Ghana: Media highlight beauty queen running-mate, arguments on e-transmission of election results

Accra, Ghana (PANA) – The unveiling of a former beauty queen as running mate of a small centre-left party, Progressive People’s Party (PPP), and loud arguments by the two main political parties about electronic transmission of results of the 2016 general elections were some of the main stories reported this week.

The founder and presidential candidate of PPP, Dr Kwesi Nduom, surprised political pundits when he named Ms Brigitte Dzogbenuku, Miss Ghana 1991, as his running mate. This is the second time he has chosen a woman as running mate having contested the 2012 election with Ms Eva Lokko.

Nduom, a businessman and politician, got only 0.50% of the votes in 2012, coming a distant third in that election, which was won in the first round by President John Dramani with 50.7% while Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was second with 47.74%.

Nduom split from the Convention People’s Party (CPP), on whose ticket he contested the 2008 election, to form the PPP. He also came third in 2008 with 1.32%.

The state-owned Graphic, reporting the story under the headline, “Reject NDC, NPP - PPP running mate tells voters” said the PPP on Thursday unveiled a 47-year-old women’s advocate, Ms Dzogbenuku, as the running mate of Dr Nduom.

It quoted her as declaring that it was time to reject both the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).

“We have tried both the NDC and the NPP...Today we are caught between a rock and a hard place, between the devil and the deep blue sea. Is it our choice to remain swinging between these two self-interest parties, and getting the same ‘backward’ results?’’ she asked.

Ms Dzogbenuku said that PPP represented a change from the failures of previous governments.

The two main parties – NDC and NPP – during the week had a loud argument about the electronic transmission of results of the 2016 general elections.

The arguments started when NPP campaign manager Peter Mac Manu, was quoted as accusing the Electoral Commission (EC) of taking a decision on the matter without consulting the political parties, a statement that was promptly denied by the elections body.

The EC, in a statement, said the decision to put in place an electronic results transmission system (ERTS) for the 2016 elections scheduled for 7 December was not taken unilaterally by the Commission.

The EC said it “was part of the several reform proposals made by the Electoral Reform Committee which was set up by the Commission after the 2013 Supreme Court judgment on the Presidential Election Petition”. Members of the committee included the party's former general secretary, Mr Kwabena Agyepong.

The state-owned Ghanaian Times, in a story under the headline, “NDC chastises NPP over e-transmission of results” said the ruling party expressed shock about the decision of the NPP to kick against the electronic transmission of results, stressing that it was the NPP that mooted the idea.

The NDC said the NPP in its proposal for electoral reforms titled, “Towards Reforming Ghana’s Future Elections,” suggested that the Electoral Commission should adopt the use of satellite transmission of results to the EC headquarters.

NDC’s General Secretary  Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, at a press conference condemned the NPP for its “penchant to dissociate itself from decisions taken at the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meetings”.

He said all the reforms to the country’s electoral system had been agreed through IPAC, which was established in 1994. These include replacement of opaque ballot boxes with transparent ones and the use of biometric register with the verification device.

“It is against this background that the NDC views the ambivalent positions taken by the NPP with a lot of concern,” Asiedu Nketiah said, stressing that the “… posturing of the NPP has the potential of subverting Ghana’s peaceful march towards a free, fair and transparent election in December this year.”

The Ghanaian Times said the NDC chastised the NPP on a number of issues including the decision to vote against the agreement to move date of general elections to November. The NDC said the NPP also made unsubstantiated claims that there were names of foreigners on the voters’ register while the NPP running mate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, alleged that registration kits were smuggled from the Volta Region to Togo for foreigners to register.

“We’re surprised at NPP’s U-turn — NDC” was the headline of the Graphic on the subject. It reported that the NDC condemned the NPP for its sudden decision to oppose the EC’s proposed Electronic Results Transmission System (ERTS) after the parties had agreed to the use of the system.

The NDC expressed “surprise at the NPP’s U-turn” and wondered why the party would seek to undermine a decision taken collectively.

The Graphic said Asiedu Nketia accused the NPP of either trying to mislead Ghanaians or “does not know what it is about”, adding that the leadership of the party acted in bad faith by criticising the system.

“There are some parties who feed on the ignorance of the masses and always seek to keep the masses ignorant, so that they can continue to influence them,” Asiedu Nketia said.

But the NPP hit back with its Acting General Secretary, John Boadu, being quoted by the Ghanaian Times as saying: “What the EC plans now, electronic transmission of the results from the polling stations, is radically different from what was proposed by the Electoral Reforms Committee and agreed upon with the political parties and other stakeholders and the EC.”
-0- PANA MA/AR 6Aug2016

06 august 2016 08:45:59

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