Tag: NPP


Is Rawlings really the founder of the NDC?

Former president Jerry John Rawlings has never been happy with the performance of the NDC presidents that came after him, namely Atta-Mills and John Mahama as regards to probity and accountability. He put excessive pressure on the two former presidents and accused them of incompetence. His criticisms drew him apart from the presidency. Those who benefitted from the corrupt and administration of the two presidents saw Rawlings as an enemy. Most of the time, the party held national and executive meetings and conferences without inviting Rawlings. Sadly enough, such attitudes of hatred by the top brass of the NDC have compelled Rawlings to do what he is doing. Observers from other parties felt that it was unfortunate to treat the founder of the party this way. But do his party members consider him as a founder?

Rawlings is generally considered as the founder of the NDC but, now and then, there are voices which challenge this view. A chief proponent of this view has been Obed Asamoah, a long-time member of Rawlings’ governments in their military and civilian incarnations. In an exclusive interview with Emera Appawu of Joy News, Obed Asamoah explained that when it was time to file the registration of the NDC, Rawlings was still in the Ghana Armed Forces so he could not have represented any district as a founding father. However, Dr Obed Asamoah explained that after the party had been set, a clause was fixed in the party’s constitution to recognize the contribution of Rawlings to the ideals upon which the party was founded.

Obed Asamoah made this position even clearer in his memoirs: The Political History of Ghana

Obed Asamoah

(1950-2013) – The Experience of a Non-Conformist published in 2014, where he stated that the idea of founding the NDC was a collective one taken by a group to which Rawlings was not part of. The group saw Rawlings as the best person to lead the new party and approached him with the idea. Rawlings accepted. It is, therefore, clear that the initiative of forming the party did not come from Rawlings. This can be compared with the formation of the CPP where the idea for the party germinated in the mind of Kwame Nkrumah who brought it into being, provided it with much of its ideological direction, singularly led it from its beginnings through all its glorious years and eventual demise. Today the CPP has been struggling without its revered founder. The NDC, on the other hand, has won elections even without Rawlings leading it.

The issue of who founded what can be a tricky one as we are seeing in the current debate about who founded Ghana. Even though Rawlings did not himself initiate the idea of forming the NDC from the remnants of the PNDC, he was the very personification of the party, at least in the initial stages. The party was built around him. It is doubtful if the party could have won the first two elections in the Fourth Republic without Rawlings leading it. That is why people generally regard him as the founder.

The same argument can be tweaked to apply to the foundation of Ghana. Even though the Gold Coast may have been in existence before Nkrumah burst on the political scene in the colony, the fact of our independence became personified in him. He was the very face of our independence and, by extension, the new nation. That is why people associate the founding of the nation with him. It does not mean they think there were no others in the independence struggle. Nkrumah’s contributions were unique and it is easier for people to connect with an individual and accord him a symbolic status than with an amorphous group of persons each of whose contributions cannot be accurately gauged.

Valerie Sawyer

And so Rawlings is likely to continue being regarded as the founder of the NDC in the popular mind, no matter what Obed Asamoah says. The question then becomes: is Rawlings trying to destroy what he created? It can be said that all of Rawlings’ bad-mouthing of his own party shows him in character. The pointing out of the ills of our society and the condemnation of others have been Rawlings’ trademarks as a public person since his first coup day speech on radio. The party and Ghanaians, generally, have endured his antics. Now and then, they try to give it back to him. Now, it seems a section of the party hierarchy can take it no longer. Valerie Sawyer’s outburst a few weeks ago is symptomatic of this feeling. Obed Asamoah quickly came to Sawyerr’s defence while others attacked her. Alhaji Bature has gone so far as to suggest that Rawlings should be sacked from his own party.

What particularly irks a section of the party hierarchy is what they think is his dancing with the ruling party when he gives Akufo-Addo a clean bill of health when it comes to corruption, and threatening that his own party would not regain power even in 2020 unless it changes its ways. They point out that the NPP itself, under the Kufuor government, was very corrupt and Akufo-Addo was part of that government and that Rawlings’ own life is not beyond reproach. His wife has become rich from deals that are tainted with corruption, all his children received higher education abroad at great expense, he lives a lifestyle far above that of the ordinary Ghanaian who he claims to be fighting for and he received what is clearly bribe money from Abacha. He has also exhibited the greed that is characteristic of all African leaders and the political elite: becoming rich through the acquisition of political power. Rawlings has been calling on his party to return to its founding principles but he may not agree that the erosion of those principles started under his watch.

Of late there is the belief that he is losing his influence over the party and therefore his deliberate scheme of blame and vituperations are meant to destroy the NDC party.

The Rawlings family felt very much disturbed and frustrated by the kind of treatment meted out to them

Nana Konadu Agyemang

by the NDC top hierarchy. Mrs Rawlings took a bold step to move out of NDC and through her admirers a new platform called Friends of Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings (FONKAR) was created. She later did everything possible to form a new party. Even though she craftily chose a party name whose letters (NDP) were intended to confuse the illiterate voter because it sounded midway between NDC and NPP when they are pronounced or seen. It is believed that her intention of forming the party was not to win but to split the NDC votes. Did she succeed?

It is difficult to predict what the intentions of Rawlings are. Does he intend to obliterate the name of the party with which he has been associated from the political map of Ghana, or is he just trying to make himself still relevant in Ghanaian politics? What he really intends to do lies within the womb of time.

By Stephen Atta Owusu

Massive Inter-party Applause as Nana Addo relegates Galamsey to History

Governments have come and gone, presidents and heads of state have come and gone, ministers responsible for lands and mineral resources have come and gone but none of these were able to stop galamsey or relegate it to the abyss of forgetfulness. Indeed Nana Addo has done what all the others could not do. The reason why this illegal mining could gain roots, thus becoming untouchable and unstoppable was that, influential people including top executives, politicians, chiefs and even top police and military officers, all had a stake in the galamsey by condoning, and conniving with young boys to do illegal mining for them.

Galamsey which was a crude form of the statement, “gather them and sell,” is an illegal mining activity by both young and old with the full support and connivance of big and influential men in the society. This illegal activity started long before Ghana gained its independence. Ghana happens to be the 10th leading producer of gold in the entire world and 2nd in Africa. This illegal mining activity became a blessing and a curse and this will be explained in detail in the article. The curse far outweighed the blessings due to health hazards, environmental degradation, the destruction of farm lands and the indiscriminate pollution of water bodies.

Mining itself is a major economic activity in many developing countries. In Ghana, small-scale mining was once a respected traditional vocation. In the late 80s, the government officially legalized small-scale mining. This decision brought to the fore some challenges, including the mechanism by which the government granted concession to peasants. The process was very cumbersome and slow, thus compelling many to mine illicitly. Galamsey began in earnest and boomed from regime to regime, only to intensify during Mahama’s regime. Since then galamsey became a source of livelihood for those who live near the legal mining communities. They were motivated to enter the illegal mining due to unemployment, poverty and increase in price of gold in the world market. As a result many people including the jobless have swarmed the mining areas to engage in galamsey. Even those whose cocoa trees could not yield much, have abandoned farming and joined the galamsey business.

Ghana is naturally well endowed with fresh water sources. The abundance of water sources was an envy of most countries that have no such water sources. Sadly enough, these illegal miners are busy polluting and destroying our enviable, fresh and drinkable water sources right under the very noses of governments, local authorities and concerned Ghanaians. Environmentalists and climate scientists have consistently warned the local population that if the destruction and pollution of the water sources persist, within the next 20 to 30 years, water will have to be imported from other countries. These shameless and illegal miners do not think or are even conscious of any precautionary measures to be taken to abate the nuisance. The mighty river Supong which runs in Asiakwa in the Eastern region is a pathetic example of continuous pollution. Supong River which once provided cool, clean and extremely refreshing water to drink has now turned smelly and yellowish. The river is now filled with mud, algae and weeds.

The situation became worse when the Chinese travelled to Ghana in their numbers and directed their journeys towards the gold mining areas in the Ashanti, Western and Eastern regions. Their presence was much felt during the rule of former president Mahama. Majority of them joined the illegal mining. Some of them were fronted and aided by Ghanaians to register small scale mining companies. Since they had a lot of money, they were able to pay the local chiefs for land to be released for their mining activities to begin. Even cocoa farms were sold to them to be destroyed for gold mining purposes. Heavy machines including excavators and tipper trucks were brought from China to help in their search for gold. Soon they began to destroy more farms and water bodies with cyanide and other dangerous products used to fish for the gold.

Concerned Ghanaians protested against the Chinese involvement in galamsey and small scale mining. The Chinese met the anger and protest of Ghanaians with force. So far not less than ten Ghanaians have been shot dead by the Chinese and not even a single Chinese was put before court. The gaping holes created by illegal mining have trapped and killed many children, women and farmers. Yet they are heavily protected by police and retired soldiers in military uniforms.

Small scale mining and not galamsey could have been an important source of livelihood for relatively low-income Ghanaians, as well as highly significant for the economy as a whole. Sadly enough, this area has been taking over by Chinese in contravention of the Mineral and Mining Act 206 and Act 703. These Acts outline clearly that small scale mining is strictly reserved for Ghanaians. If the law says so, why then do we allow Chinese citizens to enter and completely take over small-scale mining? The Chinese are smarter. They put Ghanaians in the fore-front to register the companies on their behalf.

The situation in the mining areas had gotten out of hand. Cocoa trees and other crops were being uprooted and destroyed by the Chinese to give way to galamsey and small-scale mining. The environment was being destroyed, water bodies were being polluted, gaping holes were being abandoned in the forest, abandoned holes have ensnared and killed many and the Chinese are gunning down and hacking people down at random. Several complaints and protests were launched by concerned Ghanaians for an effective leader and government to emerge to save the mining areas from illegal miners.

Happily in January 2017, a courageous leader, a visionary, a disciplined and an incorrupt man, Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo was sworn in as the fifth president of Ghana. One Friday in

galamsey ‘queen’ Aisha Huang

Kumasi, few months after assuming power as a deputy Minister for lands and mineral resources, Madam Barbara Oteng Gyasi disclosed in Kumasi that the NPP government would soon apply force and technology to fight illegal miners and warned those involved to refrain  from the practice.

Her message fell on deaf ears. Military men and police officers were deployed to the mining areas and with the help of detective devices they were able to drive illegal miners away and all their excavators and other equipment were seized. A die-hard, stubborn Chinese woman named Aisha was arrested three times for illegal mining despite the government’s ban. She was released three times because she blackmailed the powers that be with tapes and videos she commissioned Chinese women to have sexual encounter with Ghanaian power brokers. After her startling revelations, she was arrested for the fourth and this arrest may probably be the last and she may either be imprisoned or repatriated to China.
Already majority of Ghanaians are applauding Nana Addo for his determination to relegate illegal mining into the abyss of forgetfulness and to ensure that small scale miners conform to the laws. The government has a great job on its hand to clean the polluted water bodies and to fill all the gaping holes to prevent further accidents.

By Stephen Atta Owusu

Ghana Elections: NPP to challenge NDC win

NPP & Akufo Addo aim to have final say on election result…

 

akuffo-addo_Me_FiRi_Ghana_dot_Com

 

Well we all knew what was coming as soon as the NPP (National Patriotic Party) refused to accept the results declared by the Election commission on 09 December.  Thus on 28 December 2012 the NPP (National Patriotic Party) finally filed a petition at the Supreme Court to challenge President John Mahama’s victory in the election earlier in December.

The NPP believed the election results were rigged in favor of incumbent President Mahama who they claimed colluded with some officials of the EC to manipulate the results. After analysing the data from 26,000 polling stations the party found irregularities such as cases of over voting and instances when people not registered by the new biometric finger-printing system were able to vote. Lastly the NPP had calculated that there were 1.34 million extra votes cast, which if withdrawn from the final tally would make Mr Akufo-Addo the winner.

Nana Akufo-Addo said it had not been an easy decision to go ahead with the challenge, but the evidence submitted was “mind-blowing and came as a shock even to sceptics in the party”.  He alongside Mahamudu Bawumia, his running-mate and Jake Otanka Obetsebi- Lamptey, chairman of the NPP filed the petition at the supreme court against the president-elect, John Dramani Mahama, the EC Chairman Kwadwo Afari- Gyan; and the EC itself.

When I initially thought about the ramifications if the NPP’s allegations are proved to be true, I could not help but think how damaging this petition may be to Ghana’s reputation as a tolerant and free democracy. However at the same time the fling of the petition shows democracy in operation with the NPP respecting the parameters of the constitution and filing the petition in accordance with the law. Moreover since rejecting the result the NPP have not sought to create unrest within the electorate but have remained calm and confident in collating their “mind blowing evidence”.

It remains to be seen whether the NPP have enough evidence to get the result overturned. The fact that international election observers described the poll as free and fair makes it seem unlikely. However if fraud is proven it will raise serious questions about the integrity of the Electoral Commission and its role in future elections. Whatever the outcome though, the Ghanaian electorate can be proud that they played an honest part in a peaceful election.

It is estimated the election challenge case is expected to be heard in three weeks. Meanwhile President Mahama is expected to be sworn into office on 7 January 2013.

Leave any comments below

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

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

Ghana_Elections_Me_FiRi_Ghana_dot_Com

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 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)

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)