Ghanaians now vote on issues, caliber of candidates – IEA survey

General News of Sunday, 1 March 2015

Source: Public Agenda

Presidential Candidates 2012

There is now a growing tendency on the part of Ghanaian voters to vote on issues, programmes and the calibre of candidates, a far departure from the past when most electors voted based on the ethnicity, religion, region and familial affiliation of contestants, according to a recent Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) survey.

“There is an emerging tendency for the survey from Ghanaians to vote on the basis of programs, calibre of candidates and less on ethnicity, religion and region of candidates, which is a good development,” IEA’s latest Socio-economic and Governance Survey indicated. The survey added that there are no significant ethnic and religious discrimination in Ghana.

“The policy of social inclusion and tolerance must be encouraged to maintain a stable social environment for development,” the survey stated.

It noted that there was a general perception of corruption among public institutions. “Improving the reputation of institutions will improve public perception and trust in these institutions. This will elicit public cooperation and support in the smooth running of these institutions.” According to the results of the survey, 23 percent of the respondents were of the opinion that almost all police officers were corrupt while 4.4 per cent said not all officers were corrupt.

“The police are followed closely by the Office of the President (19.2%), tax officials (15.4%) and members of parliament (15%) at fourth place. Others are government officials generally (13.9%), district chief executives (13.3%), judges/magistrates (13.1%), assemblymen/women (11.9%), immigration [officers] (10.4%) and the army (7.0%).”

The survey seeks to solicit and provide information on Ghanaians’ perceptions on a wide range of subjects such as economic and living conditions, public safety and security, media freedom and abuse, discrimination and relations among ethnic groups, factors that influence elections, among others.

It was conducted in the ten regions, and targeted persons aged 18 and above. Ashanti Region had the largest respondents of 18.8 per cent while the Upper West Region had the lowest of 3.6 per cent. Females made up 52.3 percent of the respondents and males 47.8 per cent.

While stating that Ghanaians feel safe in their neighbourhoods, the survey discovered that the media need to improve their image from the perception that they abuse their freedom by publishing sensational and sometimes false information.

It said unemployment was the most critical problem facing the country, and together with difficulties in the management of the economy, it was necessary to implement policies that would make the current growth more inclusive by increasing the efficient management of the economy.

“There is need for policy reforms that will speed up the rate of transmission of growth impulses into improved living conditions so that they can be realized by Ghanaians, especially with respect to employment.

Addressing issues of the economy is one area of concern to Ghanaians from the survey results. It is also the area in which the government performed least according to our survey results.

“Economic policies and programs need to refocus on the major areas of concern to Ghanaians: a) Keeping down prices b) creating jobs c) Narrowing the gap between rich and poor d) improving the living standards of the people.”