General News of Thursday, 18 August 2016
The governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) has described as a joke a survey by a democratic think-tank that found the party toping parties cited for vote buying.
Deputy NDC General Secretary, George Lawson, said the report which said government has been offering drinks and foodstuff to electorates for a second term bid is an insult to the intelligence of Ghanaians.
“What constitutes vote buying and why should the NDC be offering alcohol to over 14 million Ghanaian voters in this young democracy of ours?” he quizzed Evans Mensah, host of Joy FM’s Top Story programme, Thursday.
In its pre-election survey report, the Center for Democratic Development (CDD) found the NDC of leading political parties in vote buying ahead of the 2016 general election.
About 51 percent of Ghanaians who took part in the survey said the Mahama government has been offering gifts in exchange for their votes.
This was 19 percent higher than the percentage recorded by the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) which recorded 32 percent.
On his campaign trail in the Western Region, President Mahama has been gifting outboard motors to fisherfolk which has been described by the party as a donation to motivate the fishermen.
The President’s wife, Lordina Mahama, has also been donating assorted products to residents in different part of the country with her Lordina Foundation.
Reacting to the issue, Mr Lawson said the distribution of outboard motor by the President forms part of his responsibilities.
According to him, the fishery sector has been suffering some setbacks and government has found out that one of the solutions would be to distribute the motors to fishermen.
“The President has put up a package to revamp the sector which is going down,” he said.
In response to Mrs Mahama’s donations, he explained that the First Lady runs a foundation which goes around the country to distribute goods, adding, there is nothing wrong with what she is doing.
“She raises funds and gives them to people in places these things are needed,” he said, noting, the First Lady uses the resources judiciously.
He, however, could not believe why anybody would buy Ghanaians alcohol for an important thing as a vote.
The report of the study he believes is “one of the absurdities of life” he has ever heard in the country.
However, Executive Director of the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Linda Ofori-Kwafo, has described the development as worrying.
She said the things the President has been donating amounts to vote-buying and “nothing else” adding it is an abuse of incumbency.