General News of Thursday, 20 September 2012

Source: Al-Hajj

2012 Polls: Too Close to Call-Pollster

Contrary to the recent opinion poll findings by research outfit, Synovate Ghana, stating that the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) will still be the government in power if elections were held today, pollster Ben Ephson Jr., thinks otherwise.
According to the celebrated pollster and managing editor of the Daily Dispatch newspaper, results for the crucial upcoming December election is too close to call.
“I don’t think so, we will have to wait until first or second week of November to be able to categorically state which party is most likely to carry the day”, Mr. Ben Ephson told Radio Gold morning show host, Alhassan Suyini, in response to whether it is clear by now, which party will be victorious in the December polls.
According to a Synovate poll released early this month, the NDC will secure the highest number of total votes cast, 34.2% with the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) following closely with 31.8%.
The results also pegs the Convention People’s Party at 3.6%, trailing the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) led by Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, who the survey indicates will manage 5.3% of the votes.
The People’s National Convention (PNC) secured only 1.9% with the other parties obtaining less than one per cent of the vote.
But pollster Ben Ephson, yesterday on radio Gold told Alhassan Suyini that it is too early to predict a winner in the December election insisting; that will only become clearer by the middle of November.
He also stated that both the ruling National Democratic Congress and the largest opposition New Patriotic Party will have to very much largely, employ the services of Information, Communication Technology (ICT), if either of the two is to make a headway.
Mr. Ephson also downplayed the effect the selection of Vice-president Amissah Arthur as running mate to John Mahama for the 2012 polls would have over the people of the Central region, saying the people of Central region don’t vote on tribal lines.
“Let the NDC tickle themselves and laugh if they think Amissah Arthur’s selection will deliver to them Central region, the people don’t vote on tribal lines, that is why late president Mills lost in Central in 2000 and 2004”.
On the possibility of former first lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings contesting as flagbearer on the ticket of the newly licensed National Democratic Party (NDP), Mr. Ben Ephson Jr says, that will make victory for the NDC easier.
According to the renowned pollster, it will be a blessing in disguise for the NDC if Nana Konadu, who is also the wife of NDC founder, Jerry Rawlings leads the NDP into the December elections.

“We are doing some work and I believe that the NDC should pray that Nana Konadu becomes the flagbearer of the NDP, it will be a blessing in disguise for the NDC”, Mr. Ephson told Alhassan Suyini.

-To disband NDP and allow JJ join NDC campaign

Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, former first lady and wife of the founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Jerry John Rawlings is said to be demanding GHC10m or nearly US$5 million from the party if she is to be persuaded to step down as a contestant for the presidency on the NDP in December polls.
Information trickling into our offices indicates that Nana Konadu, also a former vice-chairperson of the NDC made the demand when mediators on behalf of the party, impressed upon the former first lady to drop her ambition of contesting the crucial elections which if allowed is most likely to split the NDC votes.
A very reliable source told The Al-Hajj that the NDC founders’ wife who has all along been silent over her involvement in the founding of the newly certified political party, has now owned up; demanding that if the leadership of NDC wants her to abandon her ‘mission’, then it should be prepared to re-imburse her entire expenses as compensation.
This paper is told that Nana Konadu’s reimbursement demand is inclusive of all resources expended in her abortive attempt to replace the late former president John Atta Mills as presidential candidate of the NDC in the acrimonious Sunyani congress of the party last year.
The Al-Hajj is further told that the GHC10 million being demanded by Nana Konadu include the cost of purchase of vehicles, motor cycles, office equipment and cost of registering the NDP among others.
The NDC, according to our source, shall assume ownership of all the logistics acquired by and in the name of NDP as soon as the NDC coughs up the money.
At the time of going to press, the NDC’s reaction to the conditions of the former first lady is yet to be disclosed.
According to our source, Nana Konadu also stated that, it is only when the party is able to meet her terms and conditions that, the NDC founder and former president, Jerry John Rawlings, who for some time now has remained ambivalent in his relationship with both the NDC and the NDP; will also then be in a position to join the NDC campaign.
Former President Jerry John Rawlings, founder of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and wife, Nana Konadu have for some time been linked to the formation of the National Democratic Party (NDP), a breakaway faction of the NDC.
Although the former first couple is yet to confirm or deny their involvement in the party themselves, Interim General Secretary of NDP, Dr Joseph Mamboah-Rockson consistently insists, Mr. and Mrs. Rawlings are integral part of the NDP.
Meanwhile, the National Democratic Party says Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings has up to next week Monday to take a decision on whether to accept the party’s a proposal to her to run as its presidential candidate.

Interim general secretary, Dr. Joseph Manboah-Rockson on Wednesday told Joy News, the Monday ultimatum has been given because the party cannot afford to waste anymore time.


By: Iddrissu Abubakari Jara

A political advocacy group, Zongo for Mahama (ZFM), has assured President John Mahama of the NDC of securing 90% of votes in all the zongos in the country for him.
The National Coordinator of the group Mr. Yussif Jajah made this known to The Al-Hajj in an exclusive interview after the formal inauguration of the organization.
He said the president was a Zongo boy who grew up in the Zongo and has his family house located at Nima-Mamobi, a suburb of Greater Accra.
According to the ZFM national coordinator, the claim by Mr. Bawumia as being a real zongo boy and Muslim was baseless and misplaced since he cannot point out any single achievement of the NPP in the Zongo communities whiles in office.
Mr. Yussif Jajah reiterate the group’s commitment of ensuring peaceful elections and cautioned that, the zongo youth will not submit to any diabolical agenda of any war-mongering politician.
Touching on the differences between the two candidates, Mr. Yussif pointed-out the important interventions made by his Excellency the president in the organization of Muslim’s annual pilgrim to Hajj and cited the recently constructed ultra modern hajj village put up by the NDC government under president Mahama.
He said under the erstwhile NPP regime, Hajj was poorly managed under the then vice president, Aliu Mahama which left the Hajj organizers with huge debt.
Problems of Hajj, under the guidance of then Vice President John Mahama and now, president have become a thing of the past with an increment of pilgrims from 2500 to 5700.
With the proven track record in the development, and attention to Zongo communities under former president Rawlings and late Prof. Mills, Muslims are now enjoying two different statutory holidays.
Mr. Yussif Jajah noted that the Savana Accelerated Development Fund (SADA) has created over 5000 jobs to the people of the north.


At a time when most celebrities in Ghana are openly endorsing the candidature of Ahobrasihene John Mahama as flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the December polls, the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) was involuntarily compelled to endorse Nana Akufo Addo albeit, in the funniest of ways.

This happened on Saturday 15th September, 2012 at the Second Legends and Legacy Ball; an event designed to celebrate the achievements and legacies of living music legends organized by Imajin Advertising at the Accra Conference Center.

The concert, the second in the series was to honour Ghanaian highlife legend Dan Abrantie Amakye Dede. Another Ghanaian music maestro, Daddy Lumba was the first to be celebrated.

It all began when a representative of the Musicians Union of Ghana, veteran singer Ben Brako, whiles reading a citation on behalf of MUSIGA in honour of Amakye Dede during the event, acknowledged the presence of important dignitaries from all spheres of society including, former President John Agyekum Kufour, former first lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings and Barima Azumah Nelson, omitted.

The MUSIGA rep, in his address failed, or forgot to acknowledge the New Patriotic Party presidential Candidate, Nana Akufo Addo who was also present.

This anomaly must have incensed the large crowd, majority of who are thought to be sympathizers of the opposition New Patriotic Party who started screaming at him.

Bemused Mr. Ben Brako, having recognized the oversight was compelled to quickly render an unqualified apology to Nana Akufo who he referred to ‘as the future president’.

The proclamation sent the crowd screaming in affirmation.

Artistes who performed at the event included; Kwabena Kwabena, Becca, Samini and Nacy (No Tribe).

Others are Eazzy, Nana Ama Mc Brown, Okyeame Kwame, Daasebre Ahofe Dwamena, Steve Bedi and Ivorian singer, Meiway.

With additional files from:

Police Accused of Extortion
…On the Buipe-Kintampo-Techiman Road

By Roland Phillips-Addo
Reports reaching The Al-Hajj suggests that the much touted professionalism and integrity associated with the Ghana Police Service is after all being undermined by a few bad nuts in the service who are alleged to have resorted to naked extortion of monies from drivers and vehicle owners who ply the Buipe-Kintampo-Techiman stretch of the Kumasi-Tamale Highway.
This unfortunate development comes in the wake of rampant highway robberies that have hit the country recently, necessitating the institution of intensified escort of passenger and cargo vehicles over that stretch of the northern road corridor to curb the incidence of such heinous crimes.
Whiles the police administration struggles to inject some sanity into the service, information reaching The Al-Hajj allege that certain unscrupulous escort police personnel assigned escort duties have, in concert with colleagues on duty at check-points, devised a subtle means of extorting monies from drivers.
According to a source, police escort vehicles stationed at the Buipe end of the Corridor through Kintampo to the Techiman end as a security measure to avoid the possibility of robbers attacking vehicles.
On arrival at the Techiman end, the trip is reversed by the escort vehicle leading another convoy of northward bound vehicles to the Buipe end of the stretch.
It is alleged that drivers being escorted by the police were left half-way on the stretch giving the impression that their task is completed while unsuspecting drivers continue with their journey only to be held at check-points by other set of policemen for the reason that they have travelled unaccompanied by police escort. This according to our source is said to be a security breach.
Police personnel at the check-point it is alleged then will threaten the drivers with sanctions and in so doing delay the drivers to the extent that they are presented with no alternative than to bribe the police to secure early passage.
Our source alleges that the least amount of money doled out to the police illegally in such circumstances is GHC20.00 (Twenty Ghana Cedis) before drivers are released to continue their respective journeys.
According to the source, drivers who bear the brunt of this dastardly act are usually those in the mini-buses, long distance haulage trucks and vehicles with provisional registration plates.
The source indicated that policemen who are alleged to be perpetrators of these acts hardly detain large cross-country buses, knowing very well that for the same security reasons armed plain-clothed police and/ or soldiers are posted on these long distance buses to counteract any possible attempt by armed bandits to attack travelers.
Information The Al-Hajj received further alleges that once the escort teams terminate their uncompleted escort schedule, they communicate with colleagues at the next barrier or check-points informing them of the approaching convoy so as to facilitate their nefarious deeds and proceeds shared afterwards.
According to the source private cars are usually not bothered because of the likelihood of the occupants being influential and who could easily blow the lid if care is not taken in dealing with that category of vehicles.
There are also complaints regarding the fact that in most instances, not all vehicles in the convoy can keep pace with the escort vehicle resulting in a break in the convoy and rendering the slower moving vehicles left behind and thus prone to attack by armed bandits.

In this connection, according to the source, a spokesperson whom he declined to name has suggested that the escort teams be made up of vanguard and rear escort vehicles manned by armed security personnel to provide back-up security to travelers.
There is also the suggestion that constant independent military-cum-police highway patrol at regular intervals be introduced whilst familiarity and the possible connivance of security personnel and armed bandits to rob unsuspecting people must be seriously investigated.
Meanwhile, incidents of highway robbery along the stretch have lessened apparently due to the vigilance of the police in the two regional commands through which the highway passes.
The Al-Hajj has made many unsuccessful attempts to speak with the Public Affairs Director of the service on the subject.

Down Memory Lane
Highlights of NPP’s 2000 Manifesto Pledge (4)

Trade The trade liberalization policy adopted by the (P) NDC governments has subjected Ghanaian firms to unfair trade practices, including the dumping of cheap imports onto the Ghanaian market. Many Ghanaian firms unable to compete with foreign firm many of which enjoy government subsidies in their respective countries, has thus collapsed. The data on business failure over the last few years show distress state of many Ghanaian firms. In 1996, 377 Ghanaian firms failed; in 1997, 422 firms failed; 601 failed in 1998 and 608 failed in 1999. The prospect for the reversal of this trend under the current regime is rather