Apart from the $3 billion China Development Bank (CDB) loan approved last August, the Mills administration has lined up some 30 fresh loan agreements for parliamentary approval before the 2012 general elections.

Analysis done by The Globe newspaper puts the total value of these new loan facilities at more than US$ 4 billion.

Read more...

Polls have opened for the Democratic Republic of Congo's presidential elections, after a run-up marred by violence and logistical delays. The head of the electoral commission said 99% of polling stations were ready and voting would go ahead as planned. At least three people were killed on Saturday, leading to a police ban on final campaign rallies.

It is the second presidential poll in DR Congo since the end of 1996-2003 wars which left four million dead.

Read more...

Throw a dart at a map of Europe now and it takes expert aim to hit a country run by a left-of-center government, especially after Spain's Socialists were emphatically drubbed out of power over the weekend. Although the shift to the right began years ago in such heavyweights as France and Germany, it is now all but complete three years into the continent's grinding debt and economic crisis. Why?

When times get tough – when "the cows get thin" as the Spanish say – political experts say edgy voters seek comfort with conservatives.

Read more...

Egyptians are voting in the opening stage of the first elections since former President Hosni Mubarak was toppled in February. As dawn broke, people were already queuing to cast their ballots outside polling stations in the capital, Cairo. But protesters who want the vote to be postponed still occupy Tahrir Square.

The head of the country's military council, which took over after Mr Mubarak was unseated, has said the country is "at a crossroads".

Read more...

Other Stories

DI Holds Symposium On Presidential Election Petition
Mills and Democracy
Unfolding events in neighbouring Ivory Coast are clear manifestations of forebodings of what could happen in Ghana after Mills and his NDC have lost in the Parliamentary and Presidential elections in 2012. Mr Emile Short earlier registered his thoughts and on these likely premonitions in Ghana during and after 2012 with worried reference to events that happened in Rwanda; indeed John Mills and his government’s reactions on the Ivorian situation are clear confirmation of what everybody feels about Ghana during and after 2012.
President Mills’ executive judgment overruling the judgment of the Supreme Court is unconstitutional and against the founding principles of the NDC: By Martin A. B. K. Amidu
On the night of Thursday 24 May 2012 I read on ghanaweb.com/GhanaHome Page a story with the title ‘Government no longer selling ‘Jake Bungalow.”’ The story in its concluding paragraph ‘“described the acquisition as “immoral”’. I also read a statement attributed to the Forum for Governance and Justice (FGJ) in which my nephew and kinsman Dr. Appaak was alleged to have said: “the forum will study the docket and possibly seek redress .. The plaintiff – Okudzeto Ablakwa and Omane-Boamah have also indicated that they will push for review of the case.” Another newspaper on the same web on 24th May 2012 referred to the judgment as “Stinking Supreme Court Ruling ..” and concluded that: “We wish Justice Brobbey a happy retirement and may he live long to experience ….his actions.” I also read another newspaper with the title “Two “Jake Bungalow” Judges are NNP – Akume.
BECE results worst in 13 yrs, DI calls for urgent action
Figures from the West African Examinations Council show that the pass-rate of students who sat for the Basic Education Certificate Examination has been on a constant downward decline since 2009. In sum, out of the total number of 1,121,817 students who sat for the BECE in the past three years, 574,688 failed to achieve the pass mark. This means that more than half a million young people, with an average age of 15 years, have been thrown onto the streets with no employable skills in the past three years alone.
TWO DECADES OF FREEDOM: What South Africa Is Doing With It, And What Now Needs To Be Done
As the 20th anniversary of the birth of democracy in South Africa, on April 27 2014, approaches, it seems a perfect opportunity to take a step back and get a long-range perspective on the important question: “So, what has Nelson Mandela’s South Africa done with its freedom?” Goldman Sachs has produced this report in the hope of contributing to- wards a more balanced narrative on South Africa; one, which in the wake of 2012’s tragic events at Marikana, had become somewhat hysterical, short-term and often negative
What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland's School Success
Everyone agrees the United States needs to improve its education system dramatically, but how? One of the hottest trends in education reform lately is looking at the stunning success of the West's reigning education superpower, Finland. Trouble is, when it comes to the lessons that Finnish schools have to offer, most of the discussion seems to be missing the point. The small Nordic country of Finland used to be known -- if it was known for anything at all -- as the home of Nokia, the mobile phone giant. But lately Finland has been attracting attention on global surveys of quality of life -- Newsweek ranked it number one last year -- and Finland's national education system has been receiving particular praise
De-duplication won’t make register credible – Danquah Institute
Pro –opposition Think Tank, the Danquah Institute says the Electoral Commission (EC’s) decision to use de-duplication processes to rid the voters register of multiple registration will do very little to make the current voters register credible.
Is Ghana truly the beacon of hope for democracy in Africa?
Ghanaians went to the polls on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th December 2012 to elect an executive President and 275 Parliamentarians for a four year term January 2013 to December 2016. Less than 48 hours after the voting was closed, the caretaker President H.E. John Dramani Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was declared a winner with 5,574,761 votes representing 50.70% of the valid votes cast (10,995,262) by the Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr Afari Gyan. According to the EC, the flag bearer and presidential candidate of the NPP got 5,248,898 votes representing 47.74% of the total valid vote cast. The total turnout was 80.15% and the elections was held in 26.002 polling stations across the 10 Regions of the country. For some people in and outside Ghana, including this writer, the result was a big surprise. The Economist Newspaper of 15th December 2012 in a short article over the elections wrote that “Mr Mahama’s victory was surprising”. Reasons for the surprise are explained further in the article.
The Supreme Court judgment of 29 August 2013 on the Presidential Election Petition raises both legal and jurisprudential questions that the nation has to confront for years to come. It is doubtful if the majority position of dismissing the petition ever took into consideration the wider implications for the promotion and the sustenance of the rule of law, constitutional development, the advancement of democratic aspirations of the country, and the wider national interest.This commentary seeks to address those issues and argue that, the majority in the case failed to appreciate the wider national interest that the case sought to advance.
It is dangerous to blur the line between judges and politicians
Justice is truth in action. So said Benjamin Disraeli, who never had to deal with the European Court of Human Rights. Many modern politicians tend to a more jaundiced view. In their opinion, justice as dispensed by Strasbourg is not only blind but also, on occasion, deaf and dumb. The Euro judges, in their critics’ eyes, are an obstacle to British self-determination. Today, the Strasbourg court will prove or disprove such preconceptions in a ruling on whether extraditing alleged extremists to the United States would violate their human rights. The potential deportees include Abu Hamza, the hook-handed preacher jailed in 2006 for inciting murder and racial hatred.