Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ghana Elections - A View From The Outside -One Week To The US Elections

By Karen Attiah

Its one week to the US elections, and the world is waiting with baited breath as Americans both home and abroad cast their votes for the next leader of the United States. I myself as an expatriate sent in my ballot last week. As a foreigner in Ghana, I find it amazing that so many people watch the U.S. elections so closely. I stayed up for each and every debate, and more times than not, other Ghanaians watched as well. I can find Obama bumper stickers and T-Shirts here. MTN, one of the mobile phone carriers and Joy FM have created a text message subscription service that offers customers US election news for just one Ghana Cedi. I signed up and told my other friends about it as well.

But with one week to go until one of the biggest elections in recent global history, all I can say is that Americans on both sides of the political divide are nervously biting their nails. An article from MSNBC describes this wide spread what I would call "Pre-Election Syndrome", evidenced by symptoms of loss of sleep, addiction to television and internet updates on poll numbers, and a penchant for getting into heated political debates with all those who come within three feet.  ( See Lets face it, Americans feel deeply invested in this election. As the article states, "elections generate so much stress because we [Americans] vote out of a very, very core place in our has to do with their existential view of how the world works and the fear is that a candidate who shares a different worldview is rattling." To many people, they cannot even imagine what the world would look like if their preferred presidential candidate happened not to win. A loss for their preferred candidate, in a winner take all situation, resembles a life-or-death type of game.

I know I exhibit some of the symptoms of Pre Election Syndrome.

But what about Ghana? What are the symptoms of Pre Election syndrome in Ghana? Is it evidenced by higher sales of political newspapers? Higher listenership to radio stations? Are citizens with access to television finding themselves glued to it? Are political discussions around the dinner table more heated? As most of us know, an unfortunate symptom of Pre-Election Syndrome here is the potential for violent confrontations between party supporters at rallies. Regrettably, within the past week, there have been several instances of clashes between the NPP and the NDC parties. Additionally, PES comes with extra political sensationalism in the media, rumor-mongering, heated rhetoric from candidates, and loud arguments over the radio airwaves between party leaders. All of these factors help to raise the temperature of the nation as a whole.

But as an outsider, what I fail to understand in Ghana is where the heat is coming from. Sure, the Ghana elections are a "first past the post" 50+1 contest as I understand it. But in terms of ideologies, I wish someone could tell me what fundamentally distinguishes the NPP from the NDC, the two major players in the race. For instance, Republicans in the United States are known to ideologically favor small government regulation in individual affairs, while Democrats favor funding large government projects and regulation. Im speaking broadly here, but on social issues, Republicans tend to be socially conservative, with objections to gay marriage, and abortion, while Democrats favor inclusiveness concerning marriage and civil unions, and supporting a woman's right to choose. But in the Case of the NPP and NDC, what are the basic differences between the parties, besides the personalities? I would welcome comments.

As for my vote........Obama/Biden 2008!!!

Credit :  African

Saturday, October 11, 2008

EC Ghana To speed Up "overseas"results

The Electoral Commission is to install communication gadgets in areas in the country described as "overseas", to ensure that the election results in those areas are released on time.

The "Overseas" areas are scattered settler communities in parts of the three northern regions, as well as the Eastern and western regions.

They are described as "oversea communities" because of their inaccessibility particularly during the rainy season.
Hubert Akomea, Director of information Technology, speaking at a two day PenPlusBytes/OSIWA/GJA workshop on Election coverage using ICT," IN Accra yesterday, said the EC had identified 60 such areas where it would install communication gadgets to get the results released on time.
The workshop was aimed at equipping media practitioners with the necessary ICT skills in their coverage of the December poll to ensure accurate information flow.

Mr. Akomea said with the prompt receipt of the results from those areas, the EC should be able to release the results within 48 hours.
He said in addition to the radio and satellite communication gadgets, the rest of the country would as usual, continue to use the faxes and ICT equipment already in place.

"We are using this dual transmission so that when one is down the other serves as a back-up," he explained.
Mr. Akomea said the EC was consulting with some private companies to mount electronic bill boards to transmit the results digitally from the nine regional capitals, outside Accra.

Ghanaian Times/

Wednesday, October 08, 2008



 26th to 27th September at Grand Bassam, Cote d' Ivoire
 9th to 10th October at Accra, Ghana

19TH to 19th November, Conakry, Guinea



  The International Institute for Information and Communication  Technologies (ICT) Journalism - Penplusbytes, in collaboration with the Ghana Journalists Association , REPPRELCI (Réseau de Professionnels de la presse en Ligne de Côte d'Ivoire and other key partners  with support from Open Society Initiative for  West Africa (OSIWA) is organizing two sets of training for Ghana and Cote d'lvoire.
  This training workshop is in line with the vision of ensuring the media is empowered to provide high quality coverage of the upcoming Ghana's and Cote d'lvoire elections using ICTs.


  1. Print
  2. TV
  3. Radio
  4.Community Radios
  5. Online

  Workshop Content

-          The Electoral System -legal, constitutional, processes, supervision,
monitoring and observation

-          Excellence in Elections coverage - pre, during and post periods:

-           Use of ICTs in Elections content generation, publishing and monitoring




Local and International experts are expected to facilitate this
important workshop providing insight both from theoretical and practical
aspects of elections coverage.

Workshop Segments

1.       Online segment

2.       Face to Face Segment

3.       Online Segment


Course Delivery

-          Maximum use of Interactive presentations

-          Course Work

-          Group Discussion

-          Hands on





-          Seek to serve as an introduction to the course

-          Assess the level of ICTs skills of participants

-          Provides an opportunity for participants to play with online tools especially blogging







Part One


-          Opening Ceremony and launch

-           Introduction of Participants

-          Learning objectives and learning Contract

Cocoa Break



Part Two

-          The Electoral System  - History, legal and  constitutional

-          The Electoral System  -processes and  supervision,
monitoring and observation

-          The Electoral System  - monitoring and observation

-          Group Work and  Discussions




Part Three


-          Excellence in Elections coverage - pre, during and post periods

-          The role of investigative reporting in Election coverage


o       potential electoral frauds in order to be accurate, effective and preserve peace in electoral period (during elections process and post election process)

o        Follow-up of the deliberation process at the electoral commission (during elections process)

o        Candidates' campaign accounts follow-up (post election process)



·         Ethical issues to care for, while investigating in electoral period

-          Group Work and Discussions


Part Four

-          introduction to PENPLUSBYTES/OSIWA Elections Project






-          Recall of day one and review of learning objectives

-          Introduction to ICT Journalism

-          Convergence

Cocoa Break



-          Introduction to the Use of ICTs in Elections content generation, publishing and monitoring

-          Tools of our trade – video and video blogging

-          Tools of our trade – online photos and audio






-          Tools of our Trade – online tools – websites, blogs and Mapping

-          Tools of our Trade -  mobile journalism – SMS

-          Group Work and Discussion



-          PENPLUSBYTES/OSIWA newsroom Project

-          Course Evaluation and distribution of certificates

-          Conclusion


-          follow up

-          monitor online content of participants

-          review post elections issues

-          Peer Assist







Friday, October 03, 2008

ICT Key For Effective Election Reportage- ICT Expert

The use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) tools by the media is crucial to ensuring effective reportage in the December general elections, an ICT expert observed on Thursday.

Mr. Ibrahim Inusah, Executive Secretary of the Ghana Information Network for Knowledge Sharing (GINKS) who made the observation, said adopting ICT would facilitate the media's role in monitoring and ensuring transparency in the elections.

 Mr. Inusah was speaking to newsmen after a day's workshop organised by GINKS in Accra to expose journalists to the use of ICT for election reportage.

 He indicated that media knowledge on ICT was low, hence the need to build their capacity to enable them to make good use of the emerging global technology.       

He identified the use of SMS text messaging as an effective ICT tool, which the media could deploy effectively in its dissemination and information gathering processes.

 Mr. Inusah therefore challenged the media to develop their knowledge in the technology and pledged his organisation's continuous support to organise similar workshop for journalists.     

GINKS, established in 2003, consists of a broad range of people drawn from various fields of endeavour mainly involved in ICT and sustainable development.

It provides solutions to challenges in the ICT environment through networking, information and Knowledge sharing among all stakeholders; conducting research; publicity and advocacy.