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.


Ghana Elections 2012 : Door- to- door campaigning gains prominence in Ghana's growing democracy


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'├ętat, 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


source :     http://www.china.org.cn/world/Off_the_Wire/2012-12/06/content_27324888.htm


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Ghana Elections 2012 : The C-Section of Mama Ghana and the ECs PR department

Just look at her! She is so gorgeous, Mama Ghana, that is! When she lays down to rest, she looks like a cat, asleep in foetal position. She doesn't look like a Mama that can hurt a fly! But in standing position, Mama Ghana looks stocky and robust as if she is about to squat. I urge you to spend some time to look closely at the map of Ghana. She looks really fascinating.
Ghana is shaped like someone who is spotting a little pot-belly from eating a combination of lots of fufu, garri, akple, banku. Or, she may just be pregnant with deep thoughts and unfulfilled dreams. Someday, Ghana will rise, stretching out its thickset body. Even now, she is the Black Star that shines! Wait till the day when she truly rises and stretches out her stout body mass.
But since last week Friday when voting began, we have heard the throbbingheartbeats of Mama Ghana. She is huffing and puffing. Clearly, this must be labour pains. Oh, she is having a caesarean section! Her doctor just cut through her protruding belly! See, a baby has been yanked out of her but the doctor has not done a good job with cleaning up after delivery. Hmm, it seems like she was all along pregnant with twins but the doctor, although has several years of experience, didn't feel the twins! So when the first baby arrived, the doctor gave him the usual bottom spanking; the baby shrieked, and viola, he was welcomed into the world.
Now, unfortunately, Mama Ghana seems to be experiencing some internal bleeding.The second yet unborn baby is breached! The doctor is trying to walk away from this sticky situation because the second baby is not coming out the normal way with head first, followed by the remainder of the body. Instead, it has one leg sticking out, struggling to pop out. The delivery has become more complicated than we can fathom. This is not good. It is unnatural to leave a baby unborn; it is deadly for mother and child! So the second baby cannot be left to die a pre-mature death inside Mama Ghana. So what is the doctor going to do about it? We have to wait and see. But why on earth didn't the doctor foresee a second baby despite the gargantuan pregnancy?
On a personal side, I can relate with Mama Ghana's experiences over labour complications, breech, C-Sections and the accompanying gargantuan unprecedented drama. Complicationsduring childbirth are not like a walk in the park. If such complications are not handled well, a death or deaths occur!
Of course baby number one is President John Mahama. Baby number two is Nana Akuffo-Addo. The doctor of course is Dr Afari-Gyan. Mahama has been delivered smoothly and the doctor thinks his work is done. But, not so fast! Ghana must resolve the Nana question. Whatever legal cases the NPP seeks to pursue should be done quickly so this heavy election cloud will be lifted off to enable ordinary Ghanaians to move on to the real issues: water, food, toilet, roads, housing and the likes.
The National Peace Council has been playing the role of the awkward mid-wife who hovers around the doctor trying to assist in ensuring a safe delivery. The Council has so far acted as a sage in the pre-election drama. But it must now watch the way it handles itself to avoid a
situation in which it loses credibility to remain the sage who can save Ghana out of this brewing post-election funk.
Where are all the elders of this town to take care of Mama Ghana with real tender loving care?
Love must ooze out of the elders. They must all put their heads together. Nothing must be left to chance. We must save Mama Ghana, the two babies and all their loved ones.
Unfortunately, there was a certain crude and unacceptable Third-Worldishness about this year's elections. It was as if the EC had never seen technology before so handled things as if it was strolling casually to a cocoyam farm. Even cocoyams would have been treated better than the EC treated Ghana. The lateness of the EC officials to several polling stations was not just
unacceptable but was disrespectful of the thousands of Ghanaians some of whom had congregated as early as dawn to cast their votes – old and young and even the very pregnant.
And, those annoying little machines had the audacity to reject anyone it felt like rejecting, without the decency to provide an explanation of some sort. The little monsters of verification
machines discriminated between families – it chose a husband but rudely rejected a wife while it verified a suckling minor who shouldn't have been registered as a voter in the first place. So a one day smooth election turned into a two-day voting torture. With that, the seed was sown for confusion laced with deception that disregards transparency.
Overhaul EC's PR Department:
Enters the Public Relations (PR) Department of the EC! In the 2008 elections, the PR Department was a big disappointment and performed below average. Strangely, the department
handles its work during elections in a business-as-usual manner although it is by now clear to us all that our elections fall within the realm of business-unusual. Our elections should be
exercises in crisis management. We must therefore operate from a posture of Murphy's Law – All that can go wrong, will – and not leave anything to chance.
It does not appear that rumour management is part of the ECs communication plan. In both 2008 and 2012, when rumours spilled over, the PR folks let them be, forgetting that factual
information is both a balm and a slayer of rumours. Last Saturday, when news broke of suspicions that STL might be doing something untoward at Dzorwulu that was casting doubts
over the credibility of the elections, the ECs PR people stayed mute much of the day, instead of responding promptly with explanations. They ignored Ghana just as they did in 2008.
It is troubling that part of the reason our country got on the brink of a melt-down in 2008 was due to poor communication planning and implementation. No communication in itself
communicates a great deal. The absence of communication can confuse, confirm suspicions and reinforce fears.
Long before Election 2016, the Electoral Commission must overhaul its PR outfit. Ghana should not continue to risk its life and survival to the inactivity of a lousy department whose
responsibility it is to communicate to the citizenry at critical moments during elections. To put it softly and gently, the PR Department of the EC is constipated.
A few enduring questions: Is the EC'sPR department technically and professionally well-equipped, as well as mentally well-suited and prepared to offer healthy communication to Ghana during general elections? No! The evidence does not suggest that.Why in the world has the head of the PR department worked in an acting capacity for such a long time? What is his level of expertise in the PR/Communication discipline? Would the EC place a non-IT person to head its IT department? There are more questions than answers.
Doris Dartey 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

President Mahama wins Ghana Elections 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


Ghana Elections 2012 Final Electoral Commission of Ghana Results sheet


Ghana Elections 2012 : The tweet that say it all


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ghana Elections 2012 – the story so far

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.


People who do hard work with their hands will have some problems with the machine..EC must act now.. #GhanaDecides
Edward Senyo

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.
     Mr Samuel Johnfiah of the NPP, who had been voted into parliament on three consecutive occasions, suffered defeat to Mr George Kwame Aboagye of the National Democratic Congress, who was also a former chief executive officer of the Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC).
      The former Western Regional Minister under the President Kufuor-led administration, Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo surprisingly lost to virtually unknown NDC candidate, Akwasi Oppong Fosu in the Amenfi East Constituency.
      In the Evalua-Gwira Constituency, Madam Catherine Abelema Afeku, who was the incumbent MP in the area lost her seat to NDC candidate, Kweku Temakyi-Kessie.
     In the Jomoro Constituency, the only seat held by the Convention Peoples Party by Madam Samia Yaba Nkrumah was lost to the NDC candidate Wing Commander Francis Kablan-Anaman (Rtd).
      However, some NPP gurus in the region managed to retain their seats after a hot contest.
      Those who narrowly retained their seats included Papa Owusu Ankomah in the Sekondi Constituency, Mr Joe Ghartey for Essikado-Ketan defeated NDC's Thomas Charlie Brown whilst Joe Baidoo-Ansah sailed through narrowly  in the newly created Kwesiminstsim seat by defeating NDC's Francis Apuri.
      In Takoradi, the incumbent NPP MP, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, defeated his closest rival, Alfred Ekow Gyan of the NDC whilst Madam Gifty Eugenia Kusi retained the Tarkwa-Nsuaem seat for the NPP by defeating Madam Christina Kobbina, NDC candidate, who is also the municipal chief executive.
      Meanwhile, the NDC had gained more grounds in the region by sweeping about 18 seats out of 26 improving upon the hitherto 11 seats.
       In the Shama Constituency, the incumbent NDC MP, Gabriel Kwadwo Essilfie, retained his seat by defeating his closest rival, Joseph Cantamanto Gabrah of the NPP.
     The Deputy Energy Minister, Mr Emmanuel Armah Kofi-Buah, defeated his opponent, Kwesi Bonzoh, in the Ellembelle Constituency.
      Paul Evans Aidoo, Western Regional Minster, also won his seat in the Sefwi-Wiawso by defeating Dr Kweku Afriyie of the NPP.
      Smek Ackah also won Suaman for the NDC whilst Sampson Ahi, who was MP for Juaboso, but as a result of division of that constituency into two; Bodi and Juaboso, he contested the Bodi seat and won decisively.
      Moreover, both NDC and NPP new entrants managed to win seats in the newly created constituencies.
       Joseph Cudjoe of the NPP won the newly created Effia Constituency by defeating the presiding member for the Sekondi-Takoradi Assembly, Mohammed Ali of the NDC.
        George Kwame Aboagye of the NDC surprisingly defeated NPP's sitting MP, Samuel Johnfiah in the Ahanta West Constituency in a keenly contested poll.
       Mr Kweku Temankyi-Kessie, a new entrant for the NDC, defeated the sitting NPP MP, Madam Catherine Afeku in the Evalua-Gwira.
       The region is relatively calm as people are glued to their television sets and radios monitoring the elections.
       The election security taskforce are still patrolling the region to curb any eventualities.


Ghana Elections 2012 : Four arrested for double registration

The Election Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) in the Eastern Region arrested four people for double registration during last Friday's polls.
      All the four were exposed by the Biometric Verification Device (BVD) when they attempted to vote at different polling stations across the region.
     At Korle Nkwanta Anglican Primary School Polling Station in the New Juaben South Constituency, Simon Kwaku Addo,50,  has two pictures popping up when he placed his finger on the BVD and when the police interrogated him, he confessed as having also registered at Kade and was handed over to the task force.
      Joseph Koranteng, also known as Kofi Koranteng, 52, also had his two pictures popping up when he placed his finger on the BVD at Effiduase Methodist JHS Polling Station and when confronted, he confessed to also registering at the Koforidua Zongo Clinic Polling Station.
       Addo and Koranteng are currently being held at the Eastern Regional Police Headquarters for further investigations.
       Esther Odame and Emmanuel Kwame Twum were also arrested for double registration when they attempted to vote at Gyankrom Polling Station, near Nsawam and are being held at the Nsawam Police Division Headquarters of the Police Service for further investigations and prosecution.
      At Akyem Awisa L/A Primary School and JHS Polling Station, Alex Asante, 45, was arrested for double registration and when he was searched, two voter ID cards were found on him, the two cards bearing his pictures but the other card bearing the name, Eric Adom, 44.
      The suspect was arrested and is now in detention at the Akyem Swedru Police Headquarters for further investigation and prosecution.
      The spokesperson for the Eastern Region Election Security Task Force, Assistant Superintendent of Police Yaw Nketia-Yeboah expressed the appreciation of the Task Force to the youth of Eastern Region for comporting themselves and supporting the peace initiative.
     He said there were a lot of allegations of ballot box snatching and people involved in various election offences but when the task force investigated they all proved to be false.

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Ghana Elections 2012 : National Election Security Task Force [NESTF] asks for restrain

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

Ghana Elections 2012 : President Mahama to meet the press

President John Dramani Mahama will address a press conference at 10.00 hours on Saturday, December 8, 2012.
A media invitation said the press conference would focus on pertinent issues arising from the 2012 Presidential & Parliamentary Elections.
Friday's general election was generally peaceful, but it was dogged by rampant cases of late arrival of voting materials at many poling centres. collapse of the biometric verification machines and rejection of the finger prints of eligible voters.
The Electoral Commission (EC) has decided to allow voting to continue in polling centres where the biometric machines failed during voting on Saturday.
The order does not, however, affect those whose finger prints could not be verified by the machines, the Director of Public Affairs of the Electoral Commission, Mr Christian Owusu-Parry, said.
Voters in the affected areas should go back home and return on Saturday when the EC would send new biometric verification machines for them to vote.
There has been a chorus of concern on the collapse of the biometric verification machines or failure to recognise the fingerprint of eligible voters.
There was also concern about the late arrival of voting materials in polling centres.
The Electoral Commission has issued a statement saying all eligible voters in the queue before the close of voting at 1700 hours would be allowed to vote.
The statement signed by Mr Kwadwo Sarfo-Kantanka, Deputy Chairman (Operations) posted on the EC website said: "The Electoral Commission wishes to inform the general public especially registered voters in polling stations where voting did not start early due to the late arrival of election materials, that the Commission has an inbuilt mechanism that will make it possible for all eligible voters who are in the queue before 5:00pm to vote.
"All eligible voters who are in queue before the close of polls at 5:00pm will be offered the opportunity to vote when the poll officially closes.
"The general public is entreated to be patient and allow the process to run smoothly."
Meanwhile, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on Friday expressed concern about the electoral technical hiccups that has led to the possible disenfranchisement of many voters mainly due to the collapse of the biometric verification machines.
Mr Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, the Campaign Coordinator of President John Dramani Mahama, told a press conference in Accra that many people were also disenfranchised because the biometric verification machine rejected voters with valid voter's identification cards.
He said there were many polling stations where people had not voted because of the collapse of the machines, citing himself as an example as he had not been able to vote.
"If we want free and fair election the EC should create the conducive atmosphere. The verification machines are not working and people are being told to go home. This is unacceptable," Mr Afriyie-Ankrah said.
Mr John Jinapor, Presidential Spokesperson, argued that people with valid biometric voter identification cards who had been rejected by the verification machines should be allowed to vote.
"People are being punished because a machine has rejected them. The EC should take appropriate steps to allow people to vote. It is a constitutional requirement," he said.
"To disenfranchise people is unacceptable. Whoever is eligible, whoever is in the queue should be allowed to vote."

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Kenya Elections : As polls loom, tensions mount in slums

After Kenya went to the polls five years ago, Victor Situma and his family were among some 600,000 people who fled their homes as, in many parts of the country, a bitter dispute over who had won the presidency degenerated into widespread inter-communal violence. His house and shop were looted and vandalized. In all, more than 1,500 people were killed.

Two years ago, he returned from his rural home in the western Kakamega District to Mathare, one of Nairobi's largest slums. But father-of-six Situma plans to move his family back west soon.

The next elections are due in March 2013. A raft of posts - from the presidency to ward representatives - is up for grabs. Candidates and parties tend to revolve not around policy but geographic region and, by extension, ethnicity. The run-up to the polls has already been marred by several incidents of violence [ 
http://www.irinnews.org/Report/96153/KENYA-Dozens-killed-in-Tana-River-clashes ].

"I will vote here in Nairobi because of my job. But I will take my family to western Kenya so that even if there is violence, I die alone. I don't see any guarantee that the election will be peaceful," he told IRIN.

"I don't know who will win the elections, but you can still be attacked, because politicians are already saying 'our people must get this post or another', but the poor people we live with here believe in what they say and will take their word for it," he added.

According to Olga Mutoro, policy and governance officer at the Peace and Development Network Trust (PeaceNet) [
http://peacenetkenya.or.ke/ ], Situma's fears are far from uncommon.

"In the slums, suspicions among people from different ethnic communities are growing, and many are beginning to segregate according to their tribes in order to give themselves a sense of comfort" she told IRIN.

Rispa Wambui, 35, also no longer feels safe in Kibera, another major Nairobi slum, where she has lived with her family for 15 years.

"Many of my neighbours are not from [my] tribe, and I know whatever the outcome of the coming election, they might attack me. I don't want to wait for that to happen. I am looking for a house to rent in a place where my people are many. It is the only way I can feel safe," she said.

Foreshadowing violence

"We are witnessing pockets of violence across the country - much of it with political motives - and this could be a pointer to what the country might witness when electioneering moods set in properly," Saida Ali, executive director of the NGO Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW) [ 
http://covaw.or.ke ], told IRIN.

"People who live in informal settlements experience few security patrols, and many are also vulnerable to political manipulation due to their low economic status," she said.

According to government data, 71 per cent of Kenya's urban population lives in slums. "During the [2007-8] post-election violence, traditional myths about the existence of 'ancestral homelands' - considered to be binding to specific ethnic communities by blood - were transferred to Nairobi's suburbs and violently enforced," the Nairobi-based Peace Research Institute wrote in a recent report [ 

"Ethnic identities were checked by vigilante groups at zone boundaries [in slums], inter-group clashes occurred mostly along such boundaries, and the slum-dwellers adjusted their daily movements with regard to the location of ethnic zones (e.g., by avoiding zones held by members of opposing ethnic communities)," the report added.

Gender-based violence

Experts say that as fears of electoral violence grow, so do fears of gender-based violence.

"Women bear the greatest burdens of violence, and this is what happened even in the 2007 and 2008 conflict," said Atsango Chesoni, the executive director of the Kenya Human Rights Commission, an NGO.

"It is during the elections that people take the opportunity to defile women," COVAW's Ali said.

Mutoro of PeaceNet says empowerment programmes are needed to help people ward off political manipulation.

"People need to be sensitized on national unity and, at the same time, given the skills to be able to address their grievances without necessarily finding comfort in their tribal groupings," Mutoro said.

Ghana Elections 2012 : The 3,000 voters in Kasena still cannot vote - Supreme Court Judge

The 3,000 people in the Kasena Nakana District who the Human Right Court ordered to be registered to take part in the upcoming elections can still not vote on Friday.
     This because the Regulation 9 (5) of CI 72 which deals with an individual's right to register and to vote indicates that the Electoral Commission (EC) is still prohibited from including in the voters register the name of the person who qualifies to register as a voter for an election but who registers less than sixty days to that election.
     This issue came to the fore when a five-member delegation from the African Union (AU) and ECOWAS Election Observer Mission led by General Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria on paid a courtesy called on the Chief Justice, Mrs Georgina Wood at his office in Accra.
    The delegation is in the country to observe Friday's general elections.
    The meeting between the Chief Justice and the group also offered them the opportunity to learn at first hand measures being put in place by the judiciary to resolve electoral disputes should they arise during the process.
    During the  discussion, Mr Musa Fatau, Director of Political Affairs, ECOWAS posed a question whether the short time left for the EC to register the 3000 people were going to be registered and added to the main register would not pose a problem to the whole electoral process.
    The Chief Justice, Mrs Georgina Wood said the 3,000 people cannot vote and even if they allowed to vote somebody can challenge that action in court.      
     Justice Sule Gbadegbe, Justice of the Supreme Court, who also commented on the issue said even if the 3,000 people were registered by the EC they still cannot vote because the duration of the date of registration and the voting date is less than sixty days.
    He said education on that aspect of the law would help inform the public on how one can register and qualify to exercise their voting rights during the elections.

Monday, December 3, 2012

African Election projects Deploys SMTC for Ghana 2012 Election

African Election Project @Penplusbytes, working with key partners; Georgia Institute of Technology, Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) and EnoughisEnough (EiE) Nigeria, with support from the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) is currently implementing  Ghana's first Social Media Tracking Centre (STMC) that will monitor the use of social media during Ghana's 2012 elections. The SMTC will provide a real time response mechanism on election irregularities, violence and other concerns by reaching out to key election stakeholders for immediate action.
According to Mr. Michael Ohene- Effah, Governance Advisor at DFID, "Ghana DFID welcomes and supports this ground-breaking social media tracking centre initiative. Its ability to 'sweep' all social media during the 2012 general elections will 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."
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. The Social Media Tracking Centre (SMTC), therefore comes at an opportune time in addressing this challenge and ensuring an  efficient social media monitoring capability among key actors covering Ghana's 2012 elections.
The real-time data capturing ability of the SMTC will allow for up-to-the minute  tracking of incidents taking place in different areas around the country. Also the centre will collate, analyze and transmit as alerts  to relevant elections stakeholders' such  the  National Elections Security Task Force (NESTF),  civil society actors, the media and Electoral Commission of Ghana among others all important incidents for necessary action to be taken.
Jerry Sam, Project Director of African Elections Project(AEP)  reiterates the need for an SMTC, he says  "with the rising interest and increased use of social media as a channel of communication, interaction and networking by a rising number of Ghanaians  on  the Ghana elections, we expect that monitoring  social media powered by 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. "
Editor's note:
African Elections Project (AEP) 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. To date, we have covered elections in 11 African countries namely Ghana, Cote
d'Ivoire, Guinea, Mauritania, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana, Togo and Niger and Liberia.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

international media - gh elections

what happen to our plans to reach out to the international media, guardian etc
I guess it went to the list of things that do not get done
let discuss and action it on monday