Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Biometric Voters Registration Exercise at Rolyat Castle.

The much talked about Biometric Voters Registration Exercise got underway in all polling stations across the country. The exercise would be taking place in turns every 10 days from one registration centre to the other. Ghanaians from all walks of life are trooping to their polling stations in their numbers and the Electoral Commission is satisfied with the patronage of the registration exercise. However there were some challenges as the exercise got started. Here are some of the views of prospective voters in the December 2012 polls at one registration centre called Rolyat Castle in Accra.

Felix Awuah (Car Dealer)
“I have been here for 30 minutes and I am still in the queue waiting to be registered. What has delayed the process so much is that the biometric terminals are not picking the finger prints of many people so you are therefore asked to wait until the programme is able to pick your prints.
Quiet a number of people have also had their details successfully captured by the computerized system so they have no problems and as you can see, all of these people standing over there have their cards.
I suggest that at every registration centre, a computer expert be stationed there to resolve these problems when they come up.”

Elizabeth Aubynn (Business woman)
“The ladies and gentlemen conducting the registration exercise here are doing a very good work because of the patience they are working with in spite of the stress and the huge number of people who are trooping here.
Although I came here at half past nine I am yet to have my turn and it is already eleven- thirty six. The only explanation we have been given for the delay is that the scanner of the computer has frozen and it takes quiet sometime before it gets back to work.
It is quiet unfortunate that people have gathered so much interest in taking part in this registration exercise and yet not much arrangement has been made to accommodate all of them.
Certainly, the registration exercise was started too late and that is one of the reasons we have had to bring too much pressure to bear on the machines being used in the registration exercise.”

Anita Ludtteroit (Beautician)
What I can say since I arrived here is that the exercise is going so well and I am sure that in the next one hour about sixty people will have been registered.
The only difficulty is that a lot more people arrived very late at the centre and they are in a hurry to get registered and that is what is causing so much confusion here.
I believe that everyone of us here have a good reason for leaving behind our work to participate in this registration process so we must all be patient.
I also want to suggest that the date for the ending of the registration exercise be extended else many people will be disenfranchised out of no fault of theirs.
The registration exercise must certainly be extended all over the country because there has been a lot of interest generated and we must make sure that we assist them to cast their ballot in December.”

Albert Agyare (Farmer)
I have gone through the process already and I have my I.D here with me as I am talking to you.
 Physically the I.D’s are the same compared to the previous one but this one comes with more details about the persons who have turned in to be registered.
I prefer this system of registration because it would be difficult for anyone to go to any polling station to cast their ballots two or three times as it happened in many places in this country during the 2008 elections and the years before that.
The electoral mal-practices which have characterized the politics of this country is gradually fading away and I am sure that another system which is more credible and would block all the loopholes is being brought in to replace the old system.
If India with a population of 170 million is able to register all of its electorates in 1 day, then what could possibly be preventing Ghana from also doing same given how far we have come after 55 years of independence from British Colonial rule?”

Harriet Nana Serwah (Networker)
I think what has caused a bit of confusion at this station is that people came in and did not bother to ask who was the last person at the station.
So just when the registration officers decided to allocate numbers in order to make the process a bit more orderly, there was a rush for numbers and those who have been here earlier could not get numbers which puts them in front. It is obvious that by five in the evening everyone would have had their turn.
Another problem is that there is just too much writing and paper work and that has also delayed the process substantially.
I do networking and I do know that it is possible to feed in the details of voters into the system and then have the computer print those details onto the I.D’s immediately on hard plastic cards like the ID’s of most private companies without wasting anytime at all.
In future, we should be looking at computerizing the whole registration exercise so that workers should not be spending valuable time at the polling station although this exercise is also crucial and very important for the development and the politics of this country.”

Joshua Gyan (Entrepreneur)
The only challenge we are facing here at the Harvard School or the Royalt Castle is that the tumb print pad cannot identify some of the finger prints so that is what is delaying the whole process.
 If you get to the computer and it is not able to scan your finger prints, then it is obvious that you would have to wait until it is able to do so.
Sometimes the fingers just are placed on the machine wet and if the man behind the computer forgets to clean it, then you would be required to stay a bit longer until the error is rectified.
I also want to take advantage of the private companies not to hold their workers in their work places for too long because they are Ghanaians and they cherish so much the right to choose leads them.
I do know that in their countries of origin they participate fully in the electoral processes and that is why I insist that they should release their workers to go out and get counted.”

Tajudeen Amadu (Student)
The right to vote is enshrined in the constitution of Ghana and the only license which will permit us to participate in the electoral process is the I.D cards and before you get the I.D cards you must register.
 We can only decide who leads this country because we have the right to vote and be voted for and for that matter I want to call on all Ghanaians to participate in this registration exercise because it is our duty.
If you are happy about the manner in which the President has managed the affairs of the country and you want him to continue in that fashion then wherever you are just get close to the registration centre and take part in the process because that is very necessary.”

Monday, March 26, 2012

Views from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) rally at Mantse Agbboena.

The ruling National Democratic Congress held a rally for thousands of party members in the heart of Greater Accra, Mantse Agboena, on Saturday 17th March 2012. The turn-out was huge and has sparked the enthusiasm of the party in knocking out the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) in a possible first round of voting in Deember. Here are what a few of the people at the rally grounds had to say about the party and other matters:

I have taken time off my job to attend this rally today because I am convinced that it is only the NDC which can take Ghana to the Promised Land.
We have a President who is honest and patriotic and will not rent out Ghana to America like the NPP did in 8 years.
My expectations of the Mills administration have not been met in its entirety but I see a genuine attempt by this government to raise the standard of living of every Ghanaian irrespective of one’s ethnic group or political party affiliation. My presence here today is to add up to the numbers in show of absolute trust and support for Atta Mills.”

The completed projects I saw on TV that were being commissioned by the President brought so much joy to my heart.
One of the projects happens to have been put up at a school my sister attends in the Central Region and I cannot narrate to you the joy and excitement with which she told me the school received the completed structure when she came on vacation very recently.
 All over the country the NDC administration is doing things to minimize the sufferings of the people and that is why I am confident that a vote for President Atta Mills would make me or a relative a better person and we are standing firm with a salute for our father because he would never abandon us.
I also plead with the party executives and the members of parliament to make time and visit their constituencies and wards to let the members of the party know exactly what is happening in government.
All though we know the party is doing well, we are not able to explain to people exactly what that is happening because we do not have information.
 The party must have people who go round all the wards of the party and communicate with them. I do not see why small leaflets and pamphlets cannot be distributed to the party members in the constituencies and wards containing figures and indicators of what the party is doing in government so we can do effective advocacy for the party.”

I have always believed that it is God who makes Kings and once he has elevated you no one can go against your throne.
Our heavenly father has told us that he makes everything beautiful in his own time and that we should never cease praying because he hears our prayers.
On two occasions when President Mills contested the elections and lost, he did not give up and he never made desperation take the better part of him.
He waited patiently until he was called by God to lead his people and in spite of the challenges and the stormy weathers that have confronted him; he is still piloting the plane with courage and I know that when we get to our destination, he would land successfully.
I have no fear at all because I know the good lord is with him and he would comfort him in his times of sorrow.”

I am standing at this location because I want to catch a glimpse of my husband when he arrives at the rally.
You have no idea the love I have for Atta Mills. I do not have many years to live but I know that if I should die today, our country will be in the hands of a responsible man who has the country at heart.
 My only worry is that there are too many young people without jobs which can give them sustainable incomes and because of that, they are turning to ways of life I am not happy about. The factories and companies which existed under Kwame Nkrumah must be brought back because that is the only way we can ensure that Ghanaians are employed and are paid decent wages.
Anytime I see Atta Mills it makes me remember the times Nkrumah mobilized the women and told them of the plans he had for the country and what he wanted us to do to help him.
My roots can be found in the CPP but Atta Mills has won my heart and that is why I would vote for him in December this year if God will sustain the breath in me for the months ahead.
It has been a very long time since I attended a rally and the young ones over here think the older ones are strong as they are.
I would go home soon because they are coming in droves and I am finding it difficult to catch my breath.”
I am a retired soldier and I know when I see a man who is steadfast, courageous and patriotic. There is so much suffering in this world in which we live today because selfishness has consumed the world.
We no longer feel for the plight of our fellow men and the love for country which once existed very strongly in our midst is fast dying.
I am here because of the respect the President has for the men in uniform including those who have retired.
The young men in the service have told me of the salaries they are receiving and that brings me joy.
Why should a man dedicate his life for the State in times of war and for the defense of his country and yet at the end of the month, he does not have enough to send home to feed his wife and children? I am very grateful for what the President has done.”
It’s good that once in a while, the members of the National Democratic Congress come together and hear what the leaders of our party have to tell us in terms of how the party has performed in office.
We cannot expect the NPP to do that because they are bent on lying and painting a bad image of our party.
The rally of today will serve as an opportunity for the leaders within the party to mingle with the rank and file and they will educate us and tell us what we have been able to do with the mandate of the people of Ghana.
As you can see everyone is excited and I hope you would be around when the President arrives because it’s going to be a special welcome.

Over here in the NDC we place a lot of value and respect for human life. We recognize that there are lots of poor people in any given society and as you cannot prevent the rise of the rich, we make sure that the poor are supported and not taken advantage of by the rich in society.
That is what the NDC stands for. The number of people you find here today must tell you what will happen in December.
We are leaving no stone unturned in ensuring victory for President Mills and the NDC at the December polls.
We are going to be very vigilant and protect the ballot boxes because for the very first time, there will be no bloating of the voters register because it will just not be tolerated.”

I am voting for the NDC because we do not want strangers to lead this country. We need men of exceptional love for humanity to lead this country.
We saw what they did in this country and we do not want a repetition of it because we want progress in our lives.
We support the NDC not because of money or favours but because we know what it is capable of doing in raising the standards of living of the people.
We are not going back to the days of vengeance and bitterness because what has happened in the past must serve as a lesson for the future and not to score cheap political points.
We agree with our founder that crimes were committed by the NPP and some of them must be arrested but I think that we should leave them to their conscience. We have a country to build and all effort must be channeled in that direction.”

God has been so kind to this nation over the past three years and we need to give praises to him.
We are enjoying the gospel music blaring from across the street and as we dance we will be counting our blessings.
 I pray to God that he blesses the President with good health so that as we go into the campaign season he would have the strength to move to every corner of the country.
He is always relying of God for directions and I know that the Almighty God in whom we repose our trust would never forsake him.”

Ododiodioo is ready to do for the NDC what it has always done. This is the heart beat of Greater Accra so we determine who would be made President of Ghana.
The God who made the sea and all the living creatures within it is bringing our President home today and he would protect him and guide him.
He has heard our cry to make Atta Mills a two term president and he would grant us our wish. I think the President must start his house to house campaign again because we want him to get very close to the people.”

I am sad that President Rawlings did not turn up for the event because he has come a long way with the party.
We would have been happy to see him alongside the President on the platform but that I think will not happen as there is no sign of him.
Whatever differences exist between him and the President I ask that the Party finds a way of resolving it.
I plead with President Rawlings to stop the insult of the party officials because they are all we have.
 If he did not have trust in them, he would not have campaigned for the party in the 2008 elections. There are divergent views in every society but that must make us strong rather than divide the party.”

I hope you would bear with me that Atta Mills has brought light to this country and that is manifest in the way and manner the Americans and the Chinese are seeking his attention.
This is an election year so if the President of America invites our President to his country then you must know that the Americans are fully behind us.
The Americans know very well that with Atta Mills, cocaine will no longer find its way into Ghana and other parts of the world.
Eric Amoateng, that NPP parliamentarian disgraced this country when he went and sold cocaine in America and we do not want any of that to happen in this country again.”

The NDC is the only political party which does not discriminate against any group or ethnic grouping in this country.
We are a united party with a common purpose and ambition. The young men and women you find here today symbolize the future and the strength of the NDC and that is why this party is special compared to others.
The NPP is made of old men and women and you know that December 2012 is not for the meek.
We are coming out in our millions to prove to the other political parties that the NDC has come to stay.
As we usher President Mills into his second term of office, we are gearing up to prepare the grounds for a smooth takeover of the leadership by John Mahama, that smiling handsome man. What we decide is final because the youth of this country are the King makers.”

Many things are happening within the NPP which rather unfortunately we do not seem to know much about.
With the NPP the Akyem section of that party know that if Akuffo Addo does not win the elections, then their time in that party is over.
They are therefore trying very hard to make sure that in case Akuffo Addo does not win they would find someone to lead the NPP as a stooge for the Akyems.
I am very sure that the NPP knows very well they cannot win the December elections but they are trying very hard to make a statement.
Within the NDC I think it is important that we are made to know exactly what the problem is with Former President Rawlings because many things are happening which we must know. For President Rawlings not to attend this rally means that all is not well.”