Gunmen Kill, Cut Private Parts Of 10 Vigilante Members In Zamfara

stabgunmen

Unidentified gunmen riding on motorcycles on Friday shot dead 10 members of the local vigilante group in an attack on Rukudawa village in Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara state.

The attack was disclosed to newsmen in a Friday interview in Zurmi by the Chairman of the local government, Alhaji Abdullahi Gurbin-Baure.

According to Gurbin-Baure, the killers came on motorcycles through the Dumburum/Rukudawa road and attacked members of the vigilante group killing all the 10 persons on duty.

The chairman added that the killers also removed the private parts of some of their victims and burnt all the motorcycles used by the members of the vigilante.

He said that he had already reported the matter to the state police headquarters and to the state government.

According to the chairman, the Deputy Governor of the state, Malam Ibrahim Wakkala attended the burial of the deceased.

Malam Musa Lawali, who claimed to have witnessed the incident, told NAN that the gunmen apparently came with the specific purpose of killing members of the vigilante group.

He said that this was because the gunmen did not attack any of the traders at the market.

Lawali, who was also a trader attending the Dumburum weekly market, said that the gunmen went straight to the members of the vigilante, who were on their routine patrol providing security to traders.

Also confirming the incident, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Usman Gwary said that the incident had been reported to the command.

He told reporters that he was on his way to the local government area, adding that he could not give further details as investigations had just commenced on the killings. [NAN]

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Gyan Probably Didn’t Rig The Elections

Feature Article of Thursday, 13 December 2012

Columnist: Badu, K.

Gyan Probably Didn’t Rig The Elections, The Nation Wreckers Did

I daresay only those who wish to plunge a nation into ‘darkness would think of rigging elections. Of course, the electorates were aiming to select someone they prefer to lead the nation. Sadly, they did not realise that they were only casting their votes only for the people who were entrusted with the counting of the votes to decide who comes to power.

I must admit, I take exception to the school of thought who frets that the Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Afari Gyan vicariously rigged the 2012 general elections in favour of the NDC party. Though, the Electoral Commissioner was the overall Returning Officer in this instance, the Commissioner was not present at the ‘crime scenes’. If indeed the elections were rigged, then, it was cunningly and contrariously executed by the ‘supposed winners’. Of course, such scheming guiles could only be made possible by the able connivance of the froward Electoral Officers, who were in the ‘fields’. If that was the case, then, the conclusion is, those squinty Electoral Officers were probably bought by the ‘nation wreckers’ without Dr. Afari Gyan’s knowledge. In any case, the discerning Ghanaians should not just scoff over such treasonable and villainous acts which have been perpetrated by the power intoxicated mountebanks.

We hear from credible NPP sources that the Blue Sheets figures which were the authentic figures from the polling stations were flagitiously changed by the Electoral Officers in the collation books before forwarding the newly created figures to the Electoral Commission headquarters. In fairness, based on what happened in Dome-Kwabenya Constituency, I can conclude that NPP party has ‘a case’. For instance, if it was not the attentiveness of the NPP Parliamentary candidate, things would have fallen apart in that constituency. To this end, I have no doubts whatsoever that, similar acts took place in other constituencies undetected.

Consequently, it is not surprising that the opposition NPP party has come out with admissible evidence ready to seek redress at the Supreme Court. I must admit, I am in acquiescence with NPP party in this instance. Indeed the people at the helm of the party are playing by the books, and, more importantly, they are not resorting to violence in this instance.

It is worth remembering that every defeat is bitter, and, it becomes more painful if there is unobjectionable evidence of foul play in the process. This is exactly what the NPP sympathisers are feeling at the moment. Let me point out that some people do not even take a defeat in a common football match lightly; they become extremely livid with the slightest provocation. So I was dumbfounded when I heard supposedly grown up men like Tony Aidoo and Asiedu Nketsia exhibiting sheer prankishness towards the leadership of the NPP party. To those urchins: You do not provoke aggrieved individuals in such a tensed period, you are stoking the situation in doing so. To this end, I will urge you lots to learn how to exercise restraint in periods like this.

Further still, in order to preserve our democracy, I urge the NPP party to proceed to the Supreme Court with the evidence. It is treasonable for any individual to change the will of the people in elections. I am pretty sure at least fifty per cent of Ghanaian voters support the stance you are about to take. And, we solemnly pray that the judges would nobly and boldly look into the case and arrive at a decision that would preserve the national ambiance. And, if indeed the verdict was stolen, then the right thinking Ghanaians must not look on nonchalantly. It is in the light of this that I am applauding NPP party for heading to the Supreme Court for redress.

Just envision how a government of a party who is happy to ‘steal votes in order to ‘rule Ghanaians would look like. ‘Your guess is as good as mine. If they can steal votes, what else is beyond their reach? I weep for Mother Ghana!

K. Badu, UK.

The Bad Mahama We All Avoided

Feature Article of Thursday, 13 December 2012

Columnist: Sarpong, Justice

Sarpong, Justice

I am one of those Npp supporters who thought Nana Akuffo Addo, after the Electoral Commissioner declared the results of the election should have called President Mahama and conceded defeat and congratulate him. I thought what we all saw about the EC did at Dome-Kwabenya constituency in Greater Accra region where the Returrning Officer tried to add 15,000 votes to Mahama’s tally was an isolated case but after listening to Jake Obetsebey Lamptey elaborate on many cases that took place, this might have been a planned operation that needs investigation by the EC but NPP was not given any hearing by the EC which told them to seek redress at the courts.

Mr Afari Djan would have done the nation a lot of good if he would have delayed the announcement for one more day and investigated the NPP complaint but he dismissed them like a Pupil Teacher dismissing his class one class, NO RESPECT. So the question then is, Is NPP having a hard time accepting a defeat or have a genuine case to be decided at the courts or Nana Akuffo Addo, an effervescent man has become a mulligrub?

Let see if NDC would have done the same if the shoe was on the other foot.Don’t forget it is the same mouth that the dog plays with that it uses to bite. Now Mahama is coming across as if he would have conceded defeat if he was in Nana Akuffo Addo’s shoes without complaining but the evidence shos otherwise.

On friday when the voting was going on and some people in his stronghold of Northern Region were being denied the right to vote because the biometric registration did not recognize their thumbprints and refusing them the right to vote, Mahama interjected himself in the electoral process and tried to intimidate the EC to allow these people to vote despite knowing the fact that it was against the laws of the voting process and this is what he said;

General News of Friday, 7 December 2012 Source: Joy Online

Let people with valid IDs vote; verification or not – Prez Mahama

President John Dramani Mahama has asked the Electoral Commission to allow voters with valid Voter ID cards cast their votes even if the verification machine fails to recognize them. He says it is unfair to disenfranchise some people because their identity cannot be verified by a piece of equipment.”

“A piece of Equipment”? This shows his contempt for the electoral process he is praising now when a constituency in Northern Region we understand was allowed voting to go on without the biometric machine after the machine has broken down. This was not the only time Mahama tried to influence the election. On Friday after the close of voting and some stations started to announce some results that were in favor of NPP and it looked grim for NDC, President Mahama tried to influence votes on sunday after some places have been granted the rights to continue voting on Saturday the 8th of December because their voting materials arrived too late or their machines malfunctioned. He was going to hold a press conference about the voting problems before people started voting again on Saturday.

General News of Friday, 7 December 2012 Source: Joy Online

Prez Mahama to address media on election issues

President John Dramani Mahama will be speaking to the press at 6am prompt on Saturday December 08, 2012. A statement issued by his Spokesperson John Jinapor said the press conference will focus on pertinent issues arising from the 2012 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections.”

Press conference on 6AM on saturday when he knew voting will start at 7 AM? Why Press conference to talk about election issues when voting has not been closed? Is there any history anywhere in the world where President has held a press conference at 6AM? What was the reason behind the early Press conference if it was not to intimidate voters and EC or for some influence peddling to his advantage?

Mahama is the kind of man if you praises him for killing a goat, he will impress you next time by killing a cow. He comes across as an affable humble guy but he is a very dangerous man when things are not going his way. It is when his back is against the wall when he shows his true character and he is usually bold when he is in the Norther regions where he feels secure to say things affable Mahama is not known to do. Who were he referring to as fools when he said this in Bole-Bamboi after he finished voting.

General News of Friday, 7 December 2012 Source: Efua Idan Osam

Vote so you are not governed by fools – Mahama

President John Mahama has called on Ghanaians to go out and vote in their numbers because “the price that wise people pay for not exercising their franchise is to be governed by fools.”

I wonder why the Peace Council led by Rev. Asante did not admonish President Mahama for his interference in the electoral process which could have marred our democratic process but did jump on Sir John who told the whole world that NPP is winning, the same thing Asiedu Nketiah has said .

Would Mahama had conceded defeat without complaining? Not from the way he comported himself immediately before, during and after the voting process so NDC should allow Nana Akuffo Addo to seek redress from the courts if he feels like he has been cheated so that our democratic process will be moored instead of kicking the can down the road. Nana Akuffo Addo in announcing his intention to seek redress from the court appealed to NPP supporters to not take the laws into their own hands and behave peacefully whilst he seek justice from the courts. We all know there can be no peace without justice. The EC advised him to seek redress from the court and he has taken the EC on its advice and doing just that. Let’s allow him to exhaust his options and if things go against him, then concede defeat and congratulate President Mahama, I think that is fair.

Justice Sarpong

Houston, Texas

(CARDINAL of TRUTH)

There Are Losers Within

Feature Article of Thursday, 13 December 2012

Columnist: Koffison, John

Yeah, losers are ethnocentric and small town individuals who adrift in the big city, generally try to keep their head above water and when their party is declared a winner of an election, then they portray the Election Commission as a fair and transparent institution; but when the ball turns the other way around, then hell turns loose and the Election Commission becomes corrupt, an institution above the law, yeah that is the real attitude of losers.

Losers are individuals who habitually choose behavior which prevents the development of their potential. A great deal of human behavior can be explained by people trying to convince themselves that they are not losers. Remember, a loser’s behavior is a statement about him, not a statement about others. When you call some people a bamsee you are not usually very annoyed with them or anything, it is kind of a light hearted way of describing loser behaviour.

Losers are people who are generally defined as a social outcast, “ones whose IQ is greater than their height and weight”. However, losers are not always smart. They may vary in different ways as they invoke fear.

In fact, the behavior of losers not only prevents the development of their potential, it eventually destroys it. No one is born a loser; you have to work at it. Losers are made, not born. They are a source of much pain and frustration to those who love them.

Losers have characteristics of proving something over and over, because that is what they are, and that is the way they think, they will just continue losing. But how can you identify losers? There are definitive patterns and indicators. If the person you are wondering about possesses even one of the following warning signs, then he or she is a loser; and I will illustrate these indicators with some facts from Michael J.K. Bokor taken from his article: “Compelling reasons why Akufo-Addo must be rejected”
? A loser displays any sort of hostility or aggression especially when unwarranted and unreasonable.
? Displays bizarre behavior. (Take it from me. Akufo-Addo hasn’t given us any convincing justification to warrant his being elected President. All he has done is to bandy about extravagant and fulsome promises, hoping that they will be snapped up by the electorate. He is more invested in dangling promises than demonstrating that he is a more capable candidate for the job. Extravagant and politically motivated promises don’t build countries)
? Displays blatant selfishness. (Every sane person should be very much shocked if the electorate buy into these vain promises to elect him. The explanation is simple.)
? Is a judgmental and critical immoralist. (Since leaving Kufuor’s government—driven by the morbid ambition he is now pursuing after an unimpressive performance—he hasn’t added any value to himself nor purged himself of all the obnoxious impressions that have dented his public image thus far.)
? Commits illegal acts (such as involvement with drugs or other criminal behavior.
? Has a restricted range of conversation in general and cannot make decisions without consulting a family member (e.g. The party’s Council of Elders will meet Tuesday to decide whether to go to court or concede defeat in the December polls.).
? Has a cruel sense of humor such as “all die be die”.
? Is voted out by his or her peers.
? Has no interest in hearing the point of view of others.
? Engages in juvenile attempts to win the attention and affection of others, and this at all cost.
? Is disrespectful to family members, friends or others.
?
The losers really loses it. They get mad easily, blow up, and do dangerous things, like throw stuff, get into fights, or threaten others. Though the losers promptly assure you that they are not really angry with you, but at others or the situation, you can be sure that their hostility and violence will eventually be directed at you.

LIVING WITH A LOSER
Taking responsibility for him cripples him because it prevents him from doing those things he must do to be a fully functioning adult. How will he ever learn if you do it for him? Taking responsibility for him undermines his self-respect because if you take care of him he doesn’t get the self- approval that comes from being responsible.

DO NOT SHIELD HIM FROM THE NATURAL CONSEQUENCES OF HIS BEHAVIOR
Consequences are what happens as the result of an antecedent behavior. In other words, consequences are what happens as a result of something you do. Consequences provide feedback as to the effectiveness of the behavior allowing the individual to stop, modify, or continue the behavior. In short, consequences are a learning device. We tend to continue doing things which give us pleasure and quit doing things which give us pain. If the consequences are removed how can we learn? While it is true not everyone learns from consequences, no one learns without them. To shield a loser from the consequences of his behavior is to teach him that the rules don’t apply to him. He will therefore act any way he wishes believing someone will always rescue him at the last minute.

You must not act as if what happens to him is more important to you than it is to him. If you do, he’ll let you be responsible for it. Consequences don’t teach you anything if you never experience them. It is sad to see someone you love in trouble, but it is not an act of love to shield him from the consequences of his conduct. Every time you rescue him you are casting your vote in favor of him being a loser.

DO USE EFFECTIVE INTERVENTION
There is only one time when intervention can be effective and that is when it is requested. Advice is difficult enough to take when it is requested. Unsolicited advice merely strengthens resistance by implying a superior-inferior relationship. Don’t offer to assist the loser do a single thing unless he requests that assistance. You may inform him that you have resources available to refer him to, but don’t offer them unless he requests them.

DO SET REALISTIC LIMITS
Set realistic limits on the amount of dysfunctional behavior you are willing to accept and then stick to them. The area you need to place limits on is any behavior by him which detracts from the quality of your life. Do not permit the consequences of the loser’s behavior to spill over into your life. You must firmly limit that behavior.

However, do not ever make threats you are not willing to enforce, and willing to live with when they are enforced. It is realistic to be unwilling to accept criminal behavior, potentially life-threatening behavior, and behavior that destroys your self-esteem such as chronic verbal abuse. Not putting firm limits on these behaviors is the same as giving permission for them to occur again. If this behavior occurs, demand that it stop. If it occurs even one more time, move him out and get a court order to enforce it if necessary

ACT AS A ROLE MODEL
The most positive thing you can do for the loser is to tell him you love him, but you understand that if he wants to destroy his life no one can stop him but himself. Tell him you love him, but you will not permit him to destroy your life also. Then live a life you would be proud to have him imitate.

John Koffison
New York, New York (USA)

Post-Election Apathy: When Would Thou Depart Ghanaians?

Feature Article of Thursday, 13 December 2012

Columnist: Marcel, Gideon

“I’m not afraid to take a stand” – Eminem (Recovery Album, 2010)

Within the last three days, I have switched off everything environmental activism, just so I could take a journey to the polling shrine to outdoor my thumbprint. However colloquial it may sound with a smirk of pun, explains how we have ritualized the electoral process. So I didn’t miss it, else I wait for another four (4) years to ink my thumb in a make-shift brown paper box full of some men am not supposed to trust.

I don’t support any political party because I have always believed that within our current partisan political system, no single political party in power can deliver a transformational change. People strongly disagree, I accept their views. But because I do vote anyway, this belief and experience is an occasional nightmare. Maybe I don’t know what I want as it is with many people, but at least I do know very well that I want something different, a set of different values, or at least a chance at different values.

It was amazing the level of passion and wild-eyed sentiments that characterized the voting exercise within the last few days. Citizens were adrenalized both for the right and wrong reasons. Tempers flared and insults were traded as emotions took wings to fly against logical gravity. I shudder to envision the post election electorate-interaction with the same political system. Historically, our post election engagement zaps the hoopla for all the puff, propaganda and hysteria of the election itself, no matter how you slice it to make meaning to an unassuming greenhorn. After voting, we retreat to our most comfortable la-la land with drowsy eyes.

When activists resurrect issues of political accountability, transparency and sustainability, we speak to the issues with a voice in italics, with sly gestures matching a face muscled by question and quotation marks. Our democracy keeps on growing, but fails woefully to develop. It is in perfect equilibrium with a hypothetical photoshop display of a cow walking in a china shop in confusion o’clock. Politicians continue to damp hot water on us, we pat with cold water and life goes on.

We haven’t received accountability because we haven’t asked for it loudly and ‘forcefully’ enough. The fact is that we all enjoy some rights and privileges today because some people challenged the prevailing status quo and argued that life can be lived differently. Unfortunately, leadership crisis amongst our politicians and educational crisis amongst literates and illiterates alike have teamed up to produce and direct a 3D box office that questions our own commitment to the change we all profess we need. So the insults, tribal sentiments, foul mouth and baloney language have become part of our democracy. Oh we accept it is.

Of course, we can’t complain, and we shouldn’t. The fact of the matter is that the ‘marginalization of dissenting narratives and the narrowing of the scope of political imagination couldn’t have happened without our silent consent’. That said, corruption is not the cause of our poverty, it is just a symptom of it. The cause is not even the apathy in the courtroom receiving a trial on this paper. The real cause is lethargy. Too many of us really do care, but we don’t care enough, as caring is only shown in action.

We will continue to talk about transparency, we will preach accountability and channel through sustainability, no matter how small our audience might be. We don’t mind if activists are only 1%, what we care about is that small fraction making our voice heard consistently. “Psychologists have found that people absorb information selectively, picking and choosing those facts that fit into their already-established worldviews. Yet psychologists have also found that familiarity breeds fondness: Repeated exposure to a new idea leads to progressively lower fear and avoidance and even, eventually, sometimes, to acceptance”.

So history is on our side, transformational change will eventually come, then we can smile like a Cheshire Cat. Say Amen to that!

Gideon Marcel (Community Organizer, Writer & Poet)

Mahama’s Victory Will Be Senseless If….

Feature Article of Thursday, 13 December 2012

Columnist: Akyena Brantuo

Akyena Brentuo

Whilst Ghanaians continue to celebrate a successful and peaceful election, the NDC government must be humbled by the reality that it owes its electoral victory to the sacrifices of ordinary, homeless, hungry, and jobless Ghanaians who stood long hours in the burning sunshine to cast their vote.

It is significant to note that ordinary poor Ghanaians stood with the NDC in its crucial moment of depression, especially when the party and government had its back against the wall, following the Woyome scandal, Konadu’s resignation and the formation of her NDP, death of Prof. JEA Mills, no campaign/support from former President Jerry John Rawlings, and having to use only three months to campaign for re-election.

As the saying goes, every good turn deserves the other. The least the NDC government can do is to also keep faith with our poor folks by:

1. Giving them a government of quality leadership, made of the best experienced professionals, with enormous understanding of the reality of the Ghanaian economic, social, health and educational crises and have solutions and timelines to address same.

It will be suicidal for the government to reward party loyalists who lack the experience and competence with political appointments, only to end up underperforming. This will not only affect our chances in the next election, it will also be seen as unethical and insensitivity to the plight of the ordinary Ghanaian.

2. Taking practical steps to implement the fantastic ideas in the NDC manifesto such as:

• making basic education completely free within the first four years of the government;

• building 10 new teacher training colleges;

• a university in the Eastern region;

• 200 new senior high schools;

• making sure that SHS education is free by 2016.

The others include:

• creating jobs through GHc10 million Youth Jobs and Enterprise Fund;

• increase SADA support of small holder farmers from 16,000 farmers to 40, 000 in four years;

• the Western Corridor Gas Infrastructure,

• graduate Business support schemes;

• rehabilitation of the abandoned Kumasi jute factory, Aboso Glass factory, implementation of plans for an integrated Iron and steel industry at Oppong Manso; and

• achieving a full middle income economy with positive micro economic indicators such as a single digit inflation, strong currency and over 8% annual GDP growth.

It is unacceptable to measure the maturity of Ghana’s democracy, only by how peaceful the ordinary people cast their votes and accept the outcome. A mature democracy must also be measured by the commitment of political leaders to implement the flurry of ideas that procured their electoral victory.

I supported JDM to become President not only because I am a member of the NDC. However, it is my considered opinion that out of all the candidates who put themselves up for this election, JDM had the kind of leadership qualification, experience, personality traits, understanding of the Ghanaian situation and the practical solutions to move the country forward.

I supported him because I have no reason to doubt his claims of caring for Ghana’s poor and determination to build a country and an economy where opportunities exist for all to succeed.

I voted for JDM because I believe he is the only person at this moment who can unite a beautiful country which unfortunately appears to be sharply divided along partisan lines.

These are the qualities I voted for ! And I know I speak for thousands of poor Ghanaians who equally voted for the NDC.

The wild celebrations of the NDC’ victory by ordinary Ghanaians and hardworking NDC cadres is understandable . They have earned it. But the people of Ghana can only have true celebration and bliss if their vote for JDM translates into economic prosperity and development of our country.

If voting one-touch for JDM and the government of the NDC translate into economic salvation for our poor people, I have no doubt in my mind that the good people of Ghana will once again queue for several hours to renew the NDC’ mandate in 2016 without any hesitation.

I wish the President God’s wisdom, good health and strength to succeed.

God bless us all.

Akyena Brantuo Benjamin

[email protected]

When The Vote Is Skewed! – Ebo Quansah Writes

At long last, the battle is ended, and our transitional Head of State, John Dramani Mahama, has officially been proclaimed President of the Republic of Ghana. According to an official announcement by Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Chairman on the Electoral Commission, the President-elect polled 5,574,761 of the popular vote, representing 50.7 percent of the valid votes cast.

His closest rival, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party, was credited with 5,248,898 votes, which translates into 47.74 percent. All the smaller parties combined managed a paltry 1.56 percent of the popular vote.

On the basis of passing the 50 percent threshold on the official score-card of the Electoral Commission, caretaker President John Dramani Mahama was declared President-elect. He will be officially sworn in at the Independence Square in Accra, on Monday, January 7, 2013.

Yesterday, the President was at the Obra Spot, near the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra, to officially accept his victory. Though he sounded reconciliatory, his speech may not cut much ice with followers of the largest opposition party, which is alleging massive rigging. At the time of going to press, officials of the New Patriotic Party were scheduled to meet today, to decide on the party’s next line of action. I can state on authority that the NPP will head for the courts to seek redress.

In the opinion of the party leadership, there was large scale rigging, in which President John Dramani Mahama was alleged to have been credited with figures he did not earn. On the other hand, votes won by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo were allegedly reduced drastically.

On Sunday, the NPP issued an official statement alleging wide-spread fraud in the compilation of the election results.

“Substantial discrepancies have been discovered from results from collation centres when compared with officially tally figures from the EC. Considering the closeness of the polls, this error is very significant, and goes to the heart of the credibility of the results. Indeed, we have enough concrete evidence to show that the 2012 presidential election was won by our candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo,” the statement alleged.

Yesterday, as thousands of National Democratic Congress supporters welcomed President Mahama’s victory speech by singing and dancing into the night, thousands of NPP supporters turned the front entrance of Nana Akufo-Addo’s Nima residence into Ghana’s version of Tahir Square in Cairo. They were demanding the immediate declaration of their candidate as President-elect of the Republic of Ghana.

A driver, who threatened to drive through the crowd, had his vehicle seriously damaged. Eyes are red. I do not think the best the Electoral Commission could do was to wave the NPP protest aside and direct officials of the party to court..

What happened in the Dome-Kwabenya and Ablekuma West constituencies, especially, clearly indicate that a lot might have gone wrong with the collation of results. In both constituencies, the NPP candidates were initially short-changed. Ms. Adwoa Safo and Ursula Owusu were declared losers when, in fact, both had won handsomely.

The normally quiet and affable Adwoa Safo suddenly grew wild. She insisted on re-checking the Red Sheet containing polling booth results. It turned out that nearly 10,000 votes she received had vanished.

I thought I heard an official of the Greater Accra Regional branch of the NDC claim on television that the counting machine had made a mistake. At the collation centre in the Ablekuma West Constituency, NPP candidate Ms. Ursula Owusu was also initially given a raw deal. She stood her ground and insisted that not only had she won, Ms. Owusu had done so handsomely. When the collation was re-done, she was the clear winner.

I find it amazing that votes could be lost and gained at the collation centres when the polling booths had registered their numbers. I get the impression that there is some form of collusion somewhere. What is interesting is that the game of votes gained and lost appears to be a systematic plan of top officials of political parties who have found it convenient to manipulate the vote to suit their own agendas.

In 2008, Sheikh I. C. Quaye and veteran Prof. Mike Oquaye, NPP parliamentary candidates in the Ayawaso Central and Dome-Kwabenya constituencies respectively, were declared losers after the figures had allegedly been collated. The two NPP big shots would not give in, insisting on recounting of the ballots. When the exercise was done, both had won handsomely.

These examples give serious cause to worry. We may be one of the most celebrated emerging democracies in contemporary Africa, in terms of our ability to hold elections without violence. But that does not give unscrupulous people the right to rig elections by bribing electoral officers.

The concern being raised by the opposition NPP goes to the heart of the governing process. When the wrong people find themselves in power as a result of the manipulation of the people’s vote, the problem of Alfred Agbesi Woyome and his GH¢51 million dole-out becomes a major fall-out.

Yesterday, I heard the President making a pledge to curb corruption, and extending a hand to the different shades of political opinions in this country.

One of the wishes of the majority of Ghanaians he could deal with immediately is to ensure the return of the Woyome gargantuan fraud money. Some of us would like a complete change of direction. I have my doubt, though. So long as some characters remain in leadership positions in the party, curbing corruption would be a tall order.

Still on election. I have a number of other concerns. Certain unscrupulous party top shots have over the years been greasing the palms of electoral officers sympathetic to their cause to fiddle with figures from the polling booths at the collation centres. It is definitely not a new phenomenon. But the situation appears to be far from abating.

Apart from the naked fraud at collation centres, there is a problem or two with the understanding the electorate. I have heard top officials of the state proclaiming this country as a matured democracy. But I can state without any inhibition that a number of our electorates do not know what they vote for.

In more cases than one, people vote without regards to the quality of candidates on offer. My beloved Ekumfi Constituency has just sent a person to Parliament who might not be of any use in any of the official functions of Parliament House.

Abeeku Crentsil, who won on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress, cannot even boast of the old Middle School Leaving Examination. On the campaign trail, anytime the MP-elect tried to speak English, people ran for cover. What is frustrating is that he competed against a candidate who is an accountant and has a master’s degree.

Apart from voting because of the party, many electorates are influenced by small largesse to sell their birth-right. We may be a vibrant emerging democracy. The stark truth is that our votes do not appear to reflect on our wishes. We have a long way to go before most Ghanaians would truly appreciate why we vote.