Ghana: Disqualification of presidential candidates, opposition manifesto launch reported in Ghana

Accra, Ghana (PANA) – The unexpected disqualification of 12 presidential candidates that has thrown the political landscape into turmoil and the main opposition New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) launch of its manifesto were some of the stories highlighted by the media in Ghana this week.

The state-owned Graphic, in a story under the headline “Race for the Presidency...4 Aspirants get nod, 12 Disqualified, Odike awaits fate”, reported that the aspirations of 12 presidential hopefuls to ascend the presidency were dashed on Monday following their disqualification from contesting the 2016 presidential poll by the Electoral Commission (EC).

The Chairperson of the EC, Mrs Charlotte Osei, has, consequently, declared only four out of the 17 presidential aspirants eligible to contest the presidential poll.

They are Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), John Dramani Mahama of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Ivor Greenstreet of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and Mr Jacob Osei Yeboah, an independent candidate.

The 12 aspirants were disqualified by the EC for various infractions regarding the processing of their nomination forms.

Mrs Osei said the nomination forms of Kwasi Addai, also known as Odike, the 13th aspirant, could not be processed as a result of a suit filed by members of his party challenging his candidature. The party had up to 14 October to sort out their differences after which the EC would not be able to process his documents.

Mrs Osei said that the EC had provided adequate information for the various aspirants regarding the need to properly fill out their forms and had also sent out a reminder prior to the end of the period for the filing of nominations.

She said if the aspirants had filed their nominations earlier, the anomalies that led to their disqualification would have been noticed and their attention drawn to them for the necessary corrections to be made.

The Graphic, in another story under the headline, “Parties express shock at disqualification by EC”, reported that some of the political parties whose presidential aspirants have been disqualified had expressed shock at the decision and threatened to take legal action if the EC did not rescind its decision.

The Daily Graphic quoted representatives of the parties as saying that the EC’s decision to disqualify them was baseless and lacked substance.

The state-owned Ghanaian Times, in its story under the headline, “Disqualified aspirants threaten court action”, said some of the parties had threatened to seek redress in court while others were seeking to dialogue with the EC to resolve the matter.

The candidate of the Progressive People’s Party, Dr. Papa Kwesi Ndoum, asked the EC to give the parties an opportunity to discuss their disqualification amicably or else, they would proceed to court.

He said the issue was not a matter of fraud, but an administrative or clerical matter that could be rectified in a simple manner.

But the Ghanaian Times, in another story with the headline “EC ready to face failed nominees in court”, reported that the Commission had called the bluff of the parties, saying it was ready to face any of the disqualified presidential nominees in court.

The Head of Communications at the EC, Eric Kofi Dzakpasu, said the disqualification of the aspirants was based on law.

Meanwhile, the Graphic in a story under the headline, “More trouble for disqualified aspirants”, reported that the EC had referred all the electoral and criminal offences identified during the vetting of the nomination forms of the disqualified aspirants to the Ghana Police Service and the Attorney-General’s Department for further action.

The Graphic said EC Chairperson had insisted that the Commission did a thorough job by satisfying itself that the aspirants met the qualifying criteria under the law and were eligible to contest national elections.

“We at the Commission are not there to victimise anybody; we are there to strictly implement and lean on the law,” she said.

On the manifesto launch of the main opposition NPP, the Graphic reported under the headline, “We’ll restore hope; Akufo-Addo promises as he launches manifesto,” that the flag bearer of the party, Nana Akufo-Addo, on Sunday presented his "vision to restore hope, dignity and prosperity to the people of Ghana".

According to him, it had become clear that Ghanaians had become despondent because President John Dramani Mahama did not recognise the suffering of the people and might not be hearing their cry because he had sadly insulated himself from the reality on the ground.

He said it had become a fact of the lives of Ghanaians that not many people or political parties appreciated the significance of a manifesto in a democracy.

The manifesto is on the theme: “Agenda for change – Jobs, prosperity and securing the peace.”

But President Mahama hit back, saying the plans and policies outlined by the NPP in its 2016 manifesto would destroy Ghana if the party was voted into power.

For this reason, he has told party supporters that Ghanaians must shun the NPP.

"When the NPP read their manifesto, it was obvious that their economic plan would destroy this economy. … If you take the NPP's economic plan, they are reducing taxes on everything; removing taxes on raw materials, reducing VAT on several items, reducing corporate income tax so when you do that you are reducing your revenue,” he said.
-0- PANA MA/VAO 15Oct2016

15 october 2016 05:53:38

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