Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Parties Oppose Nomination Fee

By William Yaw Owusu

Monday, 29 September 2008
Political parties in the country have protested against the nomination fees announced by the Electoral Commission for the Presidential and Parliamentary elections in December.

The EC, in a statement issued yesterday and signed by Mr Albert Kofi Arhin, Director of Elections, fixed the nomination fee for the presidential candidates at GH¢5,000 and that for Parliamentary candidates at GH¢500. But the parties say "the figures are too high".

A joint petition from the parties titled "Increase in nomination fees" and sent to the EC, which was received by David Kanga, a Deputy Commissioner, asked the EC to consider the current inflation rate before fixing the fees.

Mr Thomas Nuako Ward-Brew, flag-bearer of the Democratic People’s Party (DPP), who spoke on behalf of the other parties, said they are asking the EC to consider the current economic situation by using the 18 per cent inflation rate to fix the fees.

He said in 2004, the nomination fee for Presidential candidates was fixed at ¢20 million (GH¢2,000) while that for Parliamentary candidates was ¢500,000 (GH¢50).

This year, he added, "the EC has increased the whole thing ten fold".

He said; "The EC is not a revenue-generating body, neither is it a tax imposing agency.

"We think the current nomination fees are very astronomical".

Asked whether the EC was bound by law to inform political parties about fixing of nomination fees, Mr Ward-Brew said "we are the major stakeholders. In 2004, we, together with the EC, discussed the fees at the Inter- party Advisory Committee (IPAC) Meeting".

"This time around, the EC did not consult us and that is why we are asking them to reconsider their decision.

"We all wish to see a free, fair, transparent, credible and successful election and the EC should not make things difficult for us."

The parties which were signatory to the petition included the DPP, NDC, PNC, NPP, CPP, URP, GCPP and Egle Party.

Dr Kwabena Agyei represented the NDC, Emmanuel Wilson, the PNC, Antwi Agyei, NPP and Kwabena Domfeh, the CPP.

The rest were Kofi Wayo for the URP, Dan Lartey for the GCPP and Alhassan Benneh for the Egle Party.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

CPP's new campaign strategy

By William Yaw Owusu

Wedneday September 24, 2008
THE Convention People’s Party (CPP) is to split its campaign into four groups to enable it work effectively towards ensuring a resounding victory in the December poll.

Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom flag-bearer of the CPP who disclosed this to the Times soon after outdooring Dr Abu Sakara, a scientist as his running mate on Sunday said he would lead the first group to embark on a nationwide tour.

He said the second group will be led by Dr Sakara with the CPP National Executives and his wife Yvonne, leading the two other groups in the campaign.

Dr Nduom said the enthusiastic support offered the CPP by the electorate at the outdooring of Dr Sakara was an indication that “the CPP is now a force to reckon with in Ghana’s current political dispensation.

He said “the CPP has been reborn and we are now one of the leading contenders of Election 2008.”

Dr Nduom said “everywhere we go the people are yearning for a genuine change and they know that the CPP is the only alternative in the forthcoming election”.

He said “Edwumawura and Yeresesamu” slogans are catching on with the electorate and we will surely form the next government to bring happiness to the people”.

He further said we have the track record and we are going to build upon it”.

Dr Nduom said the selection of Dr Sakara as his running mate indicated that the CPP has confidence in the development of the youth, adding “we are going into this election with a united front and we will make a very good impression

Nduom's Mate

By William Yaw Owusu

Monday September 22, 2008
For the Convention People’s Party (CPP), it was a dream crowd. Yesterday’s rally qualified to be called mammoth rally held at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra was to introduce Dr Abu Sakara, 50, an agricultural scientist, as Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom’s running mate for Election 2008. it was also to celebrate the 99th birthday of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, founder of the CPP and Ghana’s first president. The occasion also launched the party’s national campaign for the December poll.

As early as 8 am, party members and supporters from all over the country thronged the Obra Spot, venue of the event which had been decorated with CPP colours of red, white and green amid singing, dancing and chanting of the party’s slogans.

The event finally got under way at about 1:15 pm, with poetry recitals from two young boys who extolled the virtues and visions of Dr Kwame Nkrumah.

Party gums took turns to address the enthusiastic crowd, but it was Samia Nkrumah, daughther of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, who electrified the atmosphere when she took the microphone.

The convoy of the presidential aspirant finally arrived at 2:22 pm with Dr Abu Sakara in the lead, closely followed by Dr Nduom who were all in different open-top vehicles.

As the two gestured the now popular ‘Yeresesamu’ sign of the party, literally means “we are changing things, the crowd went wild

The police had it tough controlling the crowd,

Dr Nduom lifted Dr Sakara’s right hand at exactly 3:54 and declared: “he is a running mate who is the best person there is”. He explained: “We are an agricultural country and Dr Sakara has the expertise to transform this sector.”

Dr Sakara, accepting the nomination, declared “the task ahead of us is an awesone challenge but we will do everything possible to ensure a resounding victory for the CPP in December”.

He saw his nomination as “a great honour for the youth and we should all move together to make the CPP form the next government for a prosperous nation”.

Dr Sakara warned other political parties not to underestimate the CPP, saying “we have the will to win this year’s election.

“The CPP has a plan for the task ahead. We are resilient. We are going to fight with ideas and this will bring the change that every Ghanaians is yearning for.”

Dr Sakara later released white doves into the sky to signify the CPP’s commitment to ensure a peaceful election in December.

Dr Nduom, before addressing the crowd, invited Bright Akwetey, DrW.K. Akufo nd Dr Kwaku Osafo, all defeated presidential aspirants in the party’s congress in December last year, to join him.

He told the crowd that the presence of his former contestants and the support that he enjoys from all of them were clear indications that the CPP had been reborn.

“In the past we contested an election with a divided front but things will be different in December 2008. We will go to the Flag-Staff House to work hard to ensure a prosperous Ghana”.

The flag-bearer promised that “when the CPP gets the mandate its government will, within 100 days, revive the meat factory in Zuarungu, near Bolgatanga, the Upper East Region.

He also promised a free compulsory and continuous education from the basic level to the senior high school level.

Dr Nduom further promised to sponsor a bill that will make the office of district chief executives an elective position.

He said the NDC and the NPP did what they could to develop the country but it was not enough. “It is time for the CPP to take over to bring real development,” he said.

He promised the establishment as well as the revival of industries and steps to ensure that farmers have a market for their produce. He will also add value to made-in-Ghana products.

Dr Nduom assured all civil and public servants of the CPP’s commitment to ensure that they were well motivated to help the development of the country, saying “we will make sure you get what you deserve”.

Ladi Nylander, chairman of the CPP, said the party was capable of leading Ghana into a prosperous nation, adding: “We have a proven track record and we will build on it”.

Ivor Kobina Greenstreet, General Secretary of the CPP, urged the electorate to vote wisely in the December poll saying “the CPP is here to create jobs as we did in the early days”.

Kosi Dede, the Publicity Chairman said the party was the most organised political group in the country. “We have our manifesto. The others have launched their campaign without their manifesto. How are they going to address the problems of the country?”

He asked the NDC to stop using the ‘Yeresesamu’ slogan which he said was brought by the CPP. He also asked the NPP to stop using the slogan “we are moving forward” since the CPP was the originator of that catch phrase.

Samia Nkrumah on her part said the CPP was back to make sure that the vision and teachings of her father were strengthened and the social needs of the people addressed.

Dr Vladamir Antwi Danso a leading member of the party, said “we hate the dichotomy of the NPP/NDC syndrome. CPP is the only party that was formed. All others were mushroomed”.

B.K. Senkyire, a member of the party said the NDC and the NPP had developed the country without considering the welfare of the people.

“There was a human face to the policies and programmes of Dr Nkrumah but the NDC and lately the NPP have made several unfulfilled promises.

The leadership of the party and the flag-bearer and his running mate later cut a cake to signify the 99th birthday of Dr Nkrumah.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Poll task force identified flash points

By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday September 17, 2008
THE Greater Accra Regional Electoral Security Task Force says it has identified certain areas in the region where political activities in the run-up to the December general election may pose security threat.

“For security, reasons, I cannot mention the flash points but I can assure you that the security agencies are working hard to bring every situation under control and ensure that the election is held in a peaceful atmosphere,” said DCOP James Oppong-Boanuh, the Regional Police Commander and chairman of the task force at the second meeting of the task force in Accra yesterday.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the police, Military, Air Force, Navy, Prisons, Fire Service, Electoral Commission, Customs, Excise and Preventive Service, Bureau of National Investigations, Regional Co-ordinating Council and the Information Services Department.

Representatives of the Immigration Service and the National Commission for Civic Education, which are also members of the task force were not present.

DCOP Oppong-Boanuh said the task force would interact regularly with the political parties in order to create a conducive atmosphere for the election.

“We are going to be transparent in our dealings with the political parties. We will be non-partisan and we urge all parties to collaborate with us to make the conduct of the election very successful.”

He said, “Every aspect of our work will go out to the parties and the public at large so that they will appreciate what we are doing to maintain law, order and peace in the election.”

“We will hasten investigations into election-related incidents and will not shield any body who flouts the rules and regulations.”

He urged the people particularly the political leaders and their sympathisers not to engage in what he called “fanning the flames” in the media and appealed to them to always help the police to investigate any matter brought up.

He said the region and the country at large have enough security personnel to handle any challenges in the course of the election adding, “providing security for the election does not only involve the police but also all other security agencies.”

DCOP Oppong-Boanuh however said that private security would not be part of the security arrangement for the election.

He urged the public to go about their daily activities without fear and to report people whose activities are likely to disturb the electoral process.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bawumia: Fee-free 2nd cycle education is do-able

By William Yaw Owusu

Saturday September 13' 2008
DR Mahamudu Bawumia, running mate of the New Patriotic Party has promised that free education at the senior high school will be implemented in no time when the NPP is retained in office in the December election.

“The free education initiative is so dear to the heart of Nana Akufo-Addo, our flag-bearer who has promised to implement it as quickly as possible”.

Dr Bawumia who until recently was a Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana said this in an interview on Monday when he paid a familiarisation visit to the office of the New Times Corporation in Accra to acquaint himself with activities of the corporation.

Dr Bawumia said investing in education is the most prudent way of positioning the country for an accelerated growth and development saying “we should not undermine the effort to promote quality and affordable education in this country.”

He said the next NPP administration will work hard to find the needed funds to support the free education initiative and added “When the NPP came into office in 2001, it did not need oil revenue to implement the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education.”

Dr Bawumia said apart from education, the next NPP administration will pay more attention on the National Health Insurance Scheme, transportation agriculture, particularly cocoa production and more importantly further stabilization of the country’s economy.

He also said the NPP will form close partnership with the industrial sector to create more employment avenues for the people.

“The issue of unemployment should not be interest to everybody and the NPP sees it as a major challenge which needs to be tackled head on and bring happiness to our people”.

Dr Bawumia further said “the NPP campaign will continue to raise issues I have enumerated above with the hope helping to solve them when hopefully we retain power”.

“We want to stay focused on our campaign messages. I believe in the NPP’s vision that is why I am offering myself to serve my nation even better”.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bawumia advises electorate: Don't entertain vicious politicians

Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, who until recently was a Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana has been selected as the running mate of ruling New Patriotic Party candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in the December general election in Ghana.

By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday September 9, 2008.
Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) running mate for the December election, says the time has come for the electorate to ignore what he called “politicians who are bent on hiding behind the election to distabilise the country”.

“The country is on the verge of an economic breakthrough, so we should not allow these few politicians to disrupt the peace and programmes towards the creation of a better Ghana for us all,” he advised.

Dr Bawumia, who until recently a Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana said this when he paid a familiarisation visit to the offices of the New Times Corporation in Accra yesterday.

The NPP running mate, who was accompanied by John Boadu, NPP national youth organiser, and Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, Executive Director of the Danquah Institute, is currently visiting the various media houses to acquaint himself with their work.

Dr Bawumia said: “this year’s election is about the determination of our future as a people. We are going to decide whether we should move forward or go backwards.

“We should know that the country’s future is at stake in this election and the NPP is committed to ensuring the integrity of the electoral process to further consolidate our democracy.”

He said the NPP administration had been able to put in place sound economic policies and programmes which were capable of withstanding external shocks, adding “it is very clear that we have delivered a major transformation of the economy”.

He said “in the past, all the indicators pointed to a downturn. We were using about 22 per cent of our export revenue to pay interests on debts. But now, our economy is described as on the frontier of an emerging economy”.

Dr Bawumia said the government had built a solid foundation and the economy was not dependent on the International Monetary Fund.

“In the midst of the turbulence, we have been able to demonstrate economic competence and the NPP deserves to be retained in office to continue the economic progress,” he urged.

On the railway sector, Dr Bawumia described the revamping of the sector as a priority of the next NPP government, and added “if we are going to industrialise, then this sector should play a vital role”.

He said the pledge by the flag-bearer, Nana Akufo-Addo to make education at the senior high school level free of charge was real, explaining “if President Kufuor under severe constraints was able to make education at the basic level free, then why not Nana Akufo-Addo when the economy is showing signs of progress”.

He said “under Nana Akufo-Addo’s administration, the NPP will approach development with a sense of urgency and ensure equity in the distribution national resources”.

On how well he is doing on the political terrain, Dr Bawumia said: “I have been well received everywhere I go, and this tremendous support encourages me that there is hope for this country”.

He said “if people think my entry into politics is to tell lies, attack personalities and trade insults, then they will be disappointed. I have come on board to ensure a healthy political discourse and tackle the issues at hand”.

John Boadu, commenting, commended the media for helping to consolidate the country’s democracy and promised the electorate that the NPP would not let them down when elected.

Mr Kofi Asuman, Managing Director of the New Times Corporation, urged politicians to be mindful of utterances and acts that have the tendency to disrupt the peace of the country.

Mr Enimil Ashon, acting Editor of the Ghanaian Times, the flagship paper of the corporation, assured all political parties that the paper would continue to be fair and objective towards the development of the country.

Friday, September 05, 2008

NDUOM GOES FOR ROSARY...Praying for a miracle in Election '08

Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom is the Presidential hopeful of the Convention People's Party (CPP)for Ghana's Election 2008

By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday September 4, 2008
DR Paa Kwesi Nduom, flag-bearer of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), says he has got himself a rosary that will help him work towards the miracle that people say he would need to win the December Presidential election.

“As a devout Catholic, I already have a rosary and pray over it everyday. I know that once the heavens help those who help themselves, I will continue to work very hard and the miracle will surely come on December 7.

Speaking in a telephone interview from Gomoa Mpota, where he is currently on a working visit, Dr Nduom said “at our congress on December 17, last year, where I was elected the flag-bearer, I promised to build a strong and independent CPP capable of winning an election and I am happy to say that we are getting there”.

He said “ I will make the CPP proud in December. I have been without stop to every corner of this country and the electorate are enthusiastic and excited about the CPP.

He said the CPP’s message of “ Change you can feel in your pocket” as well as the “Edwumawura” slogan is settling down well with the electorate adding “they have appreciated our effort and are now asking us not to let them down”.

Dr. Nduom said the party is now overwhelmed by the response of the electorate following the launch of its membership drive campaign and added “we are now finding it difficult keeping up this ever whelming demand administratively”.

Touching on unity in the CPP, Dr Nduom said “the electorate are now demanding an independent CPP capable of winning an election and the party executive is collaborating with me to ensure discipline for the task”.

He said if anyone wants to support any other party he or she is at liberty to do so.We do not want them to remain in the CPP and cause confusion”.

On the situation on Ellembelle Constituency, where the party executives are in a tussle with Freddie Blay the incumbent, MP over who should represent the area in the parliamentary election, Dr Nduom said “I have confidence in the new national executive and we should give them the chance to solve this problem”.

He said “the CPP must be commended for always giving everybody who flouts the party’s constitution the chance to explain himself or herself saying “I am confident the party will deal with any circumstance appropriately”.

On political intolerance and violence, the CPP flag-bearer said “the CPP will be the last party to do anything that will destroy the peace that we are currently enjoying”.

He said “the CPP is a party of peace we struggled and won independence for Ghana and suffered a lot. We will always do the right things to ensure that there is peace in the country.

“What is happening in the northern region, I am afraid, if we do not take steps to stop it, can spill over to the south as well”.

Dr Nduom said “if I were the flag-bearers of both NPP and the NDC, I would stop whatever I am doing and rush to the north to calm down the tension.”

“I am looking forward for the opportunity to go to the north to preach peace and political tolerance to the people.”

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

CPP launches manifesto for the disadled

By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday September 2, 2008
THE Convention People’s Party (CPP) took its campaign for the December election to a new level when it launched a braille verson of its manifesto for the visually impaired yesterday.

A braille is a system of printing for blind people in which each letter is represented as a raised pattern which can be read by touching with the fingers.

In attendance at the launch in Accra yesterday were the leadership and members of the various associations of persons with disability as well as the leadership and some leading members of the CPP.

Launching it, Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, flag-bearer of the CPP regretted that all political parties had failed to adequately address the needs of persons with disability.

He said “we are the only party to launch a real version of our manifesto in the Braille verson so that our brothers and sisters who are disadvantaged will know the plans that the CPP has for them.”

He said the party’s ten point agenda captioned “change you can fell in your pocket” has also been turned into a Braille form for them to make informed choices in the December poll.

“We want the electorate to know the difference between the CPP and all the other parties. We are all aware that it is only the CPP which is capable of offering a change that the people can believe in.”

Dr Nduom said the CPP’s manifesto which revolves around self determination, Pan Africanism and social justice has been accepted by the electorate and said “we will continue to campaign to win the election.

Yaw Ofori Debrahs president of the Ghana Association for the Blind said the CPP’s gesture is a demonstration of their commitment to people centred leadership that they are promising.”

Samuel K. Asare, president of the Ghana Association for the Deaf said “we are always left out in the electoral process but it is time for the politicians to put us in their plans.”

A representative of the Ghana society for the Physically Disabled said, “this initiative of the CPP shows that the party is committed to making us part of the electoral process.

Ivor Kobina Greenstreet, General Secretary of the CPP who himself is disabled in his welcome address said issues of persons with disability should be non partisan.

He said the CPP represents the poor and the vulnerable and will fight for them at any time.

I’ll focus on education - Nana Akufo-Addo

By William Yaw Owusu

Monday September 1, 2008
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, flag-bearer of New Patriotic Party (NPP) reiterated his commitment to prioritise education when elected as the next President.
"Education is the key to the development of this country. In developed countries like North Korea and Malaysia, illiteracy has been eliminated so education must be the priority of every government," he said.
Nana Akufo-Addo was addressing a well attended rally at Bukom in the Odododiodio Constituency of the Greater Accra Region on Friday.
The NPP campaign team had joined the chiefs and people of Ga to celebrate the annual Homowo, a festival for the Ga State.
The NPP flag-bearer who spoke in both Ga and English said the the time has come for every child in the country to get the chance to receive free and quality education to help in the elimination of illiteracy in the society.
Nana Akufo-Addo said through education, industrial development and creation of jobs would be achieved, adding that ‘we have to encourage and give our attention to the younger generation to make them very responsible in the future.’
"Most of the working class in Ghana are below 35 years, so we need a policy that would ensure a youthful and skilled human resource base," he said.
He mentioned some of the achivements of the NPP since it took over from the NDC in 2001 and urged the electorate to continue to support the NPP to retain office in the December poll to continue the development of the country.
Nana Akufo-Addo reiterated the NPP’s commitment towards ensuring a free, fair credible and peaceful election and called on other political parties to also show similar commitment.
"It would not be right to shed blood in the election. Ghana is seen as the beacon of hope for Africa and we should all do our best protect the peace that we are enjoying” he added.
He dismissed allegations that the ruling NPP is planning to rig Election 2008 and said ‘we will continue to campaign vigorously to get the electorate to vote for us.’
Sheikh I. C Quaye, Greater Accra Regional Minister said NPP won 11 out of the 13 seats in the Region in 2004 and would definitely win all the seats in Election 2008.
Stanley Nii Adjiri Blankson, Mayor of Accra said Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) would soon construct a modern boxing gymnasium in the area to develop the sport.
Mr Samuel Odoi-Sykes, former National Chairman of NPP said Nana Akufo-Addo is politically experienced than all the contesting flag-bearers for Election 2008.
Other party stalwarts including Peter Mac Manu and Laud Commey, National Chairman and National Orgeiser respectively took turns to preach the NPP’s achievement.
A giant billboard of Nana Akufo-Addo was unveiled at Bukom square to promote the party's campaign in the constituency whilst a minute silence was observed in memory of the late Mr Peter Ala Adjetey, for Speaker of Parliament and a leading member of NPP.