Friday, December 26, 2008

Let it be Peaceful (Spread)

December 24, 2008

AS the country prepares for a decisive presidential run-off on December 28, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr Stephen Asamoah-Boateng, has reminded Ghanaians of their responsibility to ensure a peaceful and united Ghana.
The Information Minister said it behoved the two contesting political parties in the run-off to also ensure that Ghanaians remained as one people with a common destiny after a winner had finally been chosen.
“We need our collective energies and resources to tackle the issues that confront our people. After Sunday, December 28, the team that gets the mandate of Ghanaians must immediately begin to build on our achievements as a nation and to address issues that will move our country to a higher level,” he pointed out.
Reading from the Holy Bible to support his statement at a post-election meet-the-press organised in Accra yesterday, Mr Asamoah Boateng said it was God’s way of reducing the tension in the country by making it fail to get a winner in the first round of voting.
He said Ghanaians should remember that the rest of the world was watching how the country would come out successfully and urged the people not to give a chance to the “devil to destroy what we have so far achieved”.
Mr Asamoah Boateng took the opportunity to challenge the people not to let politics divide them but rather live peacefully with one another, irrespective of their ethnic, political, social and religious background.
On the run-off, the minister called on the electorate to go out and vote, adding that, “the job before all Ghanaians is not complete. This Sunday, December 28, we have been called to duty again. By the rules of the election, the two leading contenders and their political parties which emerged from the first round elections are pitting their strength against each other again”.
He complained about the attitude of some influential members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to cause confusion in the country and mentioned a statement issued by the spokesperson and press secretary to Prof J.E.A Mills, Mr Koku Anyidoho, to the effect that his party was winning and will, therefore, not take any “nonsense” from the Electoral Commission (EC) and also warned the Chairman of the Commission to be careful even though the result had, at the time, just begun to come in.
Mr Asamoah Boateng also alleged that supporters of the NDC stormed the terminal of the Metro Mass Transit in Tamale to beat the drivers, as well as take the keys to the vehicles from them, attacked and burnt the rice farm belonging to the Nanton-Naa, as well as attacked the chief of Shama in the Western Region.
“In various parts of the country, supporters of the NDC had resorted to insults and hooting at anyone perceived as not being with them. It is important for the NDC to recognise that elections are not meant as avenue for hate, destruction and war. It is an expression by the electorate of how and which team they trust to govern the country for the next four years,” he stressed.
Mr Asamoah Boateng said he found it difficult to understand why the NDC was trying to convince Ghanaians that they won the first round election, knowing very well that the 49.13 per cent which the New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, had was higher than the 47.92 per cent the NDC candidate, Prof J.E. Atta Mills, had.
“The government wishes to call on the leadership of the NDC to publicly affirm the commitment to the true spirit of democracy,” he stressed.
The minister said it was unfortunate that any recent move made by the agencies of the government was given political meaning and cited the measures taken to prevent pair trawling and also attempts by the judiciary to correct an earlier mistake it made by punishing some drivers wrongly.
The minister also touched on some irregularities which were recorded during the last elections and called on the EC to take action to safeguard the constitutional provisions governing elections in the country.
“Again there were reports of threats, intimidation and some EC officers compromising their discipline within close proximity of the polling centres. I wish to call on the security personnel at the various stations to fully assist in putting a stop to these electoral malpractices,” he stated.

Monday, December 22, 2008

MoH honours workers (Page 35)

December 22,2008.
THE immediate past Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Professor Stephen Adei, has challenged Ghanaians not to allow party politics to continue to divide them but should rather form a united front if they want to develop as a nation.
He said it was unfortunate that people had deliberately created what he referred to as enhanced division, especially on political lines, which had negatively affected the development of the nation.
At an end-of-year get-together organised by the Ministry of Health (MOH) in Accra on Friday, Prof. Adei said the country was so much divided on the basis of New Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC) to the extent that some people found it extremely difficult to work with others even if those other persons could perform.
Touching on the upcoming presidential run-off scheduled for December 28, he predicted that it would be difficult for the winner to get more than 53 per cent of the total votes and said if it happened like that, the other 47 per cent of the electorate should not be sidelined but included in the building of the nation.
“There is the need for us to learn to work together because nobody ever succeeds alone,” he emphasised.
On the attitude of some civil servants, he stressed that it was wrong for people to believe that they could achieve results by doing the same thing over and over again and advised that it was important for people to change their way of doing things for the better if they actually wanted to move forward.
Prof. Adei also complained about the Ghanaian attitude where meanings were read into every move senior public officials made and said elsewhere, an employee could be hired or fired based on efficiency but “here you cannot do that without people giving all manner of reasons for your actions”.
The Minister of Health, Major Courage Quashigah (retd), said it was good that there would be Christmas celebration before the presidential run-off and urged people to remember the message of the season, which was peace, and go by it.
He took the opportunity to advise all Ghanaians, especially the ordinary people, to learn from events of some neighbouring countries where there had been conflicts because of elections and observed that when war broke, it was the ordinary person who suffered most.
Maj. Quashigah also reminded Ghanaians to avoid drunkenness during the Yuletide, since too much alcohol could cause people their lives either through accidents or ill health. He also spoke against people taking in too much food during the occasion.
Welfare messages were presented on behalf of the development partners, agencies under the ministry and the staff of the ministry.
As part of the programme, awards were presented to some personalities for their performance over the years and institutions who had helped the ministry perform its functions.
They included Maj. Quashigah, Dr (Mrs) Gladys Norley Ashietey, who is a deputy minister at the ministry; the Government’s Spokesperson on Social Services, Mr Kofi Amponsah Bediako. Others were Mr James Nortey, Ms Regina Abordoh and Ms Doris Parry, the overall best worker.
Institutions that were awarded were the World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations International Children and Education Fund (UNICEF) the Department for International Development (DFID), the African Development Fund, the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Ghana and the Global Fund.

CPP members being forced to join NDC - Greenstreet (page 16)

December 19, 2008

THE General Secretary of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Mr Ivor Greenstreet has said the decision by the Northern Regional Secretariat of the party to support the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the December 28 presidential run-off might have been made under duress.
He said he had earlier on received information from the Northern Region that the CPP members were being forced to join the NDC else they risk having their houses burnt and other properties destroyed.
Reacting to a story carried by the Daily Graphic today (Thursday) in which the Northern Regional Secretariat of the CPP was reported to have declared its intention to support the candidature of Professor John Atta Mills of the NDC in the December 28 presidential election run-off, Mr Greenstreet said although he appreciated the difficulty the branch found itself, the Central Committee of the party would still have to deliberate on the issue and take a decision on it.
He said it was strange for the Secretariat to openly come out with that declaration after the Central Committee had categoricaly stated that CPP would not attach itself to either the New Patriotic Party (NPP) or the NDC during the run-off. He described the incident as untimely, unfortunate and reprehensible.
Mr Greenstreet said the CPP decided not to align itself with either the NPP or the NDC because the party had realised that its earlier decision to support each of the two parties in the past did not help develop the CPP but rather created problems within it.
“Instead of helping the party as one would have wished, such moves in the past had rather been divisive”, he stressed.
The General Secretary said the CPP had learnt its lesson the more now that the party had managed to win a parliamentary seat in the Jommoro Constituency through the daughter of the founder of the party, Madam Samia Nkrumah without support from any other political party and hoped to continue from there.
He stated that the executive had listened to concerns raised by the rank and file of the party as well as the general public and taken a final decision not throw its weight behind any party but rather allow the individual members to vote for their any of the parties in the race.
In today’s (Thursday) issue of the Daily Graphic, the Northern Regional Secretariat of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) was said to have declared its intention to support the candidature of Professor Mills in the December 28 presidential election run-off.
According to the secretariat, even though the national executive of the party was yet to take its final stand as to who to support in the run-off, ‘‘we of the Northern Region are meanwhile responding to the exigencies of this critical moment in our nation’s history.’’
‘‘It is a clash of the forces of peace and those of confrontational politics; it is a clash of ideas and manifestos; it is a clash between humility and arrogance; it is a clash of characters, and to remain neutral in the face of such clear choices will be unfortunate’’, the CPP branch indicated.
According to the Northern Regional Organiser of the CPP, Mr Basharu Daballi in a statement, the party entered into this year’s elections on a platform of change and that the decisive battle will be on December 28 ‘‘between the forces of change and the forces of stagnation’’.

Akwatia Political Crisis Takes Different Turn (Page 29)

December 19, 2008
THE problem that arose in the Akwatia Constituency during the December 7 parliamentary election seems to rage on since the two main contending candidates have taken different positions on the issue of the re-run in six polling stations where ballot boxes were destroyed.
While the New Patriotic Party (NPP) parliamentary candidate, Dr Kofi Asare, said he accepted the decision by the Electoral Commission (EC) although he would have wished that the contents of the remaining ballot boxes already counted would be used to determine a winner, the candidate for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Baba Mohammed Ahmed Jamal insisted that there should be a re-run in whole constituency.
In a telephone interview with Dr Asare, he said since the EC was the final authority on the election, he had no option but to accept the commission’s decision and prepare for the re-run scheduled for December 28.
He said it was unfortunate that some people decided to take the law into their own hands and misbehave during the day of election, which created problems for everybody in the constituency and expressed the hope that at the end of the day, the right choice of the people would emerge.
At the time of the interview, Dr Asare said he was meeting with the executives in the constituency to discuss how best they could strategise to win more votes in the six constituencies.
Baba Jamal, however, said he would not accept anything short of a complete re-run throughout the constituency.
He explained that he had already sent a petition to the EC together with the other three candidates in the competition, adding that with the hard evidence presented to the commission, he was sure the EC would rescind its decision and conduct fresh election at all the 89 polling stations in the constituency.
Giving reasons for not accepting the EC’s decision, Baba Jamal said there were series of irregularities in some polling stations, which had been accepted and named. The results declared at Wenchi, Apinaman and Dwenase polling stations were more than 100 per cent.
He said his party agents were prevented from monitoring the process in those areas and, therefore, did not append their signatures to the results that were declared. He added that he had to go to those areas under tight military protection on election day
When he was questioned on his next line of action if the EC decided not to change its decision, Baba Jamal said the EC would accept his proposal after it had looked at his petition and the issues raised but was quick to add that if the worse came, his party would seek legal intervention.
On Tuesday, December 16, 2008, the Daily Graphic reported that voting would take place at six polling stations in the Akwatia Constituency where ballot boxes were said to have been tampered with during the December 7, 2008 general election to determine the winner of the parliamentary race.
The seat for the constituency is being keenly contested by Dr Kofi Asare of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Baba Mohammed Ahmed Jamal of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), who is also his party’s Deputy General Secretary.
The Akwatia re-run will be on December 28, 2008, alongside the presidential run-off, and the ballots cast will be added to those already counted for the declaration of the full results.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Chairman of the EC, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, said the decision to re-run the election at the six polling stations at Akwatia was arrived at after painstaking investigations by the EC.
At dusk on December 7, 2008 when results were being collated at Akwatia, supporters of the NPP and the NDC were said to have nearly clashed, compelling electoral officers and security personnel to convey the electoral materials and ballot boxes to the electoral office at Kade for collation.
Counting started at 7 a.m. the next day and ended at 3.10 p.m., according to the EC’s electoral officer, but the ballots in six boxes were not collated.
Two of the six ballot boxes were destroyed by 0 around 3.30 p.m. while voting was going on. Four other boxes, along with the electoral materials, were whisked away by machomen.
As a result of the development, the vote counting was limited to the rest of the remaining ballot boxes.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

DFP declares support for Akufo-Addo

Story: Lucy Adoma Yeboah (December 16, 2008)

THE Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) has thrown its weight behind the New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential candidate, Nana Addo-Dankwa Akuffo Addo, for the run-off scheduled for December 28, 2008.
At a press conference held by the DFP in Accra yesterday, the General Secretary, Mr Bede A. Ziedeng, said the DFP strongly felt that the NPP administration had made the necessary efforts to put the Ghanaian economy on an even keel which yielded and continued to yield results, despite the numerous external shocks.
“It is a matter of course that, in the greater national interest, the party supports a candidate that will most likely continue to improve on our economic performance, and also maintain the goodwill and international support that Ghana currently enjoys. Nana Addo is the man to do it”, he observed.
Mr Ziedeng said the DFP was approached by the NPP to officially seek the party’s support in Nana Akuffo Addo’s bid for the presidency, and went on to explain that the DFP’s decision had been highly informed by the NPP’s interest and the respect for the party as a key player in Ghana’s contemporary politics.
In addition he stated that the party was also approached by the NDC but they could not accept the NDC’s invitation.
“Having taken this decision, the Democratic Freedom Party is now fully set to campaign for Nana Addo-Dankwa Akuffo Addo to win the run-off.
“We, therefore, call on all our members, field activists, supporters and sympathisers to campaign, and turn out to vote, and vote massively for Nana Addo-Dankwa Akuffo Addo of the New Patriotic Party on December 28, 2008”, he said.
At the general election held on December 7, 2008, the presidential candidate of the DFP, Mr Emmanuel Ansah-Antwi, polled 27,889, representing 0.33 per cent of the valid votes cast.
Mr Ziedeng said the DFP preferred the NPP to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) because it was a fact that the political climate created by the NPP had been congenial enough to allow for the steady growth and development of a party like theirs.
He observed that although the DFP was born as a political party whilst the NPP was in government, indeed, the DFP did not experience any obstacles.
“The DFP can thus be sure of its survival, growth and development under Nana Addo-Dankwa Akuffo Addo’s administration. This guarantee we do not want to trade off”, he stressed.
Mr Ziedeng pointed out that from the party’s political past, it felt the NPP had a more enviable human right record, adding that the DFP as a political party naturally supported a movement towards a freer political environment in which individuals and group rights were respected and treasured.
He also explained that the DFP had as one of its core policies contained in its manifesto the launch of a Green Revolution and one of the key components of the envisaged agricultural revolution, adding that with the initiative taken by the NPP government to subsidise fertiliser this year, even though not far reaching , would have been expected.
Present at the press conference were the patron of the DFP, Mr Obed Asamoah, the party’s presidential candidate in the last general election, Mr Emmanuel Ansah-Antwi, the deputy General Secretary, Mr John Ameka and other party executives.

Common People for Nana Addo (Page 30)

A GROUP of mostly young people calling themselves “Common People for Nana Addo” yesterday reminded Ghanaians not to make the mistake of voting for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the run-off since that would send the country many years back.
At its inaugural conference at Mambrobi in the Ablekuma South Constituency in Accra , the group, numbering more than 200, pledged their support for the New Patriotic Party (NPP’s) presidential candidate, Nana Addo-Dankwa Akuffo Addo, and promised to “win more souls for him” to win the presidential run-off.
The objective of the group, according to the speakers at the programme, was to sensitise the electorate to the need to vote for Nana Akuffo Addo, and after the party had come to power, form groups to lobby for development projects in their communities.
In a statement, a founding member of the group, Mr Charles Biney, said Ghanaians should make an informed choice by looking at the background of the two contending parties as well as the candidates and choose which one was in a better position to sustain the freedom the people were enjoying.
He said the NPP had over the years proved that it had the interest of the people at heart, and should therefore be given the opportunity to continue with the good works it had started else the electorate would live to regret as a people.
Mr Biney said there was enough evidence to indicate that the NPP had the capacity to develop Ghana further, considering the fact that the government had managed the economy so well even in the midst of such serious global economic crisis.
Another founding member of the group, Mr Steve Opoku-Koranteng, called on the youth to take their destiny in their own hands by voting for Nana Akuffo Addo who he was sure could come up with programmes to ensure a brighter future for every Ghanaian.
Mr Owusu-Koranteng, a United States-based Ghanaian, said there was the need for the members of the party to get down to the common people on the street, explain issues to them in order to convince them to vote for the NPP candidate.
Shouting a slogan “fired up” which had the response “ready to vote” by the crowd, Mr Opoku-Koranteng said each vote was important and should therefore not be wasted.
He observed that what the NPP had done for Ghana was incomparable and advised Ghanaians to go out in their numbers on December 28 to vote for Nana Akuffo Addo.
For her part, Ms Abenaa Boateng who is also a member of the group, called on those present at the programme not to discriminate against any one in their campaign but make the effort to get in touch with every one in their respective communities and try to explain to them why Nana Akuffo Addo was the better choice, adding “you would never know who you can convince”.
She advised the youth to support the campaign to get Nana Addo to power since it was clear that their future would be assured under his administration.
Present at the meeting were some seasoned members of the NPP in the Ablekuma South Constituency, notable among them were Madam Naomi Doodo aka Auntie Naa and Mr Seth Owusu.