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General News of Saturday, 28 November 2020


Poll survey: We’re not doing anybody’s bidding – University of Ghana lecturers

Ghana is set to go to the polls on December 7, 2020 Ghana is set to go to the polls on December 7, 2020

A professor at the University of Ghana, Emmanuel Debrah has dismissed claims that the poll survey that was released by the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana (UG) was at the behest of any political party.

He said the findings reflected what is actually happening on the grounds ahead of the December 7 elections.

His comments come on the heels of claims by critics including the Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) that the lecturers who released the opinion survey on the impending elections in Ghana that put the New Patriotic Party (NPP) ahead of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) engaged in an alleged academic fraud.

The survey conducted by the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana ahead of the December 7 polls has revealed that 51.7 percent of Ghanaians will vote for President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo if the elections were held today.

The survey also noted that some 40.4 percent will vote for the opposition leader, John Dramani Mahama.

A further 1.4 per cent of voters, according to the survey, will vote for the Ghana Union Movement’s Rev. Christian Andrews, also known as Osofo Kyiri Abosom.

The survey, which sampled nearly 12,000 registered voters in 100 swing constituencies across the 16 regions of Ghana, also revealed corruption is not a key determinant for voters in the December 7 elections.

Presenting findings of the survey, Lecturer at the University of Ghana’s Political Science Department, Kaakyire Frempong said many of the voters maintain campaign messages will form the basis for their vote.

He pointed out that 51 percent of voters think incumbent New Patriotic Party (NPP) MPs will retain their seats in Parliament while 35 percent of seats are up for grabs.

Some 13 percent of the voters say MPs are likely to be changed, he said. “It can be argued that this election is solely contested on policy-based issues.
In this election, the economic issues have been framed around tangible and implementable policies. For the Ghanaian voter, their choice is for the candidate who has the capacity to carry through with transformational policies. Therefore, it did not come as a surprise when 62.2 percent of voters said the Free Senior High School programme offers hope to their future aspirations.

“It is interesting from voters’ respondents captured in Table 5 that the banking restructuring exercise that was greeted with cynicism and lamentations by the affected customers and business owners would have no effect on voters’ choices at the polls (0.7%). The voters have confirmed the policy-driven voting paradigm in contemporary elections.

“A majority of Ghanaian voters said they believe in the policies and programs being implemented by the incumbent government ( 61.7%). Only a minority 26.8% expressed lack of faith in the incumbent’s policies and 11.5% declined to make a response,” he said.

ASEPA in a statement signed by its director Mensah Thompson said “We believe that these actions by Dr Owusu Mensah and the Head of Department of the Political Science Department cannot go unpunished for attempting to bring the name of the University into Public ridicule.

“We demand that the University Disciplinary Committee Commences immediate investigations into this matter and sanction lecturers who may be found complicit in this brute attempt to defraud the public."

“We also preparing to petition the Criminal Investigations Department to launch a criminal investigation into the matter since it is a classic case of Academic Fraud perpetuated by these lecturers.”

Reacting to these concerns, Professor Debrah said “We are in the University of Ghana and we are not prophets, we are researchers. If you are a researcher, you do not sit in the office, you do not sit in the comfort of your rooms and conduct elections as others will do."

“If you cannot do research, you do not downplay those who can do that."

“A lecturer’s work is both teaching and doing research and we do research here. Research is part of our responsibility and part of our activities at the university, we teach research and do research, if you do not know how to do research, you keep quiet and listen or come for tutorials."

At a press conference, he invited those who discredit academic research to come for tutorials from the university.

“It is absolutely unacceptable for an individual to politicize research, we are not here to do anybody’s bidden, even if it were so the vice-chancellor would not permit us to continue with our research work so tell those who want to undermine a university’s research to stop if they do not understand, they should come for research tutorials at the university and we are prepared to teach them without taking any pesewa from them."