Ghana: Political stories dominate Ghanaian media

Accra, Ghana (PANA) – As Ghana’s 7 December presidential and parliamentary elections draw close, the media have been awash with political stories as politicians canvas for support.

They have especially highlighted legal challenges by most of the 13 presidential aspirants who have been disqualified by the Electoral Commission (EC) for not completing their forms properly and various calls for a peaceful vote.

The state-owned Graphic newspaper, in a story with the headline, “Don’t declare results -- Catholic Bishops advise media, political parties”, reported that the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC) had advised all political parties, the media and the public to refrain from announcing any results of the elections before they were declared by the EC.

According to the Catholic Bishops, it was only the EC that was empowered to announce the results of the election.

The Bishops further urged Ghanaians to continue to repose their trust and confidence in the work of the EC throughout the period of the election and called for the provision of the necessary logistics for the commission to deliver on its mandate of ensuring peaceful, free, fair, transparent and credible polls.

The Graphic, reporting on the legal battles by some of the disqualified presidential candidates, said in a story under the headline, “Legal battle between PPP, EC begins”, that the legal tussle over the disqualification of the presidential aspirant of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom, would be heard by the Accra High Court on 25 October.

It said the court, presided over by Mr Justice Eric Kyei-Baffour, fixed the date on Thursday after the EC and PPP appeared before him. The court would also fix the date for a ruling on the matter on the same day. The two parties are, therefore, expected to make their oral submissions on the said date.

The judge said there was the need to ensure that preparations by the EC towards the elections were “not needlessly stultified by the court proceedings”.

The Graphic reported that the EC had said it was waiting until all issues regarding the qualification of presidential aspirants had been clarified before publishing the notice of polls.

It explained that although the Commission should have been working on the notice of polls by now, it was just reasonable for it to hold on until all those issues that had arisen from the qualification process had been clarified to ensure that the exercise was done once to save cost.

On Thursday, political parties contesting the parliamentary election balloted for positions on the ballot papers.

Meanwhile, the Graphic also reported that President John Dramani Mahama has again thrown a challenge to the main opposition candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), for a debate.

“Mahama challenges Akufo-Addo to debate again; But NPP says it's rhetoric,” was the headline of the story which said President Mahama first threw the challenge in March 2016 when he said on television that “I'm willing, even this afternoon, if Nana presented himself, to take him on all those contentious statements that he’s made.”

President Mahama said in a radio interview on Thursday that he was still waiting for Nana Akufo-Addo to meet him head on in a debate.

“When I threw the first challenge I threw it because a lot of misinformation was being thrown all over the place and Nana Akufo-Addo and his running mate continue to misinform the Ghanaian public and that is why I said that let’s have a one-on-one debate.

“If we have a one-on-one debate we will have our statistics and our figures and Ghanaians will be able to see who’s telling the truth and who’s not telling the truth,” he said.

“They say the economy is in crisis; if we have a debate, you will show why you think the economy is in crisis. The documents are all there. The statistics are there. And so I believe that Ghanaians deserve a debate between myself and Nana Akufo-Addo and I hope that they will respond and rise to the occasion,” President Mahama added.

But in a response, the spokesperson for Nana Akufo-Addo, Mustapha Hamid, described the President’s challenge as hypocritical and an insincere rhetoric.

According to him, President Mahama had shied away from a presidential debate being organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).

“The IEA is the accepted institution that has been organising debates over the years. The IEA said that they had a timetable for presidential debates; he (President Mahama) said that he was not interested in that so at what point did he suddenly realise that debates are important?” Hamid questioned.

In another development, the UK-based Economic Intelligence Unit has predicted that main opposition candidate Nana Akufo-Addo and his party would win the elections. The NDC says it takes the prediction seriously and it gives them the energy to work hard for victory.
-0- PANA MA/VAO 22Oct2016

22 october 2016 05:52:59

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