Ghana: Limited registration of voters, attack at radio station reported in Ghana

Accra, Ghana (PANA) – The commencement of an exercise to update the voters’ register, the Electoral Commission’s launch of a five-year strategic plan, attack on panellists at a radio station and the unbearable hot weather were some of the stories played up in the Ghanaian media this week.

With general elections due in November this year, the Electoral Commission (EC) on Thursday began a registration exercise to capture those who have turned 18 and others who did not register during the 2012 exercise to compile a new voters’ register.

The state-owned Graphic newspaper had the headline, “Limited voters’ registration starts.” It reported on Friday that first time eligible voters had been given the opportunity to add their names to the electoral register as the EC commenced its nationwide limited voters’ registration exercise on Thursday.

It said the 10-day exercise for those who had turned 18 years and those who could not register in 2012 began at most registration centres.

The Graphic said although the exercise took off smoothly at most centres, patronage was generally low, but other centres saw impressive patronage. The EC says it hopes to add 1.2 million new voters by the end of the exercise on 8 May.

The state-owned Ghanaian Times had he headline “Poor show on day 1 of limited registration” with the story saying the exercise recorded low turnout on the first day on Thursday because of low publicity.

“No heat wave; hot weather normal – Meteo,” was the headline of the Graphic on the high temperatures being experienced in Ghana in recent weeks.

It said the excessive heat being experienced in parts of Ghana had been described as normal by the Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMA).

According to the GMA temperatures all over Ghana were within the normal range of 30-43 degrees Celsius experienced during this season.

The Graphic said the panic in Ghana about the weather had been accentuated by a message being circulated on social media platforms that Ghana and some African countries were experiencing a "heat wave".

The Principal Meteorologist at the GMA, Mr Joe Tetteh Portuphy, explaining the high temperatures said that clouds which could cover the sun’s rays were not forming and so its direct rays were beaming on Ghana.

That, he said, was also because there were no rains, a situation which would persist for a long while. In addition, Mr Portuphy said, after 21 March, 2016, the sun crossed the Equator on its way towards the Northern Hemisphere, making Ghana hot within the period.

During the night, the meteorologist said, the clouds blocked the outgoing radiation and that made the atmosphere very warm.

The Graphic’s story on the attack on panellists at a local radio station in Kumasi during the week had the headline, “Mayhem at Fox FM studios in Kumasi.”

The Graphic reported that there was mayhem at the studios of Fox FM, a local FM station in Kumasi, Ghana's second largest city and opposition stronghold, when five heavily-built men stormed the station and physically attacked panel members during a political talk-show programme on Monday morning.

A member of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Baah Acheamfour, said to be a loyal supporter of suspended National Chairman of the party, Paul Afoko, was making a contribution when the thugs he alleged were hired by the regional communications director of the party, Kwasi Kyei, entered the studios to attack him.

The newspaper said the programme was disrupted and listeners could hear anguished shouts in the background as he was being beaten.

The Station Manager, Peter Nana Akwasi Sarpong Jnr, who said the incident could not have been accidental, explained that Kyei had arrived at the station earlier to ask who allowed Baah Acheamfour to represent the party on the programme.

He was alleged to have forcibly entered the studios where a discussion on President John Dramani Mahama’s job creation policy was being discussed. Minutes later, five heavily built men stormed the studios and physically assaulted everybody.

The host, who said he was hit on the chest, managed to escape while Baah Acheamfour became the target of the thugs.

“We want to transform EC into world class body,” was the headline of the Graphic on the launch of the Electoral Commission’s five-year strategic plan.

The story said the EC had reiterated its commitment to ensure that it became the most credible elections regulatory body in Africa.

The EC Chairperson, Mrs Charlotte Osei, said the objectives of the plan were to ensure that the EC became legally and functionally independent. It would also maintain a relationship of trust and credibility with citizens, parties, state institutions and all stakeholders.

The 2016-2020 Strategic Plan, dubbed: “Gearing for Greatness”, replaces the 10-year plan which expired in 2009.

Mrs Osei said in order to facilitate the smooth implementation of its mandate, the EC had set for itself a number of objectives, including ensuring that elections were delivered and managed transparently and ethically.

She said the Commission, in pursuance of the set objectives, would develop and maintain a relationship of trust and credibility with the citizens, political parties, all state institutions and all stakeholders, as well as ensure that the EC was operated efficiently and effectively to world-class standards.

“In doing this, we set five strategic pillars we will be working around — develop all stakeholder relationships, focus on our electoral mandate, engage our internal stakeholders, organise processes better for delivery and leverage on our resources,” she said.

The Ghanaian Times said in its story under the headline, “EC says election will be very credible and acceptable to parties” that Mrs Osei had given the assurance that the Commission would put effective measures in place to ensure that official election results were not overturned.

“The Commission will do its best to ensure that the election results are not overturned and the results will be accepted as a true reflection of the electoral process,” she said.

Mrs Osei said she was confident that the Commission would deliver on its mandate to prevent any controversy, despite acknowledging that there were legal processes which aggrieved parties could use to overturn results.

She said the EC was determined to deliver the most independent and trusted electioneering system ahead of the November polls.
-0- PANA MA 30April2016

30 april 2016 05:37:17

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