Monday, December 29, 2008


Nana Obiri Boahen, the Minister of State of the Ministry of Interior, says it is in the interest of the government to oversee a smooth transition and hand over power to the next government.
Reiterating comments by government officials lately, he said the government was committed to handing over power to the party that wins the December 7, election without any hitches.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic at a Specialisation course on Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) in Accra today, Nana Obiri Boahen said it was in the interest of the government to do so and for the consolidation of democracy in the country.
However, he was of the view that all Ghanaians had a role to play in engaging in peaceful dialogue and actions to ensure that a peaceful transition was assured.
Nana Obiri Boahen was the keynote speaker at the International Training Programme on Peacebuilding and Good Governance for African Civilian Personnel under which the Specialisation course on DDR is being organised.
The training programme is a joint effort of the Legon Centre for International Affairs (LECIA), the International Training Programme for Conflict Management of the SantAnna School of Advanced Studies in Italy, the Italian government and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
It brings together six female and 14 male-participants from Ghana, Cameroon, Togo, Congo, Sudan, Nigeria, Liberia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Burundi and Sierra Leone.
Participants will be taken through processes of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration in post conflict areas in the region.
Addressing participants and guests, Nana Obiri Boahen, emphasised the need for nations to initiate excellent peace building programmes through good governance to ensure the eradication of poverty and the provision of equal opportunities for all citizens.
In situations of armed conflicts, however, there was the need to equip people to deal with the unexpected, he added.
He endorsed DDR as critical steps of a peace process that required well equipped people with the appropriate technical expertise, experience and knowledge to implement.
Nana Obiri Boahen, said women had a special relationship with DDR processes because as holders of knowledge of communities, members of communities that receive demobilised combatants and as former combatants themselves, they possessed particular insights and skills relevant in the process.
He said women were often engaged in grassroots disarmament before official DDR processes begun.
He suggested the that DDR programmes should not only focus on the social integration but also deal adequately with the phychosocial needs of ex-combatants.
In his remarks, the Italian Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Fabrizio De Agostini, expressed his appreciation over the fact that international consensus to strengthen the capacity of Africa in peace and security efforts were bearing fruits.
He said a concept paper prepared by the SantAnna School of Advanced Studies on improving African peace and security architecture and identifying accountable and predictable financial resources for peace operations in Africa, had been accepted by the African Union Peace and Security Council as well as the European Union (EU) Political and Security Committee.
What was now needed, he said, was a greater political and financial commitment by African states, with a greater capacity of the African Union Commission to plan and run the operations to fully absorb in a transparent way financial resources put at their disposal by donors.
The Director of the International Training Programme on Conflict Management, Prof Andrea de Guttry, in his submissions said reintegration efforts were only successful in situations were there was economic growth.
He told participants that it was important to evaluate each situation and be flexible and creative in using their capacities in areas they were deployed.
A Research Fellow of the LECIA, Dr Yao Gebe, said because of the international commitments of countries, such programmes were important, to promote peace and security in areas of conflict.


The President of the Methodist Conference, Most Rev. Dr Robert K. Aboagye-Mensah, has made an appeal to the government and policy makers in the forestry sector to prevent the mining of mineral resources in forest reserves.
He said the government and policy makers should not be complicit with others interested in destroying the forest of the country for mineral resources.
In his address as the guest speaker at the 10 anniversary celebrations of the Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM), Rev Dr Aboagye-Mensah, who is also the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Ghana, also charged the government to work out in detail the benefits of gold in relation with the growing of food crops to help in decision to use land in surface mining in parts of the country.
He said evidence suggested that people living in areas where surface mining for gold occurred sometimes did not have basic foodstuffs to consume.
Rev Dr Aboagye-Mensah said the impact of the recent food crisis was not really felt in Ghana because of the availability of local food stuffs, such as, cocoa yam, yam and plantain.
In his view, the unchecked and uncontrolled extraction of mineral resources and its resultant effects of depleting land cover would lead to the total loss of indigenous foodstuffs.
Rev Dr Aboagye-Mensah said his belief in protecting the environment stemmed from his belief in God as creator of the environment, a great resource that God the Creator had committed to men and women to manage well.
He said as good stewards, any use of mineral resources in the land had to be undertaken sustainably to benefit all and the environment itself, as well as future generations.
“African cultural values enjoins us to think about children yet unborn in all actions, yet policies do not take this into consideration,” he pointed out.
He commended WACAM and said they were a voice for the voiceless and charged them to discharge all actions, duties and responsibilities with the interest of others and the country first.
The Executive Director of WACAM, Mr Daniel Owusu-Koranteng, in his address, undertook a review of the activities of WACAM and raised certain issues of importance in the sector that needed to be redressed.
He said the activities of WACAM for the past ten years had increased awareness of mining issues in the sector, helped in building the capacity of some people living in mining communities to become advocates locally and internationally and helped in policy directives that benefited people living in mining communities.
Mr Owusu-Korangteng said the country did not have “No Go Zones” in the mining sector a situation that made it possible for any mining company to mine even the Akosombo Dam if gold or other mineral resources were thought to be buried beneath it.
The mining of railway lines, cemeteries, sacred sites, churches, mosques, rivers, forest reserves and other such sites, smacked or a recklessness on the part of the government and called on it to declare forest reserves and other strategic areas as “No Go Zones” for Mining.
Prof Atta Britum of the University of Cape Coast chaired the function, while solidarity messages were read by representatives of the WACAM students’ wing, Third World Network (TWN), Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL) and other partners of WACAM.


TWO members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have criticised the performance of Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom at the presidential debate held last Wednesday.
Alhaji M.N. D. Jawula said Dr Nduom’s claims of making the salaries and pensions of civil servants better were not feasible because he had tried it as Minister of Public Sector Reforms and failed.
Mr Gabby Otchere Darko, the Executive Director of the Danquah Institute, on the other hand said Dr Nduom’s responses at the presidential debate were “populist” in comparison with the substance presented by Nana Akufo-Addo, the presidential candidate of the NPP.
The two said these at a forum organised by the Publications Committee of the Commonwealth Hall of the University of Ghana, Legon and the Society for National Affairs (SoNA), dubbed the "Positive Agenda Forum".
Alhaji Jawula said Dr Nduom had tried to consolidate salaries during his term as Minister for Public Sector Reform in order to improve upon the salaries of low-income earners and also improve pensions when they retired but he had failed in that venture.
He told the students that he had been a civil servant and had had first-hand experience of the reforms that Dr Nduom had tried to institute but these had not resulted in anything positive.
“When a frog comes out of the river to tell you that there is a crocodile in there, you’ve got to believe him”, Alhaji Jawula said.
He said he had cause to confront Dr Nduom on the apparent failure of the reforms he claimed to be instituting in the public service.
He urged the students that voting for any other party apart from the NPP would make the country retrogress.
For Mr Otchere-Darko, Dr Nduom’s submissions at the debate was populist in comparison with the intelligent and eloquent submissions of Nana Akufo-Addo.
He said it was not practicable for the dead to receive their pension on the day they died, as Dr Nduom claimed at the debate and got away with.
It was more useful, he said, for people to rather have their pensions while living than when dead.
Mr Otchere-Darko further criticised the flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Professor Atta Mills and his tenure at the Internal Revenue Service, (IRS) saying he did not make any successful contributions there to the tax revenue of the country.
He told students that in comparison with the 19-year tenure of the NDC, the NPP had more than delivered on its promise of positive change in its eight year tenure.
Other speakers at the forum were Mrs Akosua Frema-Opare, Mr Kennedy Agyepong, the MPs for Ayawaso West Wuogon and Assin North respectively, as well as Serwaa Safoa, a member of the NPP, and Mrs Samira Bawumia, the wife of the NPP vice-presidential candidate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, who all urged the students to vote for them in other to secure the future they were striving for.


A member of the Presidential Electoral Reform Committee of Nigeria, Dr Jibrin Ibrahim, has lauded Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC) and electoral processes, pointing out that all the elements to facilitate free and elections anywhere are in place in Ghana.
He therefore advised the EC not to panic, but remain calm and watchful in the last lap to the election day, while charging citizens to be vigilant, since “citizens’ vigilance guarantees free and fair elections.”
Dr Ibrahim, who is the Executive Director of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in Abuja, told the Daily Graphic in an interview that in his work he had examined closely Ghana’s electoral system and found that there was no need for any major reviews of any kind.
This, he said, was because a lot of things that were being considered to be introduced in Nigeria were things already being done in Ghana.
He said fourteen months of reviewing Nigeria’s Electoral system and processes had brought to the fore some concerns of Nigerians.
Some of the concerns were the commission of massive electoral fraud, the fact that no one was punished for the fraud and the fact that those who perpetrated the fraud got into government.
Dr Ibrahim said the committee made propositions to address those concerns, some of which included having a system in which people would be sanctioned for electoral fraud and a system that would ensure that those who perpetrated electoral fraud did not get into government or otherwise benefit from their action.
Prior to the interview, Dr Ibrahim spoke at a Citizen’s Public Forum on “Disputed Elections and Their Consequences in Kenya and Nigeria: Lessons for Ghana,” organised by the Centre for Democratic Governance as part of its Election Issues Platform 2008 programme.
Other speakers were Dr Grace Wamue, a lecturer of the Kenyatta University in Kenya, and Dr Kwesi Aning, Head, Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC).
Dr Wamue, in her presentation, explained how the societal encouragement of gangs and armed groups in Kenya and the politicisation of security agencies prior to the election all contributed to the violence after the election in that country.
She asked politicians to see political power as service and not an opportunity to amass public wealth.
Dr Aning, for his part, said Ghanaians could have successful elections if they were bold enough to challenge lapses in the system.
The Chairman at the function, Mr Kofi Bentum Quantson, advised civil society organisations to remain active and vigilant.
He also called on members of the Council of State, traditional and religious authorities as well as the leadership of associations and groups like the Ghana Bar Association to consistently let their voices be heard on national issues that could threaten social cohesion.


Speakers at an election forum have said ordinary Ghanaian citizens will hold the key to the credibility of the elections on December 7, 2008.
They said the involvement of citizens in the electoral processes, their active participation in ensuring that all parties played by the rules would guarantee the success of the elections next week.
The Citizens’ Public Forum was organised by the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG) in collaboration with the Royal Netherlands Embassy and Joy FM on the topic “Disputed Elections and thier Consequencies in Kenya and Nigeria: Lessons for Ghana.”
The Director of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Abuja, Nigeria, Dr Jibrin Ibrahim, a lecturer at the Department of Gender and Development at the Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya, Dr Grace Wamue and the Head of Conflict Prevention, Managment & Resolution of the Kofi Anan International Peacekeeping and Training Centre (KAIPTC), Dr Kwesi Aning all showed how citizens could successfully enhance or mar the electoral process.
Dr Ibrahim, who is also a member of President Umaru Yar'Adua’s Electoral Reform Committee set up last year, was of the view that Ghana’s electoral processes and systems had all the elements necesary for a free and fair election.
His reason was that Ghanaians had a high level of civic conciousness, the Electoral Commmission (EC) was non-partisan and independent, there was an established “state of the art” election rules and procedures, that included the use of tranparent ballot boxes and photo identification cards and the country had polished up the technicalities and knowledge of election administeration, management and organsation.
In comparison, Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was partisan and had for the past nine years, endeavoured mar elections in Nigeria.
Dr Ibrahim recounted several instances where Nigerians had been provoked by INEC by their inaction or action.
For instance, while the law mandated a continous registration exercise, INEC failed to do that and only did that at the last moment in 2003 resulting in a register that was “very, very incomplete.”
Dr Ibrahim said in the face of such provocation, the citizens of Nigeria acted in accordance with their commitment to democratic values.
He, therefore, prescribed the same attitude for Ghanaians, asking all to be resolute in their commitment to democratic values, active participants in the electoral system and process and vigilant observers to ensure the right things were done particularly when state institutions charged with that responisbility were not living up to it.
Dr Wamue, introduced her presentation with a some images of the mayhem in Kenya in the aftermath of the December 2007 elections.
She said the power of the presidency in Kenya with widely held sentiments of patronage if a president came from one’s tribe or ethnicity and the partisan stance of security agencies were all factors in the mayhem.
The institutionalisation of violence over time in Kenya through the encouragement of militias and gangs and the steroetyping of people of different ethnic backgrounds was also listed as causative factors.
Dr Wamue said for all the main political figures vying for power winning in the election was sure, and their sentiments were encouraged by opinion polls.
The media also played a great role in propagating hate speech and heightening tension, a situation also evident in religious circles.
Dr Wamue said politicians had to realise that attaining political power was attainining the mantle of service and not an opportunity to public wealth, while the media had to be circumspect in their reporting with the realisaton that the country came first rather than profit margins.
Dr Aning in his presentation linked some factors prior to the disputed elections in the two countries with some current trends in the country.
He said the existence of “macho men,” and “land guards,” that most Ghanaians resorted to for the protection of their lives and property was an outrage.
He said the loss of credibility in the police in some areas, resulting in the creation of groups like “the Azuka Boys” and the “khandaha boys,” were things that needed to be challenged.
Dr Aning called for a culture of continous criticism on lapses in democratic institutions and systems to ensure a truly democratic state.
A former National Security Coordinator, Mr Kofi Bentum Quantson, who chaired the function said the seeds of disputed elections were sown long before the actual election.
He said it was time for a comprehensive rethinking of wide range of issues with the potential of social and political tension.


The Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) Ghana and the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO), say there are disturbing developments and concerns that should be taken seriously by all stakeholders to avert actual violence on Election Day.
In a study conducted from October 5 to 21, 2008, by the two organisations said reported activities by some groups threatened to erupt into violence if not addressed.
The study was undertaken in selected constituencies identified as potential violence prone areas by twenty-five (25) election-related violence observers.
The report said physically well built men, known in Ghanaian parlance as “macho men,” in and around the Fadama area, were being trained to disrupt the December 7 elections at some designated polling stations in the constituency.
Also the growing tension between the Kusasis and the Mamprusis in the Bawku area was said to be “a potential power keg waiting to explode.”
“The conflict is assuming political coloration, with the two factions aligning themselves with the two main political parties in the area, NDC and NPP,” the report said.
It said the formation of numerous youth groups by politicians in the Tamale metropolis was a serious threat to the fragile peace in the area.
The Binaba and Zebilla constituencies were gaining notoriety for their penchant for violence with the Konkomba – Bimoba conflict at Yunyoo in the Bunkpurgu-Yunyoo constituency also assuming political dimension, thus increasing the level of tension in the area.
The report said there was growing level of impunity in the Tamale metropolis, with the police service proving incapable of enforcing law and order, while reports of minors registered at a polling station in Oforikrom constituency, known as ‘Dagomba line’, could be a source of violence on polling day in the constituency.
Other issues also raised in the report were that the Central Region had the highest incidents of election related violence, in the period under study, while the growing culture of impunity posed a threat to the security of the Tamale metropolis with the loss of confidence and trust in the security service.
The report said the Central Region recorded the highest incidents of election-related violence with the use of “keep fit” clubs for political violence “a dangerous phenomenon,” in the country’s democratic experience.
The Bawku Central Constituency was found not to be “ready for big political activities,” as there was still an uneasy calm, with any major political likely to erupt into conflict.
In urban areas in cities monitored, migrant communities populated by people from conflict zones in the country, were increasingly becoming political ‘hot spots,’ while the NDC and NPP were the most likely culprits in election-related violence during the period under study.
Meanwhile the Minister of State of the Interior, Nana Obiri Boahen, has said the mere suspicion that an individual or a group of individuals have been mentioned as having armed themselves or were intending to cause mayhem, was not sufficient cause for action in law.
He said in law there had to be reasonable suspicion before any action could be taken.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic, Nana Obiri Boahen, however said that even if a reputable organisation like the CDD had researched and found evidence of that, it did not have to play to the public gallery but had to engage the police with the information.
He said the onus was on all civil society organisations to engage and corporate with security agencies on evidence they find of people arming or engaging in riotous acts, and that would be reasonable cause for the security agencies to act.
However, a Governance and Legal Policy Officer of the CDD, Mr Kojo Asante said the CDD/CODEO on the release of the report engage various stakeholders, including the police at various fora on the issues raised in the report.
In a related development, the Executive Director of the West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP) Mr Emmanuel Bombande, has stated that the Ghana Police Service has not been able to exhibit an efficient level of professionalism in the course of their work during the electioneering period.
He said the police had sometimes discharged their duties with politically coloured judgements.
For instance Mr Bombande said if the Police arrested people who had flaunted the law and some politicians impressed upon them to release them, then that would have been cause for Ghanaians to complain of governmental or political interference in their work.
However, the police, he said, were sometimes clearly in the know about the activities of some people in communities who were flaunting the law and disturbing the peace and had not acted.
He said when they acted and arrested these people, they later released them to walk freely in the communities.
On the part of civil society organisation, Mr Bombande said, they had engaged the police extensively on individuals and groups mobilising to cause mayhem and situations with the potential to erupt into violence.
He said WANEP with the Media Foundation for West Africa (MfWA) and the Foundation for Security and Development were currently training peace volunteers and representatives of key parties.
The aim of that was to build confidence in the communities in Tamale and surrounding areas for people to understand the shared responsibility in securing the peace.


Leading members of the clergy in the country have expressed wishes of goodwill for the Christmas and hope for a peaceful presidential run-off on Sunday.
Christmas, the world-wide celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, will be marked tomorrow and on that occasion some religious leaders in the country have expressed their goodwill wishes, saying that they hope that Ghanaians will put up a more exemplary performance during the run-off.
The General Secretary of the Ghana Pentecostal Council (GPC), Apostle Ekow Badu Wood, expressed the hope that Ghanaians would have a good Christmas and the best of progress in the years ahead.
He said Sunday’s run-off, and the fact that this year’s Christmas festivities seemed to be on a low key because of that, showed the importance Ghanaians placed on the election of a leader for the country.
Apostle Wood, therefore, charged politicians to render “a gift of a clean campaign to Ghanaians”, particularly in the Christmas season.
He added that since the country had performed creditably in the December 7 elections, it was important for all to do much better during the run-off.
The Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra and Vice-President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference, the Most Rev Gabriel Charles Palmer-Buckle, in his message, a copy of which was sent to the Daily Graphic, said as the country prepared for “Christmas under the cloud of the impending presidential run-off”, John 14:27 was the summation of God’s message for Ghanaians: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
He said that had to be the guiding principle for all Ghanaians during the week in which we celebrated Christmas and prepared for the run-off.
“The fervent prayer of all your bishops, as announced in the last pastoral letter, is that this call to the polls be once again conducted very peacefully and in an atmosphere that is free, fair and honest,” his message read.
The Most Rev Palmer-Buckle said the principles Christ taught of service, forbearance, forgiveness, empathy for the poor, sacrificial love and peace had to be borne in mind at Christmas.
Those principles, his message added, showed that all Ghanaians, irrespective of tribal origin or political affiliation, were children of God and brothers and sisters.
He, therefore, encouraged all Christians not to be anxious but rather pray for God and Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, “to give us that peace which the world cannot give; yes, neither the world of tribal politics nor of partisan political polarisation can give us any peace. Let us work for the true peace that is always ready to forgive, ready to serve, ready to share, ready to unite and ready to sacrifice for the good of the other and ready even to die for others as Jesus did in the Holy Bible”.
He proposed a prayer for the Christmas and the period before the presidential run-off.
“Let our prayer be: ‘O God Our Father, through the power of your Holy Spirit, give us peace according to the heart of your Son Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace whose birth we celebrate at Christmas. Help us to celebrate this Christmas and the coming presidential run-off in your peace, that peace which surpasses all understanding, that peace which is grounded in love of neighbour and selfless service of nation’,” he added.
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, the Rt Rev Dr Yaw Frimpong-Manso, in his message, reflected on the goodness of God to the nation that had resulted in several achievements and the projection of the country in the limelight of excellence the world over.
On the December 7 general election, he said the cry of all Ghanaians through prayers, peace walks, discussions and appeals from opinion and religious leaders, children and other groups had resulted in “God's divine intervention” that ended in peaceful elections.
He said the standard set by Ghanaians in the December 7 elections should be repeated for a smooth and peaceful presidential run-off.
On Christmas, he said it was an extraordinary time for sharing, giving, peace, love and goodwill among all, as well as the season for celebration and renewal.
Reflecting on the theme, “Peace and Reconciliation for Development”, the Rt Rev Dr Frimpong-Manso said as the country entered the Christmas season and looked forward to a new year under a new government and Parliament, Ghanaians needed to dedicate themselves to the rule of God and allow His peace, justice and righteousness to prevail and increase in the country.
He reminded Christians that fellowship with God was key in attaining success, while the country's aim of becoming an oasis of peace and beacon of hope in West Africa would be attained faster if the acutely polarised society would give way to a liberalised one.
He, therefore, asked all to pursue all partisan agenda within a framework of national unity to engender peace and tolerance in the country.


THE Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFEP) has released an initial tranche of GH¢5 million to the Electoral Commission (EC) for the printing of ballot papers and other expenses for the December 28 presidential run-off.
The Director of Budget at MOFEP, Mr Kwabena Adjei-Mensah, who made this known, said the EC’s proposal for the run-off was submitted last week with the request for the immediate release of part of the amount for the acquisition of indelible ink, the printing of ballot papers and other operational costs.
In all, about GH¢11.5 million had been set aside for the exercise.
The second tranche of about GH¢6.5 million would be used for the payment of allowances of election staff during the run-off, and that was also ready and would be released when the EC was set, Mr Adjei-Mensah added.
The Director of Finance at the EC, Mr Isaac Kwame Boateng, when contacted, confirmed the release and said the EC was in the process of clearing the money for use.
Meanwhile, contract has been awarded for the supply of logistics that would be needed by the EC for the exercise.
Mr Boateng said despite the fact that the time was short, arrangements had been made with suppliers to fast-track the supply of materials.
The challenge, however, was the fact that the December 28 re-run was at a time of congestion due to backlog of air and port freight, resulting in high costs.
He gave the assurance that the EC could always have the resources it needed for a successful election.


The acting Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Ms Anna Bossman, has asked Ghanaians, particularly politicians, to maintain their cool even as the country heads for a run-off.
She said in trying times when who to lead the country was not clearly known the fortitude of political leaders to maintain peace and stability would be a sign of leadership.
Ms Bossman gave the advice in Accra yesterday during the commemoration of the international human rights day and the 60th year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in the world.
The occasion was used to present two reports, one on the State of Human Rights in the country and the other on the preliminary observations of the 2008 election by staff of CHRAJ, termed “Monitoring the Right to Vote.”
CHRAJ observed and monitored the elections in 900 polling stations in 137 constituencies carefully selected by an objective criteria developed by the Commission.
It concluded that the elections were free, fair and transparent.
CHRAJ commended the voters for the calm and orderliness in voting, party agents for their active and vigilant participation in the process, security personnel for demonstrating professionalism and the Electoral Commission for a free, fair and transparent process.
"But it is not over yet until the results are declared. To political parties and the general populace, this is the period during which all of us will be tested. This is the time when the mettle of each and everyone of the candidates will be tested. The mark of a true leader is how he responds in time of stress, difficulty and adversity," Ms Bossman said.
On the state of human rights, the country generally had made some strides in consolidating democracy but more work was needed in consolidating civil and political rights.
Specifically, advancing human rights, combating lawlessness and fostering civility among the general populace was mentioned as areas needing focus.
CHRAJ was also unhappy about commmunual violence between Kusasis and the Mamprusis in Bawku and asked all to “work earnestly towards peace in the Bawku community.”
The shooting of some residents in Ashaiman that led to the death of two persons, mob justice and the punishment of washing and handling corpse meted out to some commercial drivers at the 37 Military Hospital was highlighted in the report.
How the country fared with children’s rights, cultural rights, health and educational rights, the rights of people living in mining communities and corruption were also highlighted in the report.
The Resident UN Co-ordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Mr Dauoda Toure, who read a message on behalf of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, said the UDHR was drafted in the midst of utter destruction and destitution following the Second World War.
He said its adoption was a landmark and remained a core part of the identity of the UN to date.
The statement said the challenges being faced currently were similar to those being faced when the UNDR was declared.
It was, therefore imperative for all to act collectively to uphold the rights.
Ms Afua Ansre of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) in her statement underscored the need for more to be done in ensuring dignity and justice for all.
The Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr Richard Quayson, in his welcoming remarks said the country still needed to strive to sensitise all to "learn, promote and claim" the UDHR for themselves and others.


HE Ghana Road Transport Co-ordinating Council (GRTCC) has reduced transport fares by an average of 10 per cent for long distance journeys and 5Gp for “trotro” vehicles that ply short distances.
“Trotro” vehicles on short journeys, such as, from Adenta to Madina or Kaneshie to Circle, that charge 15 GP or 20 GP will not realise any discount.
However, fares of 25 GP and above for distances like Adenta to Accra and Accra to Kaneshie have all been reduced by 5Gp, which is about a 20 per cent reduction in some cases.
For taxi services, kilometres run by the taxi is used in the determination of the fare and, in effect, the current reduction.
Most taxi drivers have been encouraged to reduce their fares by 50Gp, however, the Chairman of the GRTCC, Mr Matthew Hayford, who disclosed this to the Daily Graphic, said for taxi drivers, the competition they faced with other commercial vehicles, such as, the “trotros” had compelled them to generally keep their fares low.
He said taxi drivers, in previous reduction exercises, were already charging fares lower than those announced, and they had thus not adjusted their fares.
However, they were being encouraged to reduce their fares, despite the fact that they still had low fares.
Mr Hayford said although the specific details of the reduction in fares would be out by the close of day and disseminated to all their constituents in the regions, deliberations on the issue was concluded with general consensus by most members of the GRTCC on Friday.
Based on the general consultation, some communication had been provided to get the message of the reduction in fares to drivers nation-wide.
Mr Hayford said his monitoring had shown compliance with the directive, although he had received complaints from Takoradi and Kumasi about some drivers who were adamant.
He said these challenges were being addressed to ensure that commuters enjoyed the benefits of the reduction in fuel prices.


The National Labour Commission (NLC), has directed the Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB), to place its Head of Corporate Banking, Mr Francis Chilly Agbeibor, on a grade of General Manager with retrospective effect from April 26, 2004.
The decision follows a ruling on a petition by the Union of Industry, Commerce and Finance Workers (UNICOF) for the NLC to decide whether Mr Agbeibor had to remain on a lower grade assigned him by the management of the GCB or the grade he applied for in an internal advertisement.
The facts are that the GCB on December 12, 2003, posted an internal advertisement for the position of Head, Corporate Banking Division, which corresponded to the grade of general manager.
The petitioner, Mr Agbeibor, applied, was called for an interview and selected for the appointment.
His appointment letter of April 26, 2004, however, placed him on a lower grade of senior manager, instead of the advertised grade of general manager.
He, however, had similar job descriptions as those of a general manager.
Mr Agbeibor accepted the appointment but appealed twice to the Board of Directors of the bank to consider placing him on the grade of general manager, but the appeal was turned down.
Meanwhile, his appointment was confirmed on February 10, 2005, but was to take effect from May 17, 2004, that is, at the beginning of his six months probation period.
The petitioner then petitioned the Standing Negotiating Committee (SNC), of the GCB on July 14, 2006, which was unable to make any headway with the case.
Prior to that, the bank had posted another internal advertisement for the post of General Manager, Corporate Banking Division on March 1, 2006.
UNICOF, the umbrella organisation of the Professional Managerial Staff Union (PMSU) of the GCB of which Mr Agbeibor is a member, petitioned the NLC on the matter.
It sought that its member, Mr Agbeibor be appointed to the grade of General Manager, Corporate Banking Division with retrospective effect from May 24, 2004.
The NLC, realising that the parties had exhausted the negotiation process in settling the dispute, offered the parties the opportunity to resolve their differences through mediation, but that also failed.
The mater was referred for voluntary arbitration, which was consented to by UNICOF but not the GCB.
Consequently, the NLC, in accordance with section 138 of the Labour Law, held separate meetings with the disputing parties to establish common grounds for the resolution of the dispute.
It resulted in the management of the GCB offering to appoint Mr Agbeibor as the Head of the GCB Training School with the Grade of Deputy Chief Manager, as a compromise, but that was rejected by UNICOF, insisting on a definitive ruling on its petition.
The NLC, therefore, ruled on the matter.
In the ruling it conceded that management had the right to hire and place employees into specific roles and grades based on factors necessary for the success of the given role.
It said this discretion needed to be exercised by management as objectively as possible in line with generally known and accepted principles or conventions.
The NLC said the appointment letter of April 26, 2004 appointing Mr Agbeibor to the position of Head, Corporate Banking Division with the grade of Senior Manager was perfectly within the right of management.
The inconsistency, however, was the fact that while Mr Agbeibor had been taken on as Head, Corporate Banking Division, corresponding to the grade of Senior Manager, his job description was similar to the position and grade of Head, Corporate Banking Division, corresponding to the grade of General Manager.
“This apparent inconsistency regarding the said job description given the employee and the grade to which he was assigned, appears to be a breach of Section 68 of Ghana’s Labour Law which states thus; “Every worker shall receive equal pay for equal work without distinction of any kind.”
It said the management of the GCB would have perfectly been within its right to exercise its discretion to determine the employee’s job description relative to his grade if the job description had been amended to be consistent with the appointment of Head, Corporate Banking Division with the Grade of Senior Manager.
The NLC said the management, however, lost this right by virtue of their inconsistency in the job description attached to the appointment letter and that was worsened when it again on March 1, 2006, posted another internal advertisement for the same role as the one in dispute.
It said the second internal advertisement had the same job description as the one attached to Mr Agbeibor’s appointment letter of April 26, 2004.


ABOUT 40 foreign journalists are in the country to observe and report on the fifth elections of the country under the Fourth Republican Constitution.
Information at the Ministry of Information, the first port of call generally for all foreign journalists to the country, show that 36 journalists have formally registered with the ministry to cover the elections.
Figures at the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) also show the same number of journalists who have submitted their details for accreditation to cover the elections.
While the accreditation by the Ministry is the general process to go through by all journalists visiting the country for any purpose at all, the accreditation from the GJA is specifically for the coverage of the elections.
Reputable foreign media organisations, such as the BBC, the Associated Press (AP), Radio France International (RFI), Al Jazeera in Qatar, Reuters, European Press Agency, Nigerian Television, Asia and Africa Today based in Russia, are all in the country for the historic elections today.
More journalists and observers continue to pour into the country, officials from the GJA, the Ministry and the Electoral Commission said.
Observers in the country are from the European Union, the Carter Centre, the Commonwealth and ECOWAS.
A member of the EU Election Observation Mission, Mr Mattias Eick, told the Daily Graphic that a 76-member observer mission was in the country.
The mission will be looking at the legal framework of the elections, the practices, standards and whether they compare with international best practices that the country is signatory to.
He said the atmosphere prior to and after the election would also be of concern to the mission as all these were important.
Mr Eick said a full assessment of the election would be made public at a press conference on Tuesday 9, December 2008.
He said the mission would continue to the end of the year to observe issues arising after the elections such as court cases.


THE Electoral Commission (EC) says it is "almost set" to conduct the Sunday, December 7, 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections.
All logistics for the polls have been deployed.
The only activity left is the airlifting of logistics to three areas — the Fumbusi area, which falls within the Yagaba/Kuore Constituency, the Salaga Constituency and Donkorkrom that encompasses the Afram Plains area.
The military is to lift the materials to these areas tomorrow, as well as sensitive materials such as ballot papers that are by convention only given to electoral officers on the day of voting.
The Chairman of the EC, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, made this known at the final press briefing before the elections in Accra yesterday.
The briefing, dubbed "The last supper of the EC and the press" by the President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Mr Ransford Tetteh, was also attended by the Director of Operations of the EC, Mr Sarfo Kantanka, the Executive Secretary of the National Media Commission (NMC), Mr George Sarpong, the Vice-President and the Executive Secretary of the GJA, Messrs Affail Monney and Bright Blewu, respectively.
Dr Afari-Gyan said the areas yet to be supplied were areas that were difficult to access, like the Yagaba/Kuore Constituency known as the overseas areas and the Afram Plains area that stretched across four regions, with parts to be found in the Brong Ahafo, Ashanti, Eastern and Volta regions.
He said although it was difficult to deploy logistics and sensitive election materials to 22,000 polling stations nation-wide on polling day, the EC had planned very well and an overwhelming majority of polling stations would have the required materials to start early on voting day.
Dr Afari-Gyan, however, had a word of assurance for those who, through some unforeseen circumstance, would face some delays before casting their ballots.
"If the polls do not start at 7.00 a.m. prompt, it is no cause for worry. An extension of the period of voting is automatically written into the law. The law says that if at 5.00 p.m. there are people still in the queue to cast their ballots, then no matter how many there are they all have to be served before the polls close," he explained.
He went on to explain further that information that the voting would start at 7.00 a.m. did not mean that the first ballot would be cast at 7.00 a.m.
That was because officials of the EC, before beginning the process of voting, had to do some documentation relating to the number of people voting at the polling station and also record the total number of ballot papers for the polling station by indicating the serial range of a ballot booklet.
He said providing all those might take time and so the first ballot would not necessarily be cast at exactly at 7.00 a.m., adding that no one had to be agitated about that.
Questioning Dr Afari-Gyan, journalists wanted to know whether those who could not vote for their parliamentary candidates last Monday during the special voting could do so on Sunday.
He was also asked about the earliest possible time for the formal announcement of results by the EC.
Other issues were whether the EC would provide adequate lighting when it got dark and voting was still ongoing and whether people without voter identification cards could vote.
Dr Afari-Gyan explained that the special voting exercise was undertaken in accordance with the general practice of voting in the country.
“Whereas anyone can vote for a presidential candidate anywhere in the country because the presidential contest is taken as a contest for a single constituency, that is the whole nation, the parliamentary contest is different, with several constituencies.
“No one can, therefore, vote for his parliamentary candidate in a different constituency if the person has not previously transferred his or her vote,” he explained.
He said the challenges of the special voting were lessons, adding, however, that those who could not vote for their parliamentary candidates could not do so on Sunday.
On the announcement of the results, Dr Afari-Gyan said with the parliamentary results, they were announced and known in the constituencies by the returning officer, but for the presidential he was the returning officer and made the announcement only after all results from all constituencies had been brought to the operations room of the EC and collated, noting that that would take about 72 hours.
He said assurances had been received from the Electricity Company of Ghana for dedicated supplies of power on Sunday, while observer missions and civil society organisations had been asked to select a representative each for the operations room of the EC from where the collation of the presidential results would be done.
Mr Tetteh expressed the belief that the country would still be a united sovereign state after the elections.
He said, however, that that could only be possible if journalists, the security agencies and the public all played their part in ensuring credible, peaceful, free and fair elections.
Mr Sarpong asked journalists to establish correctly their facts and put their information into the right context before publishing during the elections.


Political parties in the country have expressed their satisfaction with decisions reached at an Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting towards the successful outcome of the December 7 2008 elections.
They have, however, asked the EC to sensitise its electoral officials and agents to decisions reached, as its success will depend on the implementation of the decisions at the polling stations, district and regional electoral offices.
The meeting, held to clear up concerns of the parties with the EC and its processes in the run up to the election, resulted in some solutions to ensure that the December 7, 2008 Elections passed off freely, fairly and creditably.
Political parties at the meeting pledged to ensure that no minors or foreigners came anywhere near polling stations on the Election Day. The EC and the political parties also agreed to place their seals on ballot boxes to ensure the credibility in the process.
The Deputy Chairman of the EC, Mr Sarfo Katanka, announced the decisions reached at a joint press conference with representatives of the political parties in Accra.
The General Secretary of the Reformed Patriotic Democrats (RPD), Mr Francis Kyei, was satisfied that so far all concerns raised by the party had been attended to.
He said the only challenge now was how to implement the decisions reached at the various polling stations through well informed and trained polling officers and agents of the EC.
Mr Kyei, who is also the RPD parliamentary candidate for Asante Akim North, said regional and district officers of the EC, as well as returning officers, and all other agents of the EC needed to be apprised of the information to ensure that the right things were done on that day.
A leading member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Squadron Leader Clend Sowu (rtd), for his part said there could not be total satisfaction with the process because the registration exercise was not done early, and therefore there were concerns which had been raised,just as in the case of the training of polling agents by the EC and the political parties.
He said although he had a CD of registered voters it was not certain that the EC would give the parties the hard copy of the register with pictures. He said to minimise the lapses, he was proposing an operation “observe, report and communicate (ORC)”, for the party’s agents, supporters and all Ghanaians.
If people observed and communicated to party leaders on the number of people registered at a polling station, the number of people who actually voted and the number of ballots in the ballot box, it would be easier to reach the right conclusions on all activities at polling stations.
The flag bearer of the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), Mr Thomas Nuako Ward-Brew, said the delays in the programmes of the EC in an election year posed challenges.
He said in future elections, the required period for electoral processes had to be strictly adhered to to avoid the rush.
Nana Ohene-Ntow, General Secretary of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), said the parties were of the belief that the EC had discharged its legal mandate satisfactorily so far.
He said the IPAC and the commission had agreed on a number of areas that needed to be ironed out, and added that so far everything was on course.
Nana Ohene-Ntow said the EC had for instance given the assurance that electoral materials would be dispatched to the regions for the electorate to cast their ballot on time.
“We are only hoping that there are no shortages and also every polling station will have their share of the materials on time”, he added.
Nana Ohene-Ntow said it was the wish of the party that the security agencies would also play their role professionally as ever to ensure a successful poll.
Over all, he said the EC had met the party’s expectations, and expressed the hope that all would be well.


THE General Manager, Newspapers, of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), Mr Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh, has charged members of the Ghana Institute of Management (GIM) to mobilise themselves to the cause of the Electoral Commission (EC) on Election Day.
"As individuals and a group, the time has come to offer yourselves and your services towards the success of the EC's programme for the election."
His call did not only go to members of GIM, but also to opinion leaders, other professionals and respected members of communities and societies, who could offer their services as polling agents and officers to build confidence in the electoral system.
Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh was speaking at a lecture on the topic "Towards Free, Fair, Peaceful 2008 Polls," organised by GIM as part of its annual general meeting (AGM).
He said it would greatly build the confidence of communities across the country if prominent and respected people offered their services to the Electoral Commission (EC) in any capacity and were present at polling stations on election day.
Focusing on the creative and destructive nature of words, he showed from the quotes of several renowned social and political leaders, such as Mother Theresa, the Catholic Nun from India; Dr Martin Luther King, American Civil Rights activists and President Bill Clinton of America, that words play crucial roles to facilitate peaceful elections.
"Every one of us has an obligation in the way we speak or carry ourselves around. We should not gloat or flaunt."
Also crucial, Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh pointed out, is the freedom of choice in a democracy and the fact that democracy is not only about numbers, but also about the respect of rules and regulations.
"Therefore, all those who profess to be democrats must ensure that they never employ cheating, intimidation or coercion to secure the mandate of our people", he advised.
He said democratic systems could not absolutely meet the aspirations of all, and that that was the reason for the choice of people.
Thus, to promote peaceful elections, party leaders have to reason, tolerate divergent opinions and co-operate meaningfully with the EC through the Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC).
All party officers, participation in the IPAC meetings have to give of their best and stick to decisions raised there.
He said it was unjust for members to condemn a decision when they came out of IPAC meetings at which all had agreed to a certain position, just because it did not suit them.
He said the neutrality of state institutions had to be maintained, while the media needed to reach the hearts and minds of people to "have a belief in human dignity and the essence of political pluralism through multi-party democracy in reason rather than force."
Membership of GIM was later on conferred on Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh, who pledged to use his experience to support the institute to enhance the practice of management in the country.
The chairman at the function, Prof. Joseph R. A. Ayee, who is the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, highlighting issues raised, said the challenge of having a peaceful election could be surmounted when election rules and regulations were obeyed.
He advocated a review of the current mandate of the EC to enable it to enforce its rules and regulations when abused by stakeholders.
New council members were elected to serve a two-year term.
They were Mr Wisdom A. Gagakuma, President; Flt Lt. F. Adja-Codjoe (retd), 1st Vice-President; Mr J. A. A. Angate, 2nd Vice- President; Mrs Marian S. Duncan, Messrs Kwame Owusu-Edusei, B. A. Sapati, Anthony Minlah and Kojo Amissah, all members.


Water, education, health and sanitation are very important to man’s existence, but many sections of the population in the metropolises, municipalities and districts are unable to access them.
It is in view of this that several non-governmental and civil society organisations working in the water, education, health and sanitation sectors have come together to intensify advocacy on these social services.
The Essential Services Platform, convened by the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), was on Tuesday launched in Accra to emphasise the challenges faced by some sections of society in accessing those social services.
Apart from emphasising the needs, the platform will challenge those whose duty it was to provide such services to do so through advocacy and other initiatives.
The platform brings together the Coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC), Ghana National Coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations in Health, and the National Coalition Against the Privatisation of Water (NCAPW).
It will provide an avenue for issues relating to accessibility, affordability and availability of social services to be placed consistently before those who have the duty to provide them for the vulnerable.
Launching the platform, the National Vice-President of the Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health, Mr Solomon Onubuogu, stressed the need for deepening engagements with policy makers and government officials to ensure that the vulnerable had access to social services.
The platform, he said, would provide the space to bring together those with diverse experiences on the difficulties encountered by some other people in accessing services and challenges.
The Director of Finance and Administration of the ISODEC, Mr Ernest Tay Awoosah, said the need for a concerted effort in ensuring that social services were available to all and the need to maximise the policy space within which issues were tackled, justified the creation of the platform.
In a press statement read by the Southern Sector Co-ordinator of the Coalition Against the Privatisation of Water, Mr Alhassan Adam, he said the platform was of the view that rural and urban poverty was still a great challenge.
“What is worrying is that the poor still face harsh conditions of unreliable water supplies, poor sanitation, pollution, limited access to power supplies and poor nutrition, “ he said.
The platform said: “The provision of basic social services largely becomes the duty of the state in line with the universal principles of human rights.”
He urged the public to advocate alternative policies to the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) that had the potential for preventing governments from carrying out responsibilities for providing those social services.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


PARTICIPANTS at a symposium in Accra today (Tuesday) concluded that the Ghana Police Service has failed to demonstrate to the general public its neutrality in the pending elections.
The basis for that conclusion was that the Service had not taken opportunities of public forums and discussion platforms to engage the public, on a one to one basis to discuss concerns and dispel fears, but rather puts out high profile stories in major news papers and electronic media on their activities.
This, among other issues, was raised at the symposium organised by the Graduate School of Governance, Leadership and Public Management of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) in Accra today.
The topic for the forum was “Towards violence free elections: The role of the EC, security agencies, political parties and civil society.”
It brought together representatives of four political parties, officers of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), representatives of civil society organisations and constitutional civic and human rights organisations.
The Ghana Police Service, organisers said, was invited like all the other stakeholders, but did not show up.
There was general agreement at the symposium that the Ghana Police Service was the key institution in ensuring the rule of law, peace and security of prior to, during and after the December 7, 2008 polling.
The first to take the police to task was the Executive Director of the Institute for Economic and Democratic Governance (IDEG), Dr Emmanuel Akwettey.
He said through an initiative that brought together a number of civil society organisations to ensure credible elections, called the Civic Forum Initiative (CFI) attempts had been made to engage the police service to engender dialogue and public trust.
However, all their attempts to get representatives of the service had proved futile.
Dr Akwettey said the police of all security agencies, was the institution that had to be closest to the public particularly during the elections.
He said opportunities for the Service to dialogue with the public, dispel misgivings on police action and inaction, all helped to promote peace and not the organisation of mock drills.
“Mock drills and front page stories in newspapers will not dispel the perceptions of the partiality of the Service, but talking directly in forums like this will help build the public’s confidence in their work,” he added.
The General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, said the Ashanti Regional Police and the Volta Regional Police Commanders had made public statements to the effect that they were against some political parties and were focused on supporting the party of the ruling government.
He said this and the fact that the clashes in Gushiegu about a month ago had appeared not to have yielded any response from the ruling government and the police were worrying.
The Deputy Director General of Joint Operations of the Ghana Armed Forces, Col Ben Gborglah, when he took his turn emphasised that the Ghana Police Service was the “lead” institution in ensuring the rule of law, peace and security, at all times and in elections.
He said it was only when the police were overwhelmed by circumstances that the military would come in to support.
Col Gblorglah said in the plan of action for the elections, a rapid deployment force would be deployed at strategic areas in all districts nation-wide.
Although they would be out of sight, they would be readily at hand to support in the quelling of any disturbance at short notice.
He expressed the hope that that would instil confidence in people and be enough deterrent to trouble makers.
The acting Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Mr Richard Quayson, said 350 observers and monitors of the commission had so far been trained.
He disclosed that as part of the Commission’s initiatives to ensure the intergrity of the electoral process, the print and electronic media would be monitored to find out whether they adhered to best practices during elections.
Mr Quasyson said CHRAJ would also do a post election monitoring and a conflict resolution mechanism for any conflicts arising after the process.
Other speakers at the forum were the Deputy Chairman of Operations of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mr Sarfo Katanka, a Deputy Chairman of the National Commission on Civic Education, Mr Baron Boafo, the national chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Mac Manu, Mr Ekow Duncun of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Mr Emmanuel Wilson, the National Youth Organiser of the People’s National Convention (PNC).


TINTAS Coral, producers of the ICI line of paints, will begin manufacturing emulsion-based paints in Ghana next year.
The move, according to the Export Manager of Tintas Coral ICI, Mr Luiz Carlos Da Silva, was the result of the viability of the Ghanaian market in recent years.
“Among our markets, Ghana has proved to be the most viable, in large part due to the prevailing socio-economic climate,” he told the Managing Director of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), Mr Mohammed Ibrahim Awal, when he paid a courtesy call on Mr Awal yesterday.
Mr Da Silva, who also has responsibility for the southern African and ECOWAS sub-regions, said the company would, after commencing the production of emulsion paints, go on to produce solvent-based or synthetic paints in 2010.
He said prior to those strides, Tintas Coral had sensitised its clients and customers to and prepared them in accepting the top quality products of the company.
Apart from training its clients, personnel, painters and consumers, the company had also invested significantly in its infrastructure, making Ghana the hub for exporting ICI paints to Burkina Faso, Togo and Cote d’Ivoire.
Mr Da Silva said with all those initiatives, the market was ready to absorb new products, initiatives and concepts from the company.
He said the company’s success had partly been due to advertising in the Daily Graphic, saying the credibility it had gained over the years was synonymous with the credibility of the Daily Graphic.
The Marketing Manager of Tintas Coral, Mr Yaw Bonnah Sarpong, said Ghana’s economic growth had encouraged the company to explore specialised niches in the market.
With the country’s oil find, Tintas Coral has brought onto the market its affiliate company, International Paints, that specialises in protective coatings for the petroleum and industrial sectors.
Mr Sarpong said Ghana would be the base for exporting these new brands of products to Nigeria.
Already, feasibility studies had been undertaken in the mining and industrial sectors and currently the petroleum sector, he added.
Mr Awal said Ghana was growing economically and the middle class was also growing, hence the need for products like paint in the construction industry that was also experiencing expansion.
He said the GCGL supported businesses in Ghana because the more businesses in Ghana grew, the more employment would be created, with income for people to patronise all the quality papers of the company.


The police in the Northern Region say they are on top of all security concerns raised in the Northern Region.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Ofosu Mensah Gyeabour, who is in charge of the Northern Sector, responding to several security concerns raised in the Northern region, chief among which is the proliferation of arms, said they had “adopted the necessary strategy to deal with the situation.”
In an interview to respond to calls by a delegation of the European Union led by the French Ambassador, Mr Francis Hurtut who visited the Northern Region last Saturday and made calls of the effective mopping up of the illegal possession of firearms, DCOP Gyeabour said a joint military and police exercise to deal with the situation was on course.
Although he would not give details as the situation did not permit the full disclosure of strategies taken, he assured that intelligence was being gathered on the proliferation of arms in the area as well as the activities of some suspects known to be criminals or rioters.
He said a surveillance system has also been mounted and all these measures would help the police ensure that peace and security was maintained up north.
Investigations at the Ministry of Interior also show that the Ministry is desirous of ensuring peace particularly in the North prior to, during and after the December 7, elections.
The Minister of the Interior, Dr Kwame Addo Kufuor, in reference to a speech he delivered at a seminar organised at the Legon Centre for International Affairs (LECIA) last week pointed out that the government accepted the responsibility for maintaining peace and stability in the country.
In line with that the government would respect the results of the elections as the sovereign will of the Ghanaian people freely expressed through the ballot box and accept these results regardless of which party was victorious, he pledged.
Dr Addo-Kufuor, however, stressed that despite that commitment, any person or group of persons who attempted to undermine the peace of the country would be made to face the full rigours of the law.


Bonjour Ghana (edu)
Story: Caroline Boateng
“Bonjour Ghana,” a new television magazine programme has been launched to begin airing on the Children’s Channel of Ghana Television (GTV) every Saturday at 10 a.m.
The programme was conceived of by KAMA productions, and is being sponsored by the French Embassy with support from the Ghana Education Service (GES) and Ghana Television.
The series has various parts, with children learning the French language in a practical way in social and educational settings.
Activities, games and play with music are also used to make the learning of the French language practical and easy.
At the launch of the programme in Accra today, the Director of the Teacher Education Directorate (TED) of the GES, Mr Victor Mantey, said efforts at making the French language compulsory had been met with challenges.
One of the challenges was the inadequate number of teachers to teach the language, but that was being addressed by all partners, he added.
Mr Mantey, therefore, recommended the programme for all, saying that it was going to make the learning and teaching of French practical and easy.
Testifying of the potential of the programme to help improve the language skills of children, Mr Mantey said he had hesitantly acquired some copies of the programme at the very inception for his ward.
To his surprise, after almost a year of his ward using the material, there was such an improvement that the ward scored a B in the French Language at the Senior High School Certificate Examinations.
Mrs Grace Nyuur, the National Coordinator of the Centre for the Teaching of French or CREF, a network of the ten regional resource centers for the teaching and learning of French language in the country, in her welcoming remarks said the programme sought to disabuse from the minds of all the perception that french was a difficult and mysterious language.
She said the phobia associated with learning the french language would be erased with the progremme.
An official of GTV, Mrs Dinah Amoo, appealed to all to support the airing of the programme and the sustained development of further programmes since television productions were capital intensive.
While commending the French Embassy for their support, urged French corporate organizations in the country to get involved and support the production of the programme.
The producer of “Bonjour Ghana,” Mr Godfred Quansah, said his experience at a Film festival, FESPACO, in Burkina Faso birthed in him the desire to do the series, although he does not speak french.
He said collaborating with members of CREF, other producers and french speakers, he had managed to come out with the programme.
He said the episodes that would air on the national television had elements of French culture, though in a Ghanaian setting, to attract the interest of children to learn the language better.
Mr Bernard Botte, an official of the French Embassy, Mr Bernard Botte, said the programme was designed with input from experts in educative television programmes for the learning of the language.
He said the programme would be instructive not only for children but adults too.
The President of the Ghana Association of French Teachers, Mr Evans Kokroko, expressed appreciation to the french Embassy for supporting the programme and urged the producer to start a programme of distributing the material widely to enable teachers use it effectively in teaching.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Proofread by era

Transfer (pol)
Story: Caroline Boateng
The Electoral Commission (EC) is yet to set the period for the transfer of votes as well as the regulations and processes for the exercise.
Any activity, therefore, undertaken during the exhibition exercise purporting to transfer the votes of people is not valid, a Deputy Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC) in charge of Operations, Mr Sarfo Katanka, has said.
Responding to the issue of reported transfer of votes in areas such as Asutifi South, Asunafo North and Attebubu in the Brong Ahafo Region, as well as Ejura in the Ashanti Region, he said all activities or acts in any exhibition centre claiming to be the transfer of votes had been disregarded by the EC.
Mr Katanka said he received reports of some people claiming to transfer votes in the Brong Ahafo and Ashanti regions when he was observing the voters’ exhibition exercise in the northern regions.
When these reports were received, the EC reinforced its decision not to engage in a parallel exercise of the transfer of votes during the exhibition exercise, but to rather conduct the exercise at the district offices at a latter date with the regulations spelt out and communicated that to its staff.
The issue of transferring votes, according to him, had come up at a meeting of the commission, where it had been decided not to conduct the exhibition exercise together with the transfer of votes.
He said the EC’s checks in the areas where those reports were made showed that people claiming to be transferring their votes during the exhibition exercise had just written their names at the exhibition centres.
He said that was not the proper way of conducting a transfer.
For instance, Mr Katanka explained, if a person at Adenta wanted to transfer his votes to Koforidua, he had to rather visit the nearest polling station at Koforidua and not Adenta, where a form would be filled and his particulars taken.
These would then be sent to the EC headquarters where the proper validation would be conducted before the change would be effected.
A member of the Commission, Ms Eunice Roberts, who was also present, stressed the fact that the EC had built into the electoral processes “integrity” and that could not be compromised under any circumstance.


THE Ghana Association of Women Entrepreneurs (GAWE) has initiated a programme that has facilitated access to credit for its members.
In collaboration with the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge Fund (BUSAC), members of GAWE contributed GH¢10 each month into a mutual fund managed by Fidelity Bank.
Within six months, GAWE was able to use their mutual fund contributions as collateral to negotiate for loans for its members.
Members now have double or tripple the amount they contributed as loans for their businesses.
The project of facilitiating access to credit was one of the achievements under a collaborative project of GAWE and BUSAC, called "Women's Access to Credit," and brings to an end the project which started about three years ago.
Speaking with the Daily Graphic at a stakeholder conference on the project, the Nationa President of GAWE, Mrs Lucia Quarchey, emphasised the fact that members of GAWE did not wnat special favours, just access to credit.
And that was the thrust of the project, which focused on creating the platform for financial institutions, entrepreneurs and other partners to dialogue on the lack of access to credit for women, while sensitising financial institutions to pay more attenction to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) an building the capacities of women to embrace change for successful enterprises.
The Fund Manager of the BUSAC Fund, Mr Dale Rachemeler, commended GAWEfor being one of the fifteen institutions given a BUSAC grant and achieving results with it.
He said credit was critical to all businesses at any stage of growth, therefore, the lack of access was critical, particularly for women as their inability to gow their businesses affected all.
Mr Rachemeler said although BUSAC would end in 2009 after being in operation for nine years, the success gained by BUSAC with institutions like GAWE, had prompted donors to support a BUSAC II programme that will begin in 2009 and run for another five years.
He advised members to use their experience gained to advocate other issues of critical concern to women under BUSAC II.
The conference saw the participation of Mr Ekow Afedzie, the General Manager of the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE), Mr Thomas Kwami of Data Bank and Mr Daniel Ofori-Dakwa of Purple Management Services Limited.
All three emphasised the need for women entrepreneurs to so structure their businesses as to make them attractive enough to be listed in the future.
Mr Kwami of Data Bank, said private equity was one of the ways by which women entrepreneurs could have access to funds for their businesses.
Although the requirements of attracting private equity funds into one's business was not as rigourous as reguirements for listing on the GSE, achieving the requirements for private equity could set the company on the path to listing ofn the GSE in future.
Some requirements entreprenuers had to meet to attract private equity, Mr Kwami said, were a well structured management of the enterprise and consistent earnings with audited accounts.
Mr Ofori-Dankwa for his part proposed leasing as a viable source of credit for entreprenuers in the country.
The Director, International Desk for Women of the Ministry of Women and Childrens' Affairs (MOWAC), Mrs Marian Takie, in a keynote address delvered on behalf of the sector minister, said although achievements had been made since the 1995 Beijing Womens' World Conference, a lot more needed to be done.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Twelve parliamentary candidates from selected constituencies in the Greater Accra and Eastern regions have appeared before their constituents to be questioned.
They appeared at the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) Election Issues Platform dubbed "Sustaining Credible Elections, Peace and National Cohesion in Ghana 2008”.
The theme for the issues platform was “Combating Poverty Through Security, Job Creation and Basic Social and Service Delivery: Which Way Forward?”
The parliamentary candidates were Mr Frank Adu-Amankwah, of the New Juabeng North Constituency, Mr Collins Agyei Oteng of the New Juaben South, both of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and Mr Emmanuel Adu Boateng the National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) candidate for the New Juaben North Constituency. Others were Mr Osei Bonsu Amoah, a candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Aburi-Nsawam Constituency.
In the Greater Accra Region, the candidates were Mr Daniel Kofi, CPP; Mr Kwesi Ofei Agyemang, NDC, and Ms Zalia Seidu, People’s National Convention (PNC), all vying for the Ayawaso Central Constituency seat, as well as Mr Francis Bernard Anyinatoe, NPP; Mr Samson Wingobit Asaki, PNC, both of the Ashiaman Constituency.
In the Ayawaso East Constituency, the participants were Mr Mohamed Salisu Baba of the NPP, Dr Mustapha Ahmed of the NDC, and Mr William Kofi Dowokpor, of the CPP.
The programme started with representatives of the CPP, Mr Charles Enimful; of the NDC, Mr Richard Quashigah, and of the NPP, Mr Eric Kotia, explaining to their constituents their commitments in their manifestos to fight poverty through security, job creation and basic social service delivery.
Candidates answered questions from people living in their constituencies present at the forum, as well as questions from others not present there but collated by IDEG from focused group discussions held in the various communities.
Opening the programme, a Research Fellow of IDEG, Dr Lee Tlou, said the Governance Issues Forum Network out of which was formed the Election Issues Platform, was critical in engaging all members of society to dialogue on public policy and development issues.
She explained that Parliament is the institution that represents the demand side of governance, the demands and needs of the people at the community levels, and that it is for this reason that the IDEG decided to focus on the parliamentary campaigns and organise such programmes to deepen dialogue between constituents and their representatives.
Participants wanted to know from incumbent parliamentarians who were still running, their specific development initiatives.
Other issues raised were the tackling of Internet fraud among the youth, poor sanitary conditions and how these would be tackled as well as the stemming of criminal activities.

BOOK REVIEW: Titles: “Dreams, Nature, Purposes and Meanings” & “Breaking the Powers of Evil Spirits”

The two books of Bishop Bernard Ogyiri Asare, “Dreams, Nature, Purposes and Meanings” and “Breaking the Powers of Evil Spirits,” open up critical areas in the spiritual life of Christians.
Dreams and evil spirits both have an impact on the destiny of one’s life and both are baffling areas to Christians.
While dreams are one of the channels of communication of God, evil spirits are definitely agents of evil and these two areas are aptly delved into by the author, who teaches how dreams, from whatever source, can be dealt with as well as any influence of evil spirits.
Dreams reveal and natural and spiritual sides of a person and may relate to a person’s wishes, anxieties or fears.
Though the author says dreams are involuntary activities of the subconscious mind and do not directly bear on reality, he cautions against taking them lightly.
He prescribes the prayerful consideration of dreams in the light of God’s word in order for one to have important revelations of God’s counsels in all areas of one’s life.
Apart from revealing God’s plans to man, dreams warn of impending danger or destruction on man that may be either spiritual or physical and also warns of intended destruction on the devil.
The author describes dreams as God’s X-ray vision through which He mirrors His intended purposes for man for change as well as spiritual and mental refreshment.
God gives dreams and the interpretation of it to anyone He chooses in furtherance of His purposes, the author states and gives biblical examples of the people who dreamed dreams.
To ensure that dreams interpreted are really what they mean, God has instituted safeguards by which His people can test if dreams interpreted are really what they are.
These safeguards include identifying the dream, examining it and earnestly seeking the mind of God on the dream through prayer.
For aspects of the dream one might have had that was good, Bishop Bernard Ogyiri Asare, admonishes “confess that aspect which is good.”
The author devotes a chapter to dreams from the devil that are frightful and disturbing and are intended to destroy a person.
Reading Dreams, Nature, Purposes and Meanings, will help all make the right inference from some specific dreams, such as, dreaming of sharing meat chopping onions or cooking meat.
Also discussed are natural and carnal dreams that are initiated the activities of life and one’s imagination, respectively.
For all these dreams, the author points Christians to opportunities through prayer to break all targets of the enemy and ensure the fulfilment of dreams from
Bishop Bernard Ogyiri Asare, describes the study of evil spirits and demons as an adventure, because are unseen and yet exist.
It is this adventure that he draws readers into as he analyses the powers of evil spirits on the lives of Christians and how they can liberate themselves.
In “Breaking the Powers of Evil Spirits,” four un-contradictory issues are set out from the onset.
The author is categorical that demons exist and are active even today and that demon possession of the Christians is easy.
He further posits that demons target the lives of Christians for destruction and finally adds that knowing that demons exist is not enough but keeping faith in Jesus Christ to be delivered and depending on the authority of the Word of God to maintain one’s deliverance is important.
Having set out these basic points, “Breaking the Powers of Evil Spirits,” takes readers through the origin and the nature of demons.
From the bible, he traces how they came into being and show that the origin of evil spirits is Satan.
Other interesting issues one would read on the issue of the origin and nature of demons are how they behave, act and their command structure.
The author, Bishop Bernard Ogyiri Asare, teachers how Christians can identify evil spirits by setting out their basic aims, objectives and activities.
With scriptural references like, he shows how in a bid to entice people for evil, they succeed in persuading Christians to sin and forfeit the blessed life of God.
When demons indwell Christians, they oppress, create evil obsessions in them and cause them to reject the plans and purposes of God, thus he teaches how demon possession comes about for all to be forewarned.
The results of demon possession are hatred, anger, self pity, insecurity and jealousy among others.
Apart from these emotion related symptoms of demon possession, the author says that physical problems, such as, speech impairment, addictions, ailments and failures can also sometimes be the indications.
For those in the deliverance ministry and even the neophyte Christian, the author details a step by step guide to how those under the influence of evil spirits can be delivered and the deliverance maintained.
Readers are also guided through a step by step deliverance session in breaking the powers of evil spirits on the lives of those possessed.
Bishop Bernard Ogyiri Asare’s books are recommended for all Christians desirous of living a victorious Christian life fully living out all the blessings of God and devoid of all influence of the enemy.
Copies of the book can be obtained at the Zion Praise Chapel International, Takoradi, and leading bookshops in Takoradi and nation-wide.
The books were published by Prophetic Impartation, Zion Praise Chapel International.


THE Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr Stephen Asamoah-Boateng, has asked panellists on various electronic media programmes to comport themselves when contributing their views on issues.
He has also charged moderators of programmes to “manage” panellists to deal with the topic being discussed, instead of subjects which are likely to disturb the peace.
At a meeting with publishers and senior media practitioners to strategise on how the country could have successful elections, the minister, who shared his views on possible occurrences on election day, was sure that no disturbances would occur.
“I do not think Ghanaians will be fighting on election day. Ghanaians fighting on a Sunday! Muslims will also be celebrating their festival, the Eid-ul-Adha. No one will fight,” he said.
His concern, however, was on administrative or procedural lapses in the electoral process that could make some people misbehave.
However, that could be contained if security personnel were up to their task and worked professionally, with the media encouraging them with constructive and critical articles and programmes, Mr Asamoah-Boateng said.
He also shared a few political techniques with journalists on how he managed to ensure peaceful campaigning in his constituency.
He said in politics, numbers mattered, so he always endeavoured to win to his side people with opposing views in his constituency, while at the same time not losing sight of his core support base.
Making reference to the Biblical parable of the shepherd who left 99 sheep to look for the one lost sheep, Mr Asamoah-Boateng said, “In politics, you do not leave the 99 and go and look for the one, otherwise you come back and find three more sheep missing.”
The Deputy Minister of Information, Mr Frank Agyekum, gave instances when headlines and electronic media programmes tended to mar the peaceful atmosphere in the country.
He said there was no problem with the media taking sides with one political party or another; what mattered was how they did it and whether they took sides blindly or were so extreme in their support of a party that it clouded their judgement in their profession.
The meeting brought together top officials of media organisations, editors, producers, talk-show hosts and hostesses.
Topmost on the agenda was how producers and talk-show hosts and hostesses could moderate better and cut out insults, negative statements, misinformation and comments that were likely to cause election disturbances.
Mr Asamoah-Boateng said the meeting was part of his wider engagement of key role players in the elections, such as the security agencies, the Electoral Commission and the public.
He said the aim of the meetings was for all stakeholders to improve upon their performance in their various fields of endeavour in the run-up to the elections.


SOURCES at the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) Implementation Committee say that the de-confiscation of assets is not an unconditional exercise.
They said that was why information on the exercise released at the onset had indicated those whose assets were confiscated during military regimes would have them back on a “where is, as is” basis.
That is, asset owners, will take back their assets in whatever condition they find it.
Moreover, they added that the de-confiscation of assets only involved immovable property and not assets such as vehicles and money.
This came up following enquiries by the Daily Graphic after a victim of torture and imprisonment during the National Redemption Council (NRC) regime, Mr Alex Hamah, had said an amount of ¢56,000 which had been confiscated from him by the state had not been returned to him.
He was reacting to a publication in the Wednesday, November 8, 2008 issue of the Daily Graphic in which Professor Kenneth Attafuah, the Executive Secretary of the erstwhile NRC, had commended the government for the deconfiscation of the assets of some victims but asked for the full implementation of the NRC’s recommendations.
Mr Hamah said he had been condemned to death on January 12, 1974 and was put in a condemned cell for six months.
His sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment but he was released in 1978.
He said he suffered torture at the hands of military personnel and appeared before the NRC where he re-counted his ordeal.
After the NRC finished its work, he went to the implementation committee that comprised the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Joe Ghartey; his deputy, Mr Osei Prempeh, and Mr Justice V.C. R. C. A. Crabbe.
Mr Hamah said instructions were given to pay back his money at the current rate but countless visits to the offices of the AG’s Department had proved futile, as he had been told that the assent of the President was needed before his money could be paid.
He said others had had their assets returned, while publications to that effect had been widely circulated, but he was facing challenges in getting his money back and believed, therefore, that it was “political victimisation”.
Mr Hamah re-emphasised the call by Prof Attafuah to the government to fully implement the recommendations of the NRC before leaving office.
Enquiries at the NRC implementation committee, however, showed that Mr Hamah had already been paid GH¢4,000 as a token amount to compensate him for his torture at the hands of the state during the NRC regime.
Sources there said he was not included in the list of those whose assets were to be deconfiscated.


THE President of the Ghana Association of Certified Mediators and Arbitrators (GACMA), Prof. Kofi Quashigah, has advocated mediation as a viable option to get the major political parties in the country to work together for a peaceful election.
He said the process of mediation could, however, only be successful, if all parties came to the realisation that there was the need for them to work towards peace.
Reacting to the proposals by the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) to the main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), to ensure peace on the election day, Prof Quashigah told the Daily Graphic that mediation was a viable tool for consensus building and the ironing out of differences in all instances.
“The parties must, however, recognise the need to choose mediation to settle their differences and move on to a peaceful election day,” he said.
Prof Quashigah said mediation, unlike litigation, worked on free will and the mutual respect of all parties involved, as well as the process of mediation itself.
He said the first step was for both parties to realise the need to agree and sit at one table and talk about their differences in the presence of a mediator both parties could trust.
His ideas were supported by Mr Austin Gamey, a professional mediator, who was of the view that the parties needed to “have conversations” on how they wanted the electioneering process to evolve for the benefit of all.
He said it was time the country saw itself as a mediation state, where apart from criminal matters that were judged in the law courts, other social disagreement had to be resolved on a platform of mediation.
Mr Gamey said the peace plan of the NPP would not work unilaterally, but needed to be initiated rather by an independent minded institution or individual, trusted by all parties who would guide the parties through processes of bearing their concerns, re-framing perceptions and coming out with new models of communication that would engender peace.
In October this year, the NPP Chairman, Mr Mark Manu, invited the NDC Chairman, Dr Kwabena Adjei, for both parties to agree on specific joint actions towards enhancing peace on election day.
Mr Manu told the Daily Graphic that the idea behind the invitation was for all the parties to sit and draw an action plan for peace.
Specifically, the peace plan would have included, particularly for Tamale, the banning of the riding of motor-bikes on the election day, the frequent security patrols of certain roads leading to and from polling stations and flash points, as well as body search of people going in to vote, to ensure that they carried no weapons.
Mr Manu said to date he had had no response from the chairman of the NDC.
The General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, for his part, said the NDC could not participate in the peace plan of the NPP, when there were outstanding issues that had not been dealt with.
For instance, it was the government’s responsibility to ensure law and order. However, the government, which was wholly cut out of the NPP, was reneging on its responsibility, judging from the inaction of the government to deal with clashes that occurred in Gushiegu, Mr Asiedu-Nketia added
When asked if a neutral agency would be appropriate to give an impetus to the peace plan, both Messrs Manu and Asiedu-Nketiah said it was possible.
However, whereas Mr Manu said the peace plan had been shared with the National Peace Council and other partners with favourable responses, Mr Asiedu Nketia said the NDC had written to the Council of State, the Christian Council of Ghana, the Catholic Bishops Conference, the Ahmadiyya Mission and several other religious and secular organisations with no favourable responses.
He said with the Council of State, they failed to even to meet them to share their concerns.


THE President of the Ghana Association of Certified Mediators and Arbitrators (GACMA), Prof. Kofi Quashigah, has advocated mediation as a viable option to get the major political parties in the country to work together for a peaceful election.
He said the process of mediation could, however, only be successful, if all parties came to the realisation that there was the need for them to work towards peace.
Reacting to the proposals by the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) to the main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), to ensure peace on the election day, Prof Quashigah told the Daily Graphic that mediation was a viable tool for consensus building and the ironing out of differences in all instances.
“The parties must, however, recognise the need to choose mediation to settle their differences and move on to a peaceful election day,” he said.
Prof Quashigah said mediation, unlike litigation, worked on free will and the mutual respect of all parties involved, as well as the process of mediation itself.
He said the first step was for both parties to realise the need to agree and sit at one table and talk about their differences in the presence of a mediator both parties could trust.
His ideas were supported by Mr Austin Gamey, a professional mediator, who was of the view that the parties needed to “have conversations” on how they wanted the electioneering process to evolve for the benefit of all.
He said it was time the country saw itself as a mediation state, where apart from criminal matters that were judged in the law courts, other social disagreement had to be resolved on a platform of mediation.
Mr Gamey said the peace plan of the NPP would not work unilaterally, but needed to be initiated rather by an independent minded institution or individual, trusted by all parties who would guide the parties through processes of bearing their concerns, re-framing perceptions and coming out with new models of communication that would engender peace.
In October this year, the NPP Chairman, Mr Mark Manu, invited the NDC Chairman, Dr Kwabena Adjei, for both parties to agree on specific joint actions towards enhancing peace on election day.
Mr Manu told the Daily Graphic that the idea behind the invitation was for all the parties to sit and draw an action plan for peace.
Specifically, the peace plan would have included, particularly for Tamale, the banning of the riding of motor-bikes on the election day, the frequent security patrols of certain roads leading to and from polling stations and flash points, as well as body search of people going in to vote, to ensure that they carried no weapons.
Mr Manu said to date he had had no response from the chairman of the NDC.
The General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, for his part, said the NDC could not participate in the peace plan of the NPP, when there were outstanding issues that had not been dealt with.
For instance, it was the government’s responsibility to ensure law and order. However, the government, which was wholly cut out of the NPP, was reneging on its responsibility, judging from the inaction of the government to deal with clashes that occurred in Gushiegu, Mr Asiedu-Nketia added
When asked if a neutral agency would be appropriate to give an impetus to the peace plan, both Messrs Manu and Asiedu-Nketiah said it was possible.
However, whereas Mr Manu said the peace plan had been shared with the National Peace Council and other partners with favourable responses, Mr Asiedu Nketia said the NDC had written to the Council of State, the Christian Council of Ghana, the Catholic Bishops Conference, the Ahmadiyya Mission and several other religious and secular organisations with no favourable responses.
He said with the Council of State, they failed to even to meet them to share their concerns.