Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
A Social Media Tracking Centre (STMC) that will monitor the use of social media during Ghana's 2012 elections has been set up.
The centre will provide a real time response mechanism on election irregularities, violence and other concerns by reaching out to key election stakeholders for immediate action.
The aim is to monitor all social media platforms during the elections to afford civil society, state authorities and development partners the opportunity to know in real time public opinions, sentiments and attitudes relayed through different social media platforms in order for relevant actions to be taken.
The African Election Project, in collaboration with the Georgia Institute of Technology, Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) and EnoughisEnough (EiE) with support from the United Kindom's Department for International Development (DFID) is Social Media Tracking Centre (STMC).
According to Mr. Michael Ohene-Effah, Governance Advisor at DFID, "Ghana DFID welcomes and supports this ground-breaking social media tracking centre initiative.
Although there are several media monitoring activities in the mainstream media surrounding Ghana's 2012 elections, there is currently only a handful and often inefficient manual tracking of elections trends taking place in the growing social media environment.
Social Media Tracking Centre (SMTC), comes at an opportune time, since there is ample evidence pointing to lack of efficient social media monitoring capability among key actors covering Ghana's 2012 elections.
Mr Jerry Sam, Project Manager of African Elections Project, explained that the real-time data capturing ability of the SMTC will allow for up-to-the moment incidents taking place in different areas around the country, to be collated, analysed and transmitted as alerts and to relevant elections stakeholders such as the National Elections Security Task Force (NESTF), civil society actors, the media and Electoral Commission, among others for necessary action to be taken.
He said it was expected that monitoring social media powered by SMTC will provide valuable feedback and focus on how alerts coming out of the SMTC will serve as early warning mechanism thereby contributing significant reduction of electoral violence while at the same time ensuring transparent and free elections.
Mr Sam said the African Elections Project was established in 2008, with the vision of enhancing the ability of journalists, citizen journalists and the news media to provide more timely and relevant election information and knowledge while undertaking monitoring of specific and important aspects of governance.
In the run-up to Ghana's 2012 general election, leading political parties have gone fully for the door-to-door model of campaigning.
Unlike in the past when presidential candidates took to holding huge rallies, they are now criss-crossing the country, moving from community to community, and talking to individuals, and small groups in their homes, and community meetings.
This mode of selling campaign messages is a sharp departure from the previous practice of busing supporters to venues for huge rallies.
Since 1992 when the country returned to multi-party democracy, after 11 years of military rule, the major political parties - National Democratic Congress (NDC), New Patriotic Party (NPP), Convention People's Party (CPP), and the People's National Convention (PNC) – have resorted to staging massive rallies.
Former president Jerry John Rawlings is believed to have set the tone for such rallies in the 1992 and 1996 political campaigns for this process.
Rawlings, a charismatic military man who seized power on two previous occasions in a coup d'état, is the only president under the Fourth Republic to have won his first election without a run- off.
Although his critics attributed his electoral fortunes to his incumbency, they could not discount his charisma as playing a major part in his victories.
After his tenure, however, his choice successor, the late president Professor John Evans Atta Mills, failed to win the 2000 elections, losing in a run-off to then candidate John Agyekum Kufuor, in spite of the huge crowds that thronged the rally grounds of the NDC.
In the 2004 elections, Mills lost again to Kufuor whose NPP ran a second four-year term, till January 2009.
Rather than change Mills, the NDC renewed his candidacy in December 2006 to lead them for the third time in the general election.
Determined not to lose a third time, Mills in the run-up to the 2008 general election adopted the door-to-door campaign strategy.
As early as January 2007, Mills started his long journey to the presidency by visiting street corners, homes, communities and markets to sell himself and his campaign message of "I Care For You" to the electorate in all 10 regions of the country.
This tactics drew mockery from his main political opponents - the NPP - who thought it was an impossibility to walk round the country soliciting for votes, more so when it was an open secret that the NDC candidate was not in the best of health conditions.
However, in December 2008, Mills' strategy paid off. He led the NDC to win the elections, securing a slim majority in parliament before winning the presidency in a run-off.
As if to borrow a leaf from Mills in the 2012 elections, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, presidential candidate of the opposition NPP, was the first to hit the road, walking in cities, towns and villages across the country selling his message to them while listening to their concerns.
This has been beefed up by rallies as the days draw near while still holding small group meetings with student groups and other identifiable groups.
The other parties, CPP, Progressive People's Party (PPP) of Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, PNC candidate Hassan Ayariga, among others, have been using the same door-to-door method to campaign across the country.
"Politics is a game of numbers and a variety of methods are employed by politicians to woo the electorate. So the door-to-door campaign is important because not everybody leaves home to attend rallies organized by political parties," said Clement Apaak, a political analyst and lecturer at the University of Ghana, Legon.
He believed that since Ghana's 2012 election was expected to be tight, it was important for the parties to adopt the door-to- door campaign to establish a close rapport with people, a situation that is not possible at a big rally.
"It is an old campaign strategy which might even be older than the huge rally strategy and in this you are able to come into close contact with people at home, and speak to parents, children and other relatives," Apaak pointed out.
He believed that since people wanted to associate with others who shared in their values, and also discuss their concerns with them, the door-to-door campaign strategy was very important in political campaigns.
Sitting President John Dramani Hamama has not held a single regional rally, compared with his main opponent, Akufo-Addo, but rather chose smaller group meetings and smaller crowds in cities, towns and villages, where his daily campaigns last till about 4.00 a.m. on Dec 4.
His vigorous campaign style is well focused on the door-to-door strategy, a system he may have learned and adopted from his predecessor, late president Mills.
Project Consultant with the African Election Project (AEP), Kwami Ahiabenu, acknowledged the fact that door- to -door campaign gained prominence in Ghana during the campaigning for the 2008 elections with then candidate Mills.
"He worked to ensure there is a more personal interaction with electorate and this in a way contributed to the success of NDC at the polls," the consultant averred.
More importantly, Ahiabenu believes the parties are turning to door-to-door campaigns because "it is more cost effective, since you do not need big budgets for it," but conceded that it was time- consuming and needed more boots (foot-soldiers) on the ground.
"It is important to indicate that the Ghanaian voters are getting more discerning and therefore reaching out to them via door-to-door campaigns is proving to be a useful strategy," observed Ahaibenu.
According to Ahiabenu, though door-to-door campaign does not provide visibility which comes with big rallies, it is quite effective and efficient.
He cautioned however that this style of campaigning could not replace big rallies, saying: "You still need to hold rallies to galvanize supporters and show images of large followers.
"The door-to-door campaigns are not going to ever replace big rallies, but political parties for some time to come are going to deploy either big rallies or door-to-door for appropriate situations." End
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Sunday, December 9, 2012
President John Dramani Mahama is the winner of the 2012 presidential election.
The Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan announced on Sunday night that he polled 5,574,761 votes (50.70%) while his closest contestant Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic (NPP) polled 5,248,898 votes (47.74%).
The other results were:
Dr Michael Abu Sakara Foster of the Convention People's Party (CPP) - 20,323 (0.18%)
Mr Hassan Ayariga of the People's National Convention (PNC) - 24,617 (0.22%)
Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom of the Progressive People's Party (PPP) - 64,362 (0.59%)
Dr Henry Lartey of the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) - 38,223 (0.35%)
Mr Joseph Osei-Yeboah (Independent) - 15,201 (0.14%)
Mr Akwasi Addai of the United Front Party (UFP) - 8,877 (0.08%).
The percentage turn out was 79.43
Total Registered voters were 14,158,890
Total votes cast were 11,246,982
Total Valid Votes -10,995,262
Total Rejected votes -251,720
Total constituencies – 275
Saturday, December 8, 2012
Here are a few things we know about Ghana's 2012 elections.
It's going to be close. With 168 of 275 constituencies reporting, incumbent John Mahama has 49.83% of the vote and his chief rival Nana Akufo-Addo has 48.68% of votes. That's lots closer than polls, which predicted a victory for Mahama, had been suggesting. Given that the third party candidates have less than 2% of the votes, a run-off seems possible, if both Mahama and Akufo-Addo remain below the 50% mark.
It wasn't perfect. This was Ghana's first election with a new biometric voter identification system. A massive registration drive issued voter ID cards that include information on the bearer's thumbprint. Voters present their card, verify their thumbprints and are then able to vote. This system malfunctioned in some locations, leading to long lines and hot tempers, and the electoral commission extended voting into today to ensure everyone can exercise their franchise.
One of the reports I read yesterday on Twitter suggested that some of the people having bad problems were people who work with their hands, suggesting that scars or blisters might be interfering with the scanner. An article today offered advice on cleaning hands using Coke or akpeteshie (locally distilled sugar-cane or palm wine liquor) to create more readable prints.
Ghana invested heavily in biometric systems because there's understandable concern about voter fraud. The 2008 election was settled by less than 40,000 votes and there was widespread concern that voters were sneaking across the border from Togo to vote, or voting multiple times. Stories like this one, in which biometric machines are revealing multiple attempts to vote, are getting good play in Ghanaian social media. (Great article, from the headline that implies a Robocop-style machine arresting the miscreant to descriptions of the gentleman's alacrity in eluding authorities. :-) Given successes like this one, it's likely that biometric voting will continue, with some fine tuning, in subsequent elections.
It was pretty damned impressive. Ghana has had a series of increasingly credible elections, starting in 1992, and capturing international interest in 2000, when a free and fair election ousted the party of former dictator (and later democratically elected leader), Jerry Rawlings. 2000, you may remember, was the year of endless Bush v. Gore drama in the US, and my friend Koby Koomson, then Ghana's ambassador to the US, sent me a copy of the letter he'd sent to President Clinton, offering Ghana's assistance to the US in election monitoring.
There's a wealth of articles that celebrate Ghana's successful democracy, including helpful insights from economist George Ayittey, who attributes democratic success to a strong and independent media, a vibrant set of NGOs, and maturity on the part of the nation's politicians, who notes that the 2008 election could easily have turned chaotic, had not Akufo-Addo graciously conceded.
What's interesting for me, as a passionate Ghanaphile, but an outsider to the political process, is that watching Ghana's elections is a helpful tutorial in global good electoral practices.
The video above, from the Ghana Decides project, shows the vote counting process in one of the poorer neighborhoods of Accra, the historically Muslim neighborhood of Nima. The transparent boxes, the public sorting of ballots and the crowd watching the process are all parts of an intricate system that helps remove uncertainty from the results.
So are images like this one: the results from a specific polling place, publicly posted. In Zimbabwe's last presidential election, posting these votes allowed the opposition ZANU-PF to conduct a parallel vote tabulation and contest MDC's assertions that they had won outright. Parallel tabulation efforts are underway in Ghana, as well, with multiple monitoring, civil society and media organizations trying to ensure that the electoral commission's results are in line with the reports at tens of thousands of polling places.
I'l be very interested to learn what my friends Mike Best at Tom Smyth at Georgia Tech and the team at PenPlusBytes learn from their experiments in social media monitoring. (Disclosure: I'm on the board of PenPlusBytes, and am advising Tom's on his dissertation.) They've been aggregating tens of thousands of reports via Twitter, Facebook and blogs, and following up on reports of violence or conflict. By monitoring Ghana's peaceful elections, they hope to establish best practices for using their tools in monitoring more contentious ones, hoping to defuse violence before it unfolds.
I'll offer two disappointments in Ghana's elections. One is that Ghana continues moving towards being a purely two-party state. One of the benefits of a two-round electoral system (which forces a run-off if no one receives 50% + 1 vote in the first round) is that it encourages people to vote for smaller parties to express preferences, knowing they can vote strategically in a second round. But Ghanaian politics appears to have turned into a battle between NDC and NPP, with few surprises, even when the third party candidates are smart, engaging and adding to the dialog.
Second, NDC and NPP allegiances often have more to do with geography and tribe than with platform. I saw a dispirited tweet last night that suggested the best way to improve your electoral chances was to increase the birthrate in the parties' respective strongholds. It's disappointing to see elections based more on ethnicity than on issues, but it's also clear this isn't the reason behind everyone's vote.
Here's hoping that a close race remains and peaceful one and that Ghanaians continue to have justifiable pride in a robust and transparent electoral system and a healthy democracy.
Ghana Elections 2012 : Presidential and parliamentary election produces amazing outcome in Western Region
|Presidential and parliamentary election produces amazing outcome in Western Region|
Takoradi, Dec. 08, GNA - This year's presidential and parliamentary elections have produced amazing outcomes in the Western Region with some New Patriotic Party (NPP) incumbent members of parliament suffering defeat.
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The National Election Security Task Force [NESTF] wishes to express its profound gratitude to the public for their co-operation and for the good behaviour they have put up so far in the on-going general election.
This is the time for us to continue to support and co-operate with one another to ensure that voting at the few remaining polling stations are successfully completed. The public are further entreated to continue to maintain the peace the country is enjoying.
We, however, wish implore the members of the public to be moderate in the way they go about their celebration to avoid excesses, as it could erode the gains and successes we have all chalked together.
Furthermore, the public are also advised to exercise patience and wait till the Electoral Commission declares the final results before celebration
This is the time for reconciliation, togetherness and nation building, and we must all jealously guard against the gains made.
The public are however cautioned against attacks on vital installations and other facilities. The Police and their Sister Security agencies will not hesitate to do everything legitimate to maintain law and other.
AG. DIRECTOR/PUBLIC AFFAIRS
[CEPHAS ARTHUR] DSP
Friday, December 7, 2012
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visit : tp://bit.ly/QGxulu
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ghanavotes2012
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ghanaelections @ghanaelections #ghanaelections
#Ghanaelections 2012 Videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/ghanaelections
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Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Monday, December 3, 2012
Saturday, December 1, 2012
Friday, November 30, 2012
Thursday, November 29, 2012
The reprisal attacks according to reports occurred late Thursday evening. According to Nhyira FM's Kofi Asante, 5 persons also sustained injuries in the reprisal attacks and have been admitted at the hospital.
According to the PRO of the Ashanti Regional Police, ASP Mohammed Tanko the cause of the clashes is still not known.
The Manhyia MP, Matthew Opoku Prempeh who is tight-lipped on the issue is scheduled to address a press conference Friday morning.
Police in the Ashanti Region were Thursday evening deployed to Ashtown to ensure calm after violent confrontation between persons said to be linked to the MP of Manhyia, Matthew Opoku Prempeh and the man identified as Matthews.
Nhyira FM's Kofi Asante reported that the man was not only shot in the leg but sustained serious machete wounds in the attack. Another person, who is said to be the sister of the victim was also hit by a stray bullet, but her condition is stable.
It is still not clear the reason for the attack but Mathews was rushed to the hospital where he is currently receiving treatment. The police, immediately after the incident took over the town to protect the peace.
According to Asante, the MP, Mathew Opoku Prempeh was at Ashtown early Thursday morning with his team to distribute party paraphernalia and books to the constituents.
Even though he cannot immediately confirm, Asante said there were reports of misunderstanding between some of the area guys and the men following the MP.
There was a violent confrontation with blood stains visible on the road where the attack occurred.
No arrest has yet been made.
credit : JFM
Friday, November 16, 2012
The EU wants the EC to reconsider its rules to allow the media and other Ghanaian observer missions like Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) to vote before the December 7 to enable them effectively monitor the elections.
The EU last month announced it will not send down its Observer Mission for the elections due to the existence of proper structures including a credible media.
But following the Electoral Commission's announcement that Journalists will not be allowed to participate in the special voting, the Head of Delegation for the EU, Ambassador Claude Maerten has urged the EC to rectify the situation.
"We regret the situation. It is true that it would have been better to be in a situation where the observers have the right to vote early so that they can do their job. And we regret that it was not in the Constitution Instrument which was passed by the Parliament some weeks ago," he explained.
Ambassador Maerten called for a proposal by the Electoral Commission "so that at least the media can exercise their right to vote and also do their job and inform Ghanaians about the process; it's very important."
According to him, the step if taken will be a positive arrangement for Ghana's democracy.
He also told Citi News his outfit cannot reverse its earlier decision of sending down an Observer Mission because of time constraints.
"No, we will not reconsider our position. To send an electoral mission is something which you have to forecast long in advance. So it's not just two-three weeks before the elections that we can change this decision," he explained.
Ambassador Maerten also noted that the move will have a lot of financial consequences and it will no longer be necessary as there are other international Observer Missions which will monitor the elections.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
About a dozen policemen allegedly stormed the shop in search of printed materials intended to denigrate the person of President Mahama.
Nana Asante Bediatuo, the lawyer for Buildmat's owner, contended that no incriminating items were recovered during the raid and blamed the government for using the police to intimidate political opponents.
He described the raid as unlawful and wrong, an action that "cannot be tolerated".
Unfortunately the Sierra Leonean elections have a long history of election related violence and it will be keenly watched by many in the international community. To stay up to date with information on the election we have compiled a list of websites below that we recommend you keep an eye on. There is also a list of social media platforms where it is possible to debate and discuss the different issues as they develop.
Cocorioko Newspaper - www.cocorioko.net
The Patriotic Vanguard Newspaper www.thepatrioticvanguard.com
Awareness Times Newspaper http://news.sl/drwebsite/publish/index.shtml
Sierra Express Newspaper - http://www.sierraexpressmedia.com
Awoko Newspaper - http://www.awoko.org/
Standard Times Press Newspaper - http://standardtimespress.org/
Swit Salone news website - http://www.switsalone.com/
BBC Q & A on Sierra Leone Elections - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-20302544
Sierra Leone Telegraph news website - http://www.thesierraleonetelegraph.com/
Electoral Management Body
Electoral Commission - http://www.nec-sierraleone.org
Civil Society Coalition monitoring group - http://www.salonevote.com/
Sierra Leone Peoples Party - http://www.slpp.ws/
Civil Society Election Monitoring – http://www.facebook.com/SaloneElection
Sierra Leone Elections 2012 - http://www.facebook.com/groups/364070370273688/
Campaign for peaceful Sierra Leonie Elections 2012 - http://www.facebook.com/groups/275578229177204/
All People's Congress (APC) - http://www.facebook.com/pages/APC-All-Peoples-Congress/122456425777
Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sierra-Leone-peoples-Party-SLPP/148138221884646
News - @sierraleonenet
News - @SwitSalone
News - @NewsSierraLeone
Election News - @SierraLeone2012
Awoko Newspaper - @awokonewspaper
Opinion and News - @SP_SierraLeone
Aid and development news @aidsierraleone
World Changing Centre - @WCC_sierraleone
Sustainability Charity - @ShineOnSL
Promoting Sierra Leone's image - @BrandSalone
President Ernest Bai Koroma - @presidentkoroma
Opposition Lead Julius Maada Bio - @JuliusmaadaBio
Opinion and News - http://signpostsierraleone.wordpress.com/
CREDIT : AFRICAN ELECTIONS PROJECT (AEP)