Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bawumia urges Muslims to support NPP

Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia is the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Ghana and now the Vice Presidential candidate of the ruling New Patriotic Party in Ghana

From William Yaw Owusu, Takoradi

Wednesday August 20 2008
Dr Mahaumud Bawumia, the New Patriotic Party running-mate for the December general election has urged Muslim communities to embrace the policies of the NPP, and support the party to retain office to ensure a continuous accelerated development of the country.

He also urged them to always pursue peace, and avoid being abused by ‘selfish and unscrupulous’ politicians to foment needless trouble that could mar the December general elections,and undermine the nation's peace and stability.

Dr Bawumia was addressing the Muslim community at the Central Mosque in Takoradi on Friday after being introduced to them Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, NPP flag-bearer, ahead of the official outdooring which took place yesterday during the party's mammoth rally at the Takoradi Polytechnic Park on Sunday.

The introduction of Nana Akufo-Addo's running mate was greeted with wild jubilation from the heavily attended worshippers.

Dr Bawumia, a banker and economist , explained that the nation's economy is doing well, and said it was at the threshold of a ‘breakthrough’ adding ‘we should do well to keep the NPP in office because returning the opposition NDC would reverse the forward march’.

"Let's support the NPP to retain power to continue building the economy. We want to transform the economy to ensure equal access to quality health care and education. Come along with the NPP, Nana Akufo-Addo and myself for the economic transformation and total development of the nation in freedom," he stated, amidst thunderous applause from the people.”

The gathering who could not hide their joy, as they sang songs of praise to express their happiness and appreciation to Nana Akufo-Addo for the selection of "one of them" as his running mate.

Ealier in the day, Dr Bawumia joined Nana Akufo-Addo to pay a courtesy call on Osabarima Nana Kweku Binnah III, Paramount Chief of the Shama Traditional Area when they made a stop-over in the town ahead of their entry into the twin city for their party's Annual Delegates' Conference.

The Omanhene appealed to politicians to be guided by civility and decorum in their campaign activities, and avoid confrontations with their political opponents to ensure peaceful and incident-free elections in December.

They also visited the leadership and members of the Takoradi branch of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union of the Trades Union Congress, to interact with them and to find out the problems and challenges confronting them in their work.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

GT Shares Sale Cash Expected This Week - President

By Samuel Amoako & William Yaw Owusu, Sekondi

Monday, 18 August 2008
PRESIDENT, J.A. Kufuor said on Saturday that 900 million dollars will be transferred into the economy this week, following the approval by Parliament of the sale of 70 per cent, Ghana Telecom shares to telecommunication giants, Vodafone.

He also announced that the integrated aluminium industry revolving around VALCO which was bought back by the government for 20 million dollars, is now attracting international offers of over 200 million dollars for partnership.

President Kufuor was speaking at the opening of the 16th Annual Delegates Conference of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) here on Saturday.

He said with the Eurobond that the government raised on the London Stock Exchange having been oversubscribed by more than three million dollars, "Ghana now walks tall on the international capital market".

He said plans are far advanced to modernise the road infrastructure by dualising all major highways, including the Accra-Kumasi, Accra-Aflao and Accra Elubu, adding, "When I say this, it is not an empty boast. We have already got the money".

On the railway sector, President Kufuor said "the workers know that the problem is not from the NPP government".

The government, he said is rather helping to revamp the sector after securing 90 million dollars from a consortium of mining companies, the Ghana Ports and Habours Authority and the Timber Board to enable them to raise the needed capital for the development of the sector.

He said there are also offers from China and the United Arab Emirates to assist the sector and appealed to the workers to exercise patience.

"Surely, we are achieving the middle income status by 2015 and by 2020, the sky will be our limit".

President Kufuor assured the nation that the NPP will lead Ghana’s forward march into prosperity considering the programmes it has initiated over the years.

Under his watch, he said, Ghana’s image is soaring and the nation is on the crest of very auspicious wave.

He said the party’s flag-bearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo, is certain to succeed him and take the country further.

He said it is important for Ghanaians not to forget that the NPP government inherited a tottering economy which has since been stabilised and consistent, adding, "The next government under our flag-bearer will accelerate growth.

He said the NPP has Ghana’s best candidate in Nana Akufo Addo whom he described as a competent person capable of helping to solve Ghana’s problems.

President Kufuor said the NPP’s ticket of Nana Akufo-Addo and Dr Mahamadu Bawunia, former deputy governor of the Bank of Ghana, as the running mate, is surely going to win the election to retain the NPP in office.

He said, "It is important for all of us to support the ticket firmly and work wholeheartedly and with commitment to secure the mandate of the electorate and have the party retained in office".

President Kufuor also waded into the argument as to whether or not the parties contesting the election should compare their track records, saying, "I support the view the people should be able to assess all the parties to be able to make informed choices".

"How do you attend a critical interview without your C.V. (Curriculum Vitae)?", he asked.

The President said the NPP will tell its success story to the electorate to seek their mandate.


By Samuel Amoako & William Yaw Owusu, Sekondi

Monday, 18 August 2008

DR Mahamudu Bawumia, former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana was yesterday outdoored as the running mate of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the flag-bearer of the New Patriotic Party at a mammoth rally at Takoradi to climax the party’s national delegates conference.Image

It was an atmosphere of joy, jubilation, and excitement as Nana Akufo-Addo raised Dr Bamumia’s left hand and said "this young man is an achiever whom the party has selected to support me to present a solid ticket for the December poll".

At this juncture the crowd which was comparable to that of the outdooring of Nana Akufo-Addo at Kasoa on July 13th, responded with shout, "Nana-Bawumia, Go,go-high".

The NPP flag-bearer said Dr Bawumia has a concrete credentials in economic management adding, "the NPP has made a wise decision by selecting a Muslim running mate from the northern part of Ghana to support a Christian flag-bearer to accelerate the country’s development.

Speaking in both English and Twi, he said: "We are going to build on the solid foundation laid by President Kufuor and we invite everybody to be part of this".

The teeming mass of party supporters and sympathisers at the congress

Nana Akufo Addo said the NPP is the only political party with a credible programme for the development of the country and the vision outlined will be achieved under his presidency.

In his acceptance speech, Dr Bawumia said the December election is about the determination of the future of Ghanaians and urged the electorate not to be deceived.

He said President Kufuor has been able to stabilise the economy and "I will assist Nana Akufo Addo to continue with the good work of President Kufuor."

He said despite the continuous crude oil price hikes, the government has been able to withstand the pressure with sound economic policies, adding, "we have displayed economic competence".

Earlier when President Kufuor addressed the crowd he said, "I am happy and feel fulfilled that I have been able to achieve something for Ghana and Nana Akufo Addo and Dr Bawumia will continue from where I left off."

He said the NPP has an unfinished agenda and urged the electorate to vote for the NPP to enable it to complete the agenda.

He said, "the party has a destiny to fulfil by leading Ghanaians out of enslavement to true freedom and justice."

Touching on the Western Region, the President said the government has secured a $65 million to construct a warehouse with 100,000 tonnes capacity at Kejebil near Apowa in the Ahanta West District.

Other people who addressed the crowd included party stalwarts, Vice President Aliu Mahama, Interior Minister Kwame Addo Kufuor, Party Chairman Peter Mac Manu, General Secretary Nana Ohene Ntow, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Kennedy Agyepong, Joe Baidoe-Ansah, Kojo Balado ‘Manu, Mrs Gifty Kusi, Laud Commey, and Mrs Gladys Asmah.

As early as 10 a.m. people, clad in NPP colours thronged the Takoradi Polytechnic Park where the rally was to start at 3 p.m.

By 2 p.m. the place was filled to capacity with some enthusiastic supporters standing by the roadside to await the arrival of President Kufuor, Nana Akufo Addo, Alhaji Aliu Mahama , Dr Bawumia and other leading party functionaries.

At exactly 4.31 p.m. Nana Akufo Addo entered the rally grounds in an open-topped vehicle acknowledging cheers from the crowd. He was closely followed by President Kufuor who sat in his car waving to the crowd.

Ace actress, Grace Omaboe, popularly called ‘Maame Dokono’ electrified the already charged atmosphere when she compared President Kufuor to the biblical Moses and Nana Akufo Addo to Joshua who have come to liberate Ghanaians just as Moses and Joshua did to the Israelites.

Musical legends, Nana Kwame Ampadu and C.K. Mann sent the crowd in a frenzy with some of their old hits while hip-life artists such as Wutah, Praye, K.K.Fosu and Castro, also showed the stuff they are made of.

GCPP Not Satisfied With Outcome Of Voters Reg. Exercise

By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday, 14 August 2008

The Great Consolidated Popular Party says it is not satisfied with the outcome of the just ended voters registration exercise.

"If you take a critical look at the conduct of the Electoral Commission in this exercise you could see that it was incompetent and inconsistent," Glover Owusu, Publicity Secretary of the GCPP told the Times in an interview yesterday.

He said "from day one, it was very clear that a lot of eligible voters were going to be disenfranchised and the EC did not take any steps to rectify these problems".

He said as a result of the mishap, the EC should have extended the exercise to more than a week and not the two days that it could grant.

"The GCPP visited a lot of registration centres and witnessed long queues but it was very clear that a lot of the people are not going to get registered."

He said "complaints by registration officers about shortages of registration materials and the frustrations encountered by the people to be registered summed up how the EC messed up the whole exercise."

Mr Owusu further accused both the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress of compounding the EC’s problem in the exercise by causing confusion saying "the EC should have checked them".

"We are all preaching peace but looking at the two parties’ behaviour in the just ended exercise one does not need to tell the authorities to beef up our security for the main exercise in December."

He said many supporters who left the GCPP to join both the NDC and NPP are coming back to their fold saying "our flag-bearers’ popularity is soaring and we will make an impressive showing in December".

Asked whether the GCPP would be able to contest the December poll, following the EC’s declaration that it did not recognise the party’s national executives, Mr Owusu said "we are going to contest the election, our flag-bearer is filing his nomination in November."

He also accused the EC of an alleged sabotage of the efforts of Mr Dan Lartey the GCPP flag-bearer saying "in any event that we organise we send invitations to the EC and they do not honour the invitations".

Thursday, August 07, 2008


Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan is the Chairman of the Electoral Commission of Ghana

By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday, 07 August 2008
ALL ineligible people who have registered in the ongoing limited voters registration exercise will be prosecuted, says the Electoral Commission (EC).

"All those who abused the electoral process must be punished and the EC will not hesitate in calling for their prosecution after this exercise," Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Chairman of the commission, said in Accra yesterday.

He was delivering the keynote address at an Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) forum under the theme: "Towards a peaceful and credible Election 2008".

The forum, the first in a series to be organised by IDEG, attracted participants from the various political parties, civil society organisations and youth groups, among others.

Dr Afari-Gyan said: "Those parents who are lying about the ages of their children and the politicians who are pushing minors to register should know that the commission will do a careful assessment of the exercise and call for immediate sanctions to be applied against all culprits."

He asked the public and all stakeholders, especially political parties, to help the EC to track down those involved in undermining the electoral process.

Under PNDC Law 284, a person found guilty of an election offence may be fined or imprisoned, or both. For some offences, a person may, in addition, be disqualified from voting in subsequent elections or from holding public office.

He said: "At every given moment there is an allegation of deliberate wrong-doing on the part of the EC whenever there is shortage of registration materials, but the fact is that those materials are meant for genuine and eligible voters."

Dr Afari-Gyan said the long queues being witnessed at the various registration centres are as a result of the lack of understanding that sections of the public have of the electoral system.

Long queues being witnessed at the various registration centres are as a result of the lack of understanding that sections of the public have of the electoral system.
"The majority of people who queue at the centres are those who have already registered but are there to replace their cards," he said.

He said for instance that in situations where an electoral officer was able to separate people who were at the centre to replace their cards from first time voters, it was clear that the queue for first time voters was very short.

"If we are encountering problems in the exercise we should all accept responsibility and not shift the blame to the doorstep of the EC because the EC alone cannot ensure a credible, free and fair election."

As to whether the exercise should be extended, Dr Afari-Gyan said the "political parties cannot go to the media to make that request. They should come to us so that together however, we can decide the next line of action.

"Currently, the EC does not have any problem with funds to support its operational budget. It is the developmental budget which we sometimes struggle to get from the government", he said.

Reacting to a concern as to whether the limited registration centres were not affecting the exercise, the EC chairman said, "we carefully assessed the 2,500 workstations before embarking on the registration and we made available about 1.2 million registration cards to be distributed in all the centres and if there are genuine voters we will see to them at the appropriate time."

He said to prevent the current situation of people queuing to register, the EC will work out plans in the near future to make it possible for people to register on a continuing basis saying, "we have to build our capacity to be able to do this."

He also touched on issue ranging from the roles of the commission, judiciary, political parties, media and the electorate are expected to play to ensure free , fair and credible elections.

Justice S.O. Lamptey, a retired Supreme Court judge, who chaired the function, said the time had come for all stakeholders including the political parties and the EC, to work together to ensure the enforcement Article 42 of the Constitution which deals with the representation of the people.

"At any given time the blame is put squarely on the EC even though the commission did not ask ineligible voters to participate on an electoral exercise."

Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, Executive Director of IDEG, in introductory remarks, urged political parties and actors to guard against utterances that have the tendency to undermine the peace and stability of the country.

Let's ensure a peaceful poll - Adjei-Barwuah

By William Yaw Owusu

Dr Baafour Adjei-Barwuah, former Ghana’s Ambassador to Japan has asked political parties and political actors to guard against acts and utterances that have the tendency to bring chaos in the country during the December poll.

“Ghana has become some kind of a test case or benchmark for measuring the level of democracy practice in Africa. If we falter or fail to hold on to this landable achievement everybody would probably be forgetting about Africa,” he cautioned.

Dr Adjei-Barwuah was speaking to the Times in an interview in Accra on Thursday.

He said “the level of respect and expectation that the international community has for Ghana demands that we conduct this election devoid of acrimony so that we will not waste this opportunity” to further consolidate our democracy”.

He said this year’s general election would focus on which party has been able to move Ghana to an appreciable level of economic growth and development adding “the track record of all the parties would be carefully assessed by the electorate.

Dr Adjei-Barwuah who was one of the 17 presidential aspirants at the December 22, congress of the New Patriotic Party won by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, said the ruling NPP is confident of resounding victory saying ‘we want the results to be uncontestable”.

He said “the NPP is not going to be coast on the governments performance. We will rather intensify our campaign to get the people’s mandate with the hope of improving upon it.

Dr Adjei-Barwuah said “a good proportion of the electorate would accept t hat Nana Akufo-Addo among all the presidential candidates has what it takes to do things differently”.

He said the electorate now have confidence in the NPP led government due to the implementation of good programmes and projects.

“The opposition parties will accept that the NPP is not as abusive as they want the world to believe and I am sure t hat the discerning elect orate have now drawn between the lines”.

He said the NPP would seek the peoples mandate to consolidate the gains made under President Kufuor’s administration, saying “the December poll will determine whether we want to move forward or backwards as a nation.”

British/French initiative to boost basic education

By William Yaw Owusu

Friday August 1, 2008
A British/French initiative to improve access to basic education across Africa is to take off by 2010 commencing in Ghana.

The initiative will be start as a pilot project in Ghana before its replication in other African countries.

It will make it possible for schools to be built and furnished, as well as provide learning materials to facilitate government’s effort of ensuring high quality education at the basic level.

This was disclosed by Caroline Coles, Managing Director of Piscara Learning, a United Kingdom-based company spearheading the initiative, jointly announced by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and President Nicholas Sarkozy in London in March.

The scheme will also involve multinational corporations worldwide. They will be asked to move financial contributions to compensate their activities on the environment.

Piscara will by 2015 through the initiative have provided educational infrastructure and learning materials for schools in Ghana at basic and second cycle levels.

Under the initiative companies will invest funds into the Piscara, African Children Education project which will be used to build the schools.

It will further provide high quality teacher training, leadership training management and curriculum support for the schools as well as emphasise on technical and vocational skills and training in order to ensure the sustainability of educational programme.

Mrs Coles said “it is an ambitious project which is putting about 16 million children from Africa in school between 2020 and 2015.

She said she had already conferred with officials of the government of Ghana including the Minister of Education Science and Sports saying “a good number of schools will be identified, improve on their infrastructure, build new one and turn them into model schools.

“There will be enough schools for every child to attend and we will facilitate the ICT revolution by providing laptops and computers for the children to get on board.”

Mrs Coles further said “quality and access to education should be standarised so that every child will have access to quality education.” Dr Baafour Adjei-Barwuah, Ghana’s former Ambassador to Japan who assisted in gathering the project implemented in Ghana said “this is the best undertaking we can get to sustain our educational infrastructure and development”.

He said the initiative will focus on the delivery of employable skills adding “this is the direction in which our educational sector should take because our economy needs skilled labour”.

Dr Adjei-Barwuah said the government would encourage the initiatory of the projects to support the educational sector adding “if is a wonderful opportunity for us to strengthen the effort to ensure high quality education in the country”.