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Former Ghanaian Minister Hopeful For Free And Fair Elections

Ghanaians will go to the polls next Sunday to vote for a new parliament and a new President.

Ghana is considered one of Africa’s biggest recent successes and observers say the handling of the election, matters for the whole continent.

After electoral disasters in Nigeria, Kenya and Zimbabwe in the past 18 months, everyone is hoping, and many are praying, that Ghana will avoid the bloodshed, chicanery and political warring of its African peers.

The office of the Ghana Electoral Commissioner says all necessary steps have been taken to ensure a smooth and fair election.

Kofi Totobi Quakyi, a current active member of the National Democratic Congress and former Minister of Information, and later as Minister for National Security, told VOA's Akwei Thompson, he is hopeful that the elections will be free and fair.

The former minister said, some concern has been raised about some aspects of the process, sighting, as example, “the late delivery of the voter register” and the “way and manner the transfer of votes have been reached.” He said, however, there was hope that “in the days remaining these issues will be rectified in the interest of all parties concerned and in the interest of democracy in Ghana.”

The former minister said that in his view, access to the media has been unfair and unbalanced.

“It is quite blatant, it is quite blatant.” he said. “Anyone who reads the state-owned dailies, anyone who watches the Ghanaian national broadcasting service, GTV, will realize that the coverage is totally lopsided and is in fragrant violation of the supreme court ruling of 1995 that, I believe, said that all political parties have the right to equal access, equal time on the state owned media…”

Mr. Quakyi attributed reports of recent campaign-related skirmishes to overreaction by certain members of the community who tend to do things “that are not condusive to public peace or to law and order.” “What is important,” he said, “ is the willingnes of the law enforcement agency to act as an impartial body” and deal with wrongdoers fairly.

The former Ghanian minister said he expects a high voter turnout as “there’s high expectation of change, a lot of agitation for change…”

He said the prevailing general mood across the country is that of a move for change: a change “reminiscent of the movement that brought Barack Obama to power.”