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Newsflash

  • NDC RIGGING MACHINERY IN MOTION …. as DI raises red flags over suspicious NHIS registration numbers -

    Public policy and governance think tank, the Danquah Institute has expressed grave concern about the Electoral Commission's decision to register all persons in the country who, simply, are in possession of identity cards issued by the National Health Insurance Authority.

    At a press conference organised by DI last week, a fellow of the institute, Mr. Boakye Agyarko, explained that “one of the objects of the National Health Insurance Authority” as captured on the NHIA’s website which states that “persons not resident in the country but who are on a visit to this country” can obtain NHIS cards is deeply worrying.

  • GHANA MUST WAKE UP, SHOUT FOR A NEW REGISTER AND SHAKE UP THE EC -

    FITCH Rating’s latest report on Ghana lays particular emphasis on the importance of Ghana’s democracy and stability to the country’s economic prospects. Whiles it gives a negative outlook based on how the economy is being run, Fitch makes the point that Ghana’s credit rating has not, however, fallen below ‘B’ because of the country’s “strong governance record and recent democratic history,” and that, this is “reflected in Ghana’s ability to attract foreign direct investment, which at 7% of GDP is well above that of Nigeria, Gabon, Zambia, Kenya and Angola.”

  • Danquah Institute Reacts to Bogus Polls On NPP General Secretary Race -

    The attention of the Danquah Institute has been drawn to a story making the rounds on social media and now on www.ghanaweb.com, as well, titled “Danquah Institute predicts 64.7% win for Kwabena Agyepong.”

  • The Monetary Policy Committee - November 2013 -

    You are welcome to this Press briefing. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) held its 58th meeting on November 25 to 27, 2013 to review the latest economic developments and the monetary policy stance. I present to you the outcome of the deliberations.

    The latest projections by the IMF indicate a pickup in the pace of global activity from 2.9 percent in 2013 to 3.6 percent in 2014, driven largely by the advanced economies with the impulse to global growth expected to come mainly from the United States against weaker prospects in emerging market economies.

  • Africa’s tax systems: progress, but what is the next generation of reforms? -

    Mick MooreTaxation is zipping up the development agenda, but the discussion is often focussed on international aspects such as tax havens or the Robin Hood Tax. Both very important, but arguably, even more important is what happens domestically – are developing country tax systems regressive or progressive? Are they raising enough cash to fund state services? Are they efficient and free of corruption? This absolutely magisterial overview of the state of tax systems in Africa comes from Mick Moore (right), who runs the International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD). It was first published by the Africa Research Institute.

    Anglophone countries have led the way in reforming tax administration in Africa, considerably more so than their francophone peers. The reasons for this are numerous. Networks of international tax specialists are based mainly in English-speaking countries. Many of the modern systems that promote best practice within tax authorities were developed in anglophone countries, especially Australia. International donors, and particularly the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), have directly and indirectly promoted a lot of reform of national tax authorities. In fact, this has been one of the success stories of British aid.

  • 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

  • Shifting Power? Assessing the Impact of Transparency and Accountability Initiatives -

    Accountability and transparency initiatives hav e taken democratisation, governance, aid and development circles by storm since the turn of th e century. Many actors involved with them – as donors, funders, programme managers, implementers and researchers – are now keen to know more about what these initiatives are achieving.

    This paper arises from a review of the impact and effectiveness of transparency and accountability initiatives which gathered and analysed existing evidence, discussed how it could be improved, and evaluated how impact and effectiveness could be enhanced. This paper takes the discussion further, by delving into what lies behind the methodological and evaluative debates currently surrounding governance and accountability work. It illustrates how choices about methods are made in the cont ext of impact assessment designs driven by different objectives and different ideological and epistemological underpinnings. We argue that these differences are articulated as methodological debates, obscuring vital issues underlying accountability work, which are about power and politics, not methodological technicalities.

  • ADVISORY NOTES TO PARLIAMENT ON THE PETROLEUM AGREEMENTS BETWEEN THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA, AGM PETROLEUM AND COLA NATURAL RESOURCES -

    The Ministry of Energy has officially laid before Parliament two Petroleum Agreements for ratification following earlier approval by Cabinet. The Agreements are:

    1. Petroleum Agreement among Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, GNPC Exploration and Production Company Limited and AGM Petroleum Ghana LTD in respect of the South Deepwater Tano Contract Area (and shall be called AGM Contract for the purpose of this Analysis).

    2. Petroleum Agreement among Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Cola Natural Resources and Medea in respect of East Cape Three Points Contract Area (and shall be called Cola Contract for the purpose of this analysis).

    This Advisory Notes is provided to members of Parliament to enrich debate during the consideration of the Agreements. The Notes are based on analysis by the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) of the Negotiated Agreements and the memoranda accompanying them. These Notes do not cover most of the subjects in the two Agreements as most of them have common provisions. The focus of the analysis therefore covers subjects that show material differences between the Agreements for the purpose of enriching the debate in parliament.

  • CADA DISCUSSES OVER VOTING -

    Of late Ghanaians have become obsessed with throwing electoral ‘jargons’ around arising from the recent Election Petition in the Supreme Court of Ghana and most people have overnight turned themselves into Electoral Specialists in view of the enormous interest generated during the petition hearing. However, there are still lack of clarity and understanding in some of the widely used electoral terminologies. The Centre for African Democratic Affairs (CADA) a ‘Think Tank’ of Election Experts, has taken upon itself the challenge to critically examine some of the terms that created confusion in the minds of people during the court proceedings. One of such terminologies is over voting whose definition is still ambiguous even after the ruling of the Supreme Court. CADA therefore discusses the term Over Voting in the first of its series.

  • A strong Parliament is key to fighting corruption - Minority Leader -

    The Minority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, has stated that strengthening Parliament’s financial oversight responsibilities is critical to combating corruption.

    He noted that “the evil enterprise of corruption which has become cancerous in Ghana”, explaining that Parliament has no option than to demonstrate extreme concern about the problems and threats that corruption poses to the stability and security of the country.

    He said corruption undermines state institutions and the values of democracy, as well as cultural and traditional values and the justice system. According to him these work against sustainable development and the rule of law.


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12 years later, Florida comes to Ghana with an Israeli twist

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I would like to begin by offering thanks to the Ghanaian readers who offered such passionate comments to my articles during the Presidential campaign. Though I left Ghana shortly after Election Day, I fully enjoyed my experience observing and commenting on the vibrant Ghanaian political scene.

However, the aftermath of the election has been quite troubling and disconcerting.  In fact, it has left a very ugly stain on what had previously been the white knight of African democracy.  Many readers have wondered why I disappeared, but I have simply delayed commenting on the political crisis while waiting to see what might unfold.  Now that we approach the end of the 21-day period during which the election can be challenged in court, I felt ready to weigh in.

Though it is a great relief to see that a peaceful climate prevails, which is a credit to Ghana, the allegations of fraud against the Electoral Commission (EC) and the police state tactics used by the NDC in response are, quite frankly, sickening.  When looking at the electoral crisis, the first thing that naturally comes to mind is the hung American Presidential election of the year 2000 in the state of Florida, which left the entire nation, and in fact the entire world, on edge until George W. Bush was finally declared the winner on December 12 – a full 35 days after the election too, place.

But that, unfortunately, is where the similarities end.  In the case of Ghana on December 7/8 of 2012, the EC rushed to declare John Mahama the winner, despite the complaints raised by the NPP.  So the NPP will have to bring the case to court and rely upon the independence of Ghanaian institutions to essential unseat John Mahama after he will already have been inaugurated.

While this seems nearly impossible to imagine at first, the allegations levied against the EC are staggering.  It seems as though there is major corruption inside the EC that enabled NDC agents to compromise EC personnel at the collation center level, so that they altered numbers from blue-sheets from the polling stations to raise John Mahama’s vote totals while simultaneously lowering those of Nana Akufo-Addo and the other candidates as well.  We will not know for sure until the NPP case reaches court, probably sometime this week, but rumors suggest that not only did John Mahama not win one-touch, but that in fact Nana Akufo-Addo should have been declared a one-touch victor!

For starters, I will point out a few disturbing issues about the biometric voter register. Barely a month to the December 7 election, the Electoral Commission presented every political party a copy of the biometric register, where it stated that a total of 14,031,680 Ghanaians were eligible to vote in the elections. However, the number of registered voters as contained in the declared results by Dr Afari Gyan shows that the total number of registered voters adds up to 14,158,890 – an increase of 127,210 voters. Where did this increment come from?

Also, when Dr Afari Gyan declared the results of the election, he stated to the hearing of every Ghanaian, and this was live on TV, that the percentage turnout of the December poll was 79.43%. I will direct every Ghanaian to the website of the electoral commission which now indicates that the percentage turnout has increased to 80.15%.

However, there is another attribute to the case, which concerns the biometric process used for the first time in Ghana to verify voters.  A new electoral law was passed, whose main attribute was the rule of NVNV – “No Verification, No Vote”.  In fact, the breakdown of some verification machines on Friday, December 7 pushed voting into the following day.

However, later reports indicate that in certain NDC strongholds, biometric verification was not used and thus fraudulent repeat voting may have occurred, in addition to foreign, unregistered or underage people voting.  Agents from certain polling stations have alleged that the EC plans to wipe clean the verification machines from certain districts, which is a treasonous act in Ghana, as the law states that evidence needs to be kept for one year.

But there is another disturbing angle to this story, which involves the Israeli firm called STL, who signed some sort of opaque “data services” contract with the EC that no one seems to understand fully.  They boasted of a contract with the EC to electronically transmit results, but the EC Chairman, Mr. Afari Gyan, came out to deny. Why would the EC deny it when there's a contract to that effect?  STL had their IT infrastructure in all the districts to transmit results to EC. They say they dismantled that infrastructure after the NPP besieged their offices, but we know that they still did it to allow NDC to be on top of the results. We also know that machines breaking down was even part of the rigging  - a case in point is that all machines breaking down in the north working miraculously next day.

The question is: will STL do the dirty work of the EC – namely resetting verification machines for polling stations where verification was not used and inserting biometric data to tally with ballot papers cast?

I have to say, given the implications of a foreign company so blatantly interfering in the data transfer of elections, that one would have expected the media to pursue STL more vigorously. This is their first election – have they earned the public trust? How much corruption is involved with this most important business of the state? It is known that STL earned a major sea defence contract through another Israeli intermediary company.

If the STL does in fact go ahead with the plan to insert biometric data on machines that have none, then it is a major crime, and a treasonable one.  The mere fact that such a debate is even possible is a huge letdown for people who held Ghana in high esteem, such as myself.  It’s hard to accept that Africa’s “golden child” of democracy could have a supervisory agency like the EC so central in the allegations. The bottom line: elections could not be rigged without EC; and if they leaned on STL to do their dirty work, while cleaner companies with experience, like Smartmatic, were ignored, then the fraud was indeed coordinated, systematic, and deliberate.

The STL factor raises several questions:

· There are pink sheets with polling station agents indicating on them that the machine was not used, so how would the EC reconcile these human testimonies with their reset machines?

· Would that not call for an independent audit that would confirm the suspicion that there had been a grand conspiracy all along?

· Why did Safo Kantanka, Deputy Commissioner of the EC, direct regional electoral officers and the district returning officers to bring to Accra all biometric machines?

· Also, why did the EC send mixed messages in reply to the NPP warning against trying to contact its polling agents directly – Kantanka admitted that those contacts involve an NGO programme, but Afari Gyan said the said NGOs never reached out to him.

I look forward learning the answers to these questions when the case finally reaches the Supreme Court.

John Hamilton

Atlanta, GA



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