Friday, 25 November 2011


It is such a pity that some members of our political class - a group of individuals who seldom do any creative thinking, sadly - have resorted to bellicose language, ahead of the December 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections.

Apparently, a member of Parliament, incredibly, is even threatening to turn Ghana into another Rwanda, if those he wants to win the elections are prevented from doing so, because of violence. Imagine that, dear reader.

Why do such geniuses not rather spend their energies planning to make the December 2012 elections as fraud-free and foolproof, as it is humanly possible to make them - by, amongst other strategies, distributing smartphones to educated and committed younger members of their party: to enable them monitor the conduct of elections in every polling station in Ghana, from the opening to the closing hours of voting?

If they posted all incidents of election malpractice on YouTube and party websites set up for the purpose, immediately after they occur (or whiles they are occurring!), will that not enable the whole world to see that they have been cheated, if that actually were the case? Why resort to savagery and barbarism?

Will alerting the world by posting electoral fraud online, also not help challenges of election results in the law courts, yield quick and positive results - and negate the outcome of any cheating that might prevent their confounded party from winning power again: if that is the wish of a majority of Ghanaian voters?

Why threaten to turn Ghana into another Rwanda, I ask? It might surprise the Kennedy Adjapongs of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), that so many of the independent-minded individuals (the so-called "floating-voters") whose swing-votes now decide the outcome of elections in Ghana, are wondering whether such violence-prone politicians deserve to rule our nation, at all. Hmm, Ghana - eyeasem oo!

Perhaps it is no accident that Mr. Kennedy Adjapong, the quintessence of wealth-resulting-from-political-patronage and-insider-information (as well as insider-dealing!), is so desperate to see his party, the NPP return to power again.

That genius grew super-rich at the apogee of the golden age of business for Kufuor & Co. (during which the African sun shone brightly on people of his lk), when that perfidious lot embarked on a deliberate policy of exploiting our national economy for themselves; their favourites amongst their family clans; sundry bottom-power girlfriends and their favourite crony-capitalist pals.

That is precisely why more than anyone else, instead of threatening mayhem in Ghana, he ought to be spending some of his time thinking of ways of ensuring the continued stability of Ghana - so that wealthy businesspeople like him can continue to seize opportunities to make further investments, which may crop up as our economy expands further and Ghana's burgeoning middle class adds yet more numbers to its fold.

For the benefit of clever people like the Hon. Kennedy Adjapong, I am posting an article written by the New York Times' Michael Schwirtz, entitled: "In Russia, Handheld Election Monitors". It was published in the paper's print edition on November 24, 2011, and posted on its online version the same day.

With respect, one hopes that the Hon. Kennedy Adjapong and his ilk (from across the spectrum!) will learn a lesson or two, from reading it - and refrain from threatening to plunge Ghana into chaos and turning it into yet another Rwanda. God give us patience, dear reader. Please read on:

"In Russia, Handheld Election Monitors

MOSCOW — When a small-town mayor from Russia’s governing party recently offered tens of thousands of dollars in government cash to a veterans group in exchange for votes in next month’s parliamentary elections, it appeared to be business as usual.

Violations of Russia’s election rules no longer evoke much surprise here, and in the past the episode would have probably gone unnoticed, or at least unpunished.

But this is the era of the smartphone.

Someone recorded the mayor’s speech and uploaded the video to YouTube. Along with the promise of cash was a threat to cut off the elderly veterans if they failed to vote for the party, United Russia, which is led by Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin.

“If people don’t support the party that is actually doing something, what’s the point of financing them?” the mayor, Denis V. Agashin, asked veterans at a gathering in the town of Izhevsk, according to the video. “If this is the case, it’s clear the people don’t need anything.”

The video was widely circulated, provoking calls for the mayor’s ouster. Last week a court found him guilty of breaking election rules and fined him. His opponents have vowed to seek harsher disciplinary measures.

It was a small victory in the fight against electoral malfeasance in Russia, one that has underscored the increasing potency of a new kind of election monitor here: common citizens armed with smartphones, digital recorders and cameras.

Such activity comes at an inauspicious time for United Russia. Flagging in the polls, the party has become vulnerable to attacks among Russia’s typically raucous and increasingly influential Internet commentariat.

A slogan adopted by bloggers describing United Russia as “the party of swindlers and thieves” has become such a prominent Internet meme that it occasionally appears as a top hit when Googling the party’s name.

The unfettered online criticism has increasingly spilled into the real world. When Mr. Putin stepped into the ring for a speech after watching a mixed martial arts match last weekend, he was booed by the crowd on national television, a practically unprecedented public swipe at Russia’s most powerful politician. An unedited clip quickly whipped through the blogosphere.

The clip of Mr. Agashin is one of several videos documenting violations to spread across the Internet ahead of the parliamentary elections, forcing the authorities to confront dirty electioneering, in particular by United Russia, that in the past they tended to dismiss.

“With video clips that have attracted the most attention, we see that the authorities are prepared to make what for them are unpleasant decisions, like punishing a specific official,” said Grigory Melkonyants, the deputy director of Golos, an independent election-monitoring group in Russia. “Citizens see that thanks to these video clips they can have influence. This is becoming a tool for putting pressure on the authorities.”

Mr. Melkonyants said he had observed a marked increase in the use of video and other media to record violations in the past year. Golos maintains a Web site where Russians can file complaints about campaign abuses. Of the 2,000 or so already recorded, about 100 provide video evidence, and others include audio files and photographs.

The materials show officials engaging in the types of nefarious electioneering long criticized by government opponents, but almost never widely publicized. In one video and separate audio file, election officials in Murmansk appear to promise up to $50 to those who vote for United Russia. In another, a crowd of mostly young people carrying United Russia banners disrupts an opposition campaign rally in the town of Sterlitamak, blowing vuvuzelas and playing music through loudspeakers.

Then there is the mayor of Novokuznetsk, who tells local business leaders in one clip to “work with your employees to guarantee a significant result” for United Russia. In the past, there have been numerous complaints about employers threatening workers with disciplinary measures like docking their pay or worse for failing to support the party.

One of the most talked about recent videos was uploaded to the Web this month by Matvei K. Tsivinyuk, 15, a student from Krasnoyarsk, who secretly recorded a run-in with his principal after he defaced a United Russia poster hung in a school hallway.

Confronted by the student about what he called illegal political campaigning — other political parties were not represented at the school — the principal, identified as Aleksandra Pronina, lashed out in anger.

“You have ruined several posters already,” Ms. Pronina said in the video, her voice at times rising to a scream. “If you ruin another one, I will go to the police. Read the biography of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. When he disagreed with something, he was expelled from school.”

The video became so popular, it was picked up by many national media outlets. In response, the local deputy governor called the principal’s reaction “overkill,” according to the news agency Ria Novosti, though he also criticized the student’s protest as “militant ignorance and meanness.”

Several days after the video was posted, the school reportedly hung posters for each of the political parties participating in next month’s elections.

Under pressure, United Russia has started its own campaign to address possible election violations, though it seems to be solely focused on the party’s opponents.

The pro-Kremlin youth group Nashi has promised to send thousands of observers to Moscow during the elections to “prevent provocations during the vote and tallying,” the group said in a statement on its Web site.

“We will not allow provocateurs to raise doubts about the people’s support for United Russia,” Maria Kislitsyna, a Nashi leader, said in the statement.

United Russia has created its own site where users can file complaints about election violations. The Communist Party is accused in several postings of displaying campaign materials outside of designated areas in some cities. Other parties are accused of trying to pay off voters with, for example, watches, perfume, potatoes and bars of soap.

The site allows for complaints to be filed against all parties participating in the election — except United Russia."

End of culled New York Times article.

Well, one hopes, dear reader, that all Ghana's politicians will take a leaf from the book of their Russian counterparts - and do same here too: to make our elections fraud-free and violence-free. We are a civilised people - we cannot allow our homeland Ghana to be destroyed because of the lust for power of selfish politicians. Period. A word to the wise...

Tel (Powered by Tigo - the one mobile phone network in Ghana that actually works!): + 233 (0) 27 745 3109.
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