Tag: NDC


Ghana a definite ‘model African democracy’

Election 2012: The people are the winners as the “model African democracy” that is Ghana shows it is divided as ever in another tight election

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Seen as a model of democracy and stable governance in a sometimes volatile continent, Ghana lived up to that reputation with almost impeccably observed election. Current incumbent President John Mahama Dramani was declared the winner on Sunday night in tight contest which almost mirrored the contest of 2008.

The electoral commission said that Mr Mahama had won 50.7% against his NPP rival Nana Akufo-Addo on 47.74%. On a slightly sour note the opposition party, NPP claimed the poll was fraudulent and will contest the result, accusing the governing NDC party of conspiring with electoral commission staff to fix Friday’s poll. The NPP also claimed they had “enough concrete evidence” to prove that Mr Akufo-Addo had won the election.

Whether there is indeed evidence in existence to substantiate the NPP’s claims remains to be seen. What is clear though is the peaceful manner in which the Presidential ballot was carried out, and much of the credit for this must go the Ghanaian electorate themselves. Many voters turned up at the polls more than four hours before the sun was even up, standing inches apart in queues that in some places stretched 1,000-people deep. Each polling station had a single biometric machine, and if it failed to identify the voter’s fingerprint, or if it broke down, there was no backup. When it became clear that large numbers of people had not been able to vote, the election commission announced it would extend voting by a second day.

However this did not faze the Ghanaian people deeply attached to the tradition of democracy, with voters seen urging each other to remain calm while they waited their turn to vote. The result announced by the electoral commission showed how split the country is in regards to support of the two main parties and the direction the country should go. Naturally there will be a lot of disappointed NPP supporters at this time, however thankfully that disappointment has yet to turn into violence on a severe scale.

Ghana was once a troubled nation that suffered five coups and decades of stagnation, before turning a corner in the 1990s. It is now a pacesetter for the continent’s efforts to become democratic. No other country in the region has had so many elections deemed free and fair, a reputation voter’s hold close to their hearts.

In a country where the provocative style of politics followed by the two main parties does not help to diffuse tension between rival parties, the electorate did well not to rise to the bait dished out by some of their own leaders.

Whether or not we have heard the last of this election result, one thing is for sure; the people of Ghana should yet again be applauded for their tolerance of the democratic process.

Long live democracy in Ghana!

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

Ghana’s presidential elections 2012

Meet the Candidates : Nana Akufo-Addo

 

On December 07 2012 Nana Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the NPP will have aspirations of becoming the President of Ghana for the second time in four years. This time round he will be hoping for a different outcome as in 2008 he was defeated by the late former President John Atta Mills of the NDC in a closely fought election that divided Ghana. Much of this division still remains four years down the line, and once again the NPP and NDC will slug it out next month in what could be another cliffhanger of a result.

But what of the NPP’S Flag bearer?  Akufo-Addo, a lawyer by trade was elected three times between 1996 and 2004 as Member of Parliament for the Abuakwa South constituency in the Eastern region of Ghana. From 2001 to 2007 he served as a Cabinet Minister, first as Attorney General and Minister for Justice and later as Foreign Minister for five years –  Akufo-Addo in many people’s eyes served President John Kufuor with distinction.

As Attorney General, he was responsible for the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law, a law that had been used to intimidate the media and criminalize free speech. The repeal has enabled the Ghanaian media to become one of the most vibrant and freest in Africa. Under his chairmanship of the Legal Sector Reform Committee, the implementation of the court automation programme was initiated. During his tenure as Foreign Minister, he was fully involved in the successful Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) peace efforts in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, and Guinea Bissau, and was chairman of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council in 2003

It was these kinds of achievements that singled him out as a potential leader of the NPP. Thus Akufo-Addo resigned from the Kufuor government in July 2007 to contest for the position of presidential candidate of his party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the then ruling party of Ghana, for the 2008 elections. Competing against sixteen others, Akufo-Addo won 48% of the votes in the first round of that election, but was given a unanimous endorsement in the second round, making him the party’s presidential candidate.  He of course went on to lose that election in a run-off against John Atta Mills despite the fact in the first round Akufo-Addo received more votes than Mills.

Since receiving his party’s endorsement to run in the 2012 elections Akufo-Addo and the NPP have been campaigning on an anti-corruption platform. The slogan “Ghana MUST move forward” has been used to promote their policies on Jobs, Education & Healthcare.

Some of the NPP’s key ideologies/policies are as follows:

 

  • Job creation through economic growth: By implementing a Trade Policy that focuses on job creation for all. They believe this is the only way to break the hand to mouth existence and free Ghanaians to aspire to a better life and prosperity.

 

 

 

  • Building an educated society: By ensuring that no child is denied access to secondary education. Akufo-Addo and the NPP plan to remove the biggest obstacles that currently stand in the way of this (cost and access), in addition to tuition and other costs already borne by government. The NPP pledge that admission, library, computer, science centre and examination fees will all be free. They plan to fund this using a percentage of the oil revenues allocated to the Ghana National Petroleum Company.

 

 

 

  • Expanding access to quality health care: By reviving and restoring confidence in the NHIS, bringing public healthcare to Ghanaians doorsteps. Akufo-Addo’s goal is to achieve universal coverage of the NHIS for all Ghanaians. The NPP will spend more on public-health education and primary healthcare. They also plan to expand health facilities and increase the training of health workers.

 

 

Nana Akufo-Addo is an accomplished politician but does his policies and ideas have any substance? He is indeed correct that Ghana must move forward but is he the man to help us achieve this?

Leave your comments below

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

Ghana’s presidential elections 2012

Meet the Candidates :  President John Dramani Mahama

With less than a month before the Ghanaian Presidential elections it is only right we give our readers an insight into the candidates vying for the top job in Ghana. Over the next three weeks we will be profiling the three main candidates.

First up is President John Dramani Mahama the NDC (National Democratic Congress) candidate.  Former Vice-President Mahama became president following the death of the former President John Atta Mills in July this year.  It is likely to be a straight fight between him and Nana Akufo-Addo of the NPP (National Patriotic Party) for the Ghanaian Presidency with the winner likely to be the one who can capture minds of the younger voters.

A respected communications expert, historian, and writer, Mahama has had a varied political career. Mahama was first elected to the Parliament of Ghana in the 1996 elections to represent the Bole/Bamboi Constituency for a four-year term. In April 1997, Mahama was appointed Deputy Minister of Communications. In 2000, Mahama was re-elected for another four-year term as the Member of Parliament for the Bole/Bamboi Constituency. He was again re-elected in 2004 for a third term. From 2001 to 2004, Mahama served as the Minority Parliamentary Spokesman for Communications. In 2002, he was appointed the Director of Communications for the NDC. In January 2009, Mahama became the Vice-President of Ghana – he also served as a member of the National Economic Management Team in this capacity.

When his party the National Democratic Congress endorsed him as the 2012 Presidential Candidate, Mahama has stated that his administration is deeply committed to continuing the” Better Ghana Agenda” started under late President Mills. This agenda is a policy vision that the NDC drew up when they were elected into power four years ago and was a reaction to what they deemed was the former ruling party’s failings in sectors such as the economy, health and education.

Some of the main points from the NDC 2012 election manifesto ““Advancing the Better Ghana Agenda” is as follows;

 

  • The NDC says it would rapidly expand access to quality education at both the basic and secondary levels of education by ensuring that the 20 per cent of children who are not in school gain access to schooling; and the nearly 50 per cent who do not have access to secondary-level education gain access to JSS and SHS
  • Pledge to ensure that “ENERGY FOR ALL” slogan becomes the bedrock of socio-economic transformation by expanding production and intensifying regular and reliable access to electricity and energy including those who currently do not have access.
  • On health, the next NDC Government will double the number of Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compounds from about 1,600 to 3,200 to meet the needs of under-served communities.
  • On Youth and Sports, the NDC promises to establish a GH¢10 million Jobs and Enterprise Development Fund to encourage and support young people to become successful entrepreneurs and create sustainable job opportunities

 

What do you think of the policies Mahama and the NDC have put forward? Would he get your vote as the man to take Ghana forward in the next four years?

Join the debate and leave your comments below.

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

Ghana’s presidential debates: Round 1

As the two main Presidential candidates clash it is the underdog who rises to the challenge to charm voters in first debate

 

With the US Presidential election campaign and Hurricane Sandy dominating the news of late, you may not be aware that the Ghanaian Presidential debate took place on 30th October 2012 in Tamale. The CPP, NDC, NPP and PNC presidential candidates were all present in Ghana’s most northern city to engage in hotly contested televised discussion on some of the policies that matter most to voters.

President Mahama of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) being the flag-bearers of the biggest parties,  both put in professional performances. Mahama seemed slightly below par, perhaps as a result of being the incumbent, and spent much of his time lauding and defending the NDC’s record in government and not enough articulating his vision for the next four years. In contrast, Akufo-Addo took every opportunity to trumpet his flagship free Senior High School policy, and likely edged it in the vision stakes as a result.

However of the two minor parties, the Convention Peoples Party’s (CPP) Abu Sakara gave a good, technocratic performance and seems to have struck a chord with many viewers, especially the young. It is extremely unlikely that this performance enough to ensure he is in the running come the election but it was refreshing to see all the same. Hassan Ayariga of the Peoples National Convention (PNC) was less impressive and assessments of his performance by the media and online have been very unflattering. He seemed not to have a core focus to his arguments and at times butted in and looked as if he was supporting President Mahama with some of his comments.

Overall Nana Akufo-Addo will be happy with his efforts and President Mahama maybe less so, whilst Abu Skara ist not likely to win, he will be happy with the impact his performance had on voters. The next Presidential debate will be held in Accra on 20 November. We wait with anticipation…

If you saw the debate what did you make of it?  Which candidate are you backing to take Ghana forward?

This is an important time for Ghana so please join the debate and leave your comments below

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

Ghana in a state of mourning

President John Atta Mills dead at 68

 

Ghana is a nation in shock after learning that President John Atta Mills, who was allegedly suffering from throat cancer, has died in hospital in the capital, Accra. This is the first time that a president has died while in office in Ghana. Although there had been persistent rumours of the president’s ill health his sudden death has taken many people by surprise.

A statement from the president’s office read; “ it is with a heavy heart… that we announce the sudden and untimely death of the president of the Republic of Ghana,”

Hours after the death of Atta Mills an emergency session of Parliament was held.  John Dramani Mahama, his vice-president, has been sworn in as his replacement in a ceremony in the capital. All flags were flown at half mast as Ghana began a national period of mourning.

US President Barack Obama who historically visited Ghana in 2009 paid tribute to the President, praising Mr Atta Mills as a “strong advocate for human rights and for the fair treatment of all Ghanaians”, according to a White House statement. Other tributes came in from the Presidents of Kenya and Liberia.

Ghana is hailed as a solid democracy in Africa, so Atta Mills’ sudden death should not spark a political crisis but will certainly test the country’s democratic institutions. As Vice-President John Dramani Mahama steps in as interim head of state, the question people are asking in the Ghana is: “Who is going to run for president with the ruling NDC party in December?” The obvious choice would be Mahama but who knows.

Now I have to admit I have not been a supporter and the NDC. However it is a sad day when your head of state passes. Ghanaians should use his death as a catalyst for increased unity especially in light of the upcoming elections at the end of year.

Thus the best tribute Ghana can give to Atta Mills is peaceful elections in December. Our prayers and thoughts are with the family and friends of the late president.

Any comments and condolence messages will be welcomed. God bless our homeland Ghana

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (Kwesi)

Cheryl Hudson: Blog 2 – Like a Local

Some days I actually wake up thinking I’ve lived here my whole life…

Everything is just really familiar. It didn’t that me too long to get used to everything same ways I’m starting to worry about coming back to the UK. True say I have got darker, my accent is deep and I’m far too relaxed about most things. If I say I will get there for 1pm I’m reaching at Quarter to 3 but don’t hate.. wai?

My accent is proper. Sometimes my Twi mixes Fante but its always done that. My fiancé starts a conversation in Ga and ends it in Pidgin. I was shouting at the TV the other day watching Nollywood and caught myself cussing saying “Aah you de craze papa” – a mix of twi and pidgin. The local language is just a mish mash of Ga, twi, fante and pidgin all in one, kind of universal so that everyone can be involved. I introduced myself to

Ghana’s Economy 75% Bigger Than Estimated…

Yesterday afternoon it was announced that Ghana’s economy is 75% bigger than previously calculated.

Standard & Poor’s cut Ghana’s credit rating to B, five steps below investment grade, on Aug. 27, as they were concerned about the large fiscal deficit and a lack of clarity on oil-industry laws. The government posted shortfalls equivalent to 14.5% of GDP in 2008 and 9.7% in 2009. This lead The International Monetary Fund to think that the shortfall may exceed the 8% target this year. Figures which are now significantly smaller.

Economic growth slowed in 2009 after the government embarked on an austerity program to bring down the budget deficit. Nevertheless, yesterday’s announcement from Ghana’s representative for the IMF said that “over the last five years Ghana has performed better than most of its peers.” It was also stated that “The new data series includes activities of the oil sector, forest plantations and information and communication, which were not included in previous estimates.” (Click here to read more)