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Newsflash

  • REPORT OF THE ELECTORAL REFORMS COMMITTEE SUBMITTED TO THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA -

    We, members of the Electoral Reforms Committee wish to thank the almighty God for the strength, health and travelling mercies granted us throughout our various meetings, discussions and retreat sessions held outside Accra in executing our mandate as spelt out in our Terms of Reference. We thank the Chairman and Members of the Electoral Commission for giving us the opportunity to serve mother Ghana.

    To Mr Gabriel Pwamang the consultant to the Committee, we say: “...we are grateful to you for your assistance and for bringing your competence, expertise and legal acumen to bear on the work of the Committee.” Read more >>>

  • COMMEMORATION OF THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF DR. J. B. DANQUAH -

  • Foresight Africa: Implementing a New U.S.-Africa Policy -

    2013 ushered in the most significant change in the United States’ Africa policy since the passing of PEPFAR 10 years ago. The unveiling of investment-focused initiatives—Power Africa and Trade Africa—reflects not just a change in how the Obama administration views the continent, but also how foreign investors have prioritized it. But policy rarely achieves its objectives without equal attention to implementation. A number of implementation barriers—old regulations and new policies working at cross-purposes, and limited on-the-ground capacity—threaten to undermine America’s new approach to the continent in 2014. If 2013 was marked by change in U.S. strategy towards Africa, 2014 will be marked by the recognition that 90 percent of the success of that strategy is implementation.

  • Statistical Proof of Ghana's Bloated Voter Register -

    This is the Age Distribution of Ghana’s 2010 population of 24.391 million.

    This number includes all persons domiciled in Ghana as at 2010 regardless of citizenship.

    Although the elections were held in 2012, the voter register was compiled at a time when these were the population distribution

    Read More

     

  • NPA’s 10% reduction in Petroleum Prices – “Too Little” or “Too Late”? -

    NPA’s Arrogance or Economics?

    On the eve of the New Year, 2015, the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) announced a reduction in ex-pump prices of petroleum products by 10% across board. This was not without drama. Most of the headlines that followed the announcement pointed to price reduction under duress. A number of civil society organizations and political parties put pressure on NPA to reduce the prices due to reasons such as the oil price crush and relative stability in the value of the local Ghanaian currency. Some of the organizations threatened public demonstrations against NPA and the Government; a situation that was expected considering that petro-politics is a feature of petroleum pricing in most parts of the world.

  • 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.

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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