr Arhin, who stood in Dr Kwadwo Afari-Djan, Chairman of the EC, was speaking at a special Regional Inter-Party Advisory Committee (RIPAC) meeting on "Safeguarding the Integrity of the Ballot" project in Accra.
     The workshop, organised by the EC/Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in collaboration with the KAB Governance Consult, was to demystify the work of the EC.
     This is the second time that the forum is being organised for the political parties as an overview and lessons from the parliamentary fora and polling agents training carried out in the Greater Accra Region in November last year.
     Mr Arhin said the rationale for the meeting was to upgrade the knowledge of participants on elections as well as things that the political parties already knew.
     He said the critique of the forum would also help the EC to know things that went wrong during the last elections and what can be done to correct them.
      Mr Muhammed Adoquaye, Regional Director of the EC, said the seminar offered the right opportunity for the participants to shape up their knowledge on the rights of polling agents, electoral officials and parliamentary candidates.
     He said the parliamentary candidates also had the duty to ensure that their polling agents abide by the electoral rules to help bring peace and transparency at a particular polling station.
     Mr Adoquaye said polling agents were observers and could not intervene in the electoral process like the electoral official.
      Mr Baaba Zakarial, New Patriotic Party parliamentary candidate for the Abokobi-Madina Constituency, said the process of recruiting presiding officials for the various constituencies should be made transparent.
      He alleged that with current recruitment process some political party functionaries were able to infiltrate the process and cheat in the elections.
      Nii Noi Vanderpuye, a member of the Greater Accra Executive of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), urged the EC to resolve the problems of the special, proxy and transfer voting that characterised the December elections.
      He said there was confusion all over as some voters could be seen holding authorised notes from district electoral officials to allow them to vote in the elections.

Ninth Annual Constitution Week celebration commences on April 28

The Ninth Annual Constitution Week activities commence on April 28 to give Ghanaians an opportunity to the public to participate in discussions, debates and theatre performances to ensure that the tenets of the 1992 Constitution become a living document for  attainment of good governance.
     "The outcome of Election 2008 dictates that every Ghanaian enlarged his or her knowledge and information base of the spirit and tenets of the
1992 Constitution for attainment of national cohesion for accelerated growth  and sustenance of democracy and constitutionalism in the country," Mrs. Augustina Akosua Akumanyi, Deputy Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), said on Friday during discussions with a delegation  of the Coalition on the Right to Information (RTI).
     "There is an urgent need to create an increased and sustained interest of all in the evolving democratic dispensation for achievement of social and political stability for national unity and development," she said.
     The RTI Coalition delegation led by Mr. Francis Ameyibor called on the NCCE to initiate the process for adopting Access to Information as the
revolving theme for this year's Constitution Week celebration.
     Mrs. Akumanyi, who welcomed the idea noted that the notion that the constitution was a document for the educated few, especially lawyers, should be removed from the minds of Ghanaians.
     She said the institution of the annual Constitution Week in 2001 was a bid to demystify and make it comprehensible for all to appreciate their respective duties and obligation irrespective of political affiliation and ideology.
     Mr Ameyibor described the NCCE as the largest and most potent civic advocacy institution whose active participation in the crusade for the passage of the RTI Bill would greatly enhance and advance public understanding of the bill.
     He explained that since the aim of the RTI Bill formed part of a national and international move to stamp out corruption, "it's paramount for civic institutions to play an active role in the process leading to its promulgation through the creation of public awareness".
     He said the RTI law would entrench greater transparency and accountability in public affairs, stressing that the underlying factor in the Bill was the need to protect the safety and integrity of the State and the privacy of individuals.
     Mr Ameyibor therefore debunked the notion that the Bill was a media weapon to attack public officials and expose them to public scrutiny, saying there was therefore an urgent need to intensify public education on the Bill.
     He explained that the Bill dealt with two broad subject areas, the first area dealing with information held by government agencies, and the second area with general and miscellaneous matters.
     Ms Florence Nakazibwe, a member of the RTI Coalition delegation, reiterated the urgent need for NCCE to play an active role in the crusade for the passage of the RTI Bill this year.
     The programme of activities for this year's Annual Constitution Week celebration starts with media briefing on April 22, to be followed by the main lecture on April 28.
     The role of security services in consolidating democracy would be given a boost with their involvement in the celebration through durbars for the Military, Police, Immigration, Fire, CEPS and Prison services.