Ghana: Politics continues to dominate Ghana media

Accra, Ghana (PANA) – Politics continued to dominate the front pages of the newspapers in Ghana and for the second week running, with the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) once again making the headlines for different reasons.

While the NDC was celebrating the "successful" holding of primaries to elect their parliamentary candidates and endorse President John Dramani Mahama as its flagbearer with an overwhelming 95.1% of the votes of registered members, the NPP was hit by an invasion of its headquarters in Accra by some of its aggrieved supporters over its internal turmoil that has peaked with the suspension of the national chairman, Paul Afoko.

The state-owned Ghanaian Times newspaper, reporting on Monday under the headline “NDC decides: President Mahama gets 95 per cent endorsement”, said President Mahama was on Sunday night outdoored as the presidential candidate of the NDC for the 2016 general elections.

President Mahama was the sole candidate, but by the party’s constitution, he had to be endorsed by majority of registered members to be the presidential candidate.

He polled 95.10 per cent of the votes from 265 out of 275 constituencies declared on Sunday night.

In his acceptance speech, he said: “I feel deeply honoured for the endorsement and thank you for the confidence reposed in me as the candidate for the presidential election.”

He also thanked parliamentary aspirants and asked that all the challenges that were associated with the elections be put aside because "it is a big family contest".

The state-owned Graphic had the headline “President Mahama receives overwhelming endorsement” with the story saying President Mahama was endorsed to lead the ruling NDC in the 2016 general elections.

Mr Mahama is seeking a second term, having won the 2012 presidential elections. He was elevated from the position of Vice President after the death of President John Mills in July 2012, just before elections in December 2012.

In a speech moments after the endorsement was announced he said as a leader of the party not all members would agree with his style of governance and decisions, yet he believed they had the same objectives and needed to work together to achieve their shared dreams.

The media also reported that at the primaries, the dreams of some 25 incumbent NDC MPs to continue in Parliament beyond 2016 were truncated when they lost.

The primaries were generally peaceful, except for some pockets of disagreement and the postponement of the exercise in 14 constituencies.

On the raid at the NPP headquarters, the Ghanaian Times, in a story under the headline “12 arrested for raiding NPP head office” said 12 people had been arrested in connection with the raid on the NPP headquarters in Accra.

It quoted the police as saying witnesses had also been called upon to assist in investigations. An ex-soldier said he organised the raid saying they wanted to engage the party hierarchy on the internal turmoil that was dimming their chances of victory in next year's elections.

The pro-opposition Daily Guide newspaper said in its story under the headline, “’Soldiers’ raid NPP offices” that the National Headquarters of the NPP at Asylum Down and Kokomlemle annex offices, both in Accra, on Monday suffered simultaneous raids by military olive-green-clad men who made away with documents and computer hardware.

“By the time they were done with their mission, the party was saddled with burgled offices, with everything turned upside down,” the newspaper said, adding that the party believed the operation was coordinated by the National Security apparatus with the support of fifth columnists in the party.

The Graphic reported in a story under the headline, “Paul Afoko damns developments in NPP” that the estranged NPP chairman, Paul Afoko, had condemned as "distasteful", two incidents that hit the party on Sunday night.

A statement issued by Nana Yaw Osei, his spokesperson, said, “Mr. Afoko condemns in no uncertain terms these incidents and describes same as dents on the party's image.”

It said there has been a raid on the party headquarters by suspected security operatives, while the party’s aspiring parliamentary candidate for Klottey Korley constituency in Accra, Nii Noi Nortey, was also said to have been burgled.

The statement quoted Mr Afoko as saying “Reports of weapons having been found at the party headquarters is even more worrying.”

“Raiders of NPP HQ charged,” was another story in the Graphic, which reported that the 11 people who allegedly broke into the offices of the NPP in a dawn raid have been granted bail by the Accra Circuit Court.

The 11, including a woman, pleaded not guilty to charges of unlawful entry, unlawful purpose on private premises and causing unlawful damage to the tune of GH¢28,000. They were each granted a GH¢10,000 bail, with two sureties. (US$1=3.8 Ghana cedis)

Meanwhile, the NPP decided to wear red and black on Friday to register their protest over the raid and held a press conference at which it claimed that its own investigation had revealed that the raid was sponsored by the state.

Acting national chairman, Freddie Blay, said: “The NPP is in no doubt that the attack on our offices was conducted by the State, specifically, using certain rogue elements within the National Security set up."

“Desperate to hang on to power in spite of its abysmal performance, the (President John) Mahama administration, according to a preponderance of information we have, has therefore put aside a huge budget and a crack team, supported by elements in the National Security set-up, to make the job of attempting to damage the NPP a top priority," Blay said.

The Ghana Police Service and Ghana Armed Forces have dismissed the claims of the NPP.

The Graphic had the headline "NPP blames govt for attack on its Hq" while the Ghanaian Times also said "NPP blames Govt for raid on head office."

The government in a swift reaction on Friday signed by the Minister of Communications, Dr Edward Omane Boamah, described the claims as "a wicked and malicious falsehood peddled by the New Patriotic Party".

He said: "For the avoidance of doubt, Government wishes to place on record that this claim is a deliberate fabrication by the New Patriotic Party, calculated at shifting blame for the horrendous leadership it has had leading to its rapid descent into chaos, violence, lawlessness, brutal killings and total confusion over the last year or so.

"We are aware that the NPP routinely dabbles in anti-government propaganda of the most undesirable kind, but this latest falsehood against government marks a new low in the party’s resort to outright untruths to pursue its objectives. As it is to be expected, they have once again failed to provide a scintilla of evidence to back these noisy claims."
-0- PANA MA 28No2015

28 november 2015 08:37:08

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