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Ghanaian Voters Consider Issues in Advance of Election.


Ghana goes to the polls on Sunday (Dec 7). Among the issues on the minds of voters are the cost of living, quality education, improved sanitation and the proper management of anticipated oil revenues. Voice of America English to Africa reporter Joana Mantey in Accra, reports.

Richard Quarshigah is a lecturer at the Institute of Professional Studies in Accra. He says the elected government must pay more attention to environmental issues:

"The environment continuously gets degraded. As [the country] gets dirty, it impacts negatively on the people. We talk about Ghanaians getting sick of malaria. All these have to do with how we manage environmental issues," he says.

Ghanaian gender activist, Rose Mary Ardeyfio, says a new administration must improve welfare services, especially for women, in the country. She explains that some women leave Ghana in search of better opportunities. She thinks an improved safety net for the poor would help women, and encourage them to stay to contribute to building the economy:

"Most women who leave Ghana are attracted by these welfare systems that protect and cushion people and improve their standard of living. If we have those packages, I am sure a lot more of these women would like to stay behind and contribute to development. And I am sure [improved welfare services] are going to reduce their vulnerability and give them some hope," Ardeyfio says.

Ghanaian journalist Roland Monney says the ruling party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), is using its economic record as a platform to campaign for votes. But he says its economic policies haven't helped ordinary Ghanaians, who continue to struggle financially:

"The NDC [National Democratic Congress party] is comparing [the cost of living] at the time they left office. NPP is also relying on its massive infrastructural development and its general economic performance, especially the macro economy. I believe a voter is in a better stead to track records and make informed decisions," Monney says.

Ebenezer Ojawoo, a public servant, says he'd like to see improvement in Ghana's education sector. The government has introduced free education at a basic level and feeding programs for some selected schools. In Ojawoo's opinion, though, a new government needs to do a lot more to raise standards in public schools:

"Parents invest a lot to send their children to private schools, which are charging exorbitant fees. Most parents find it difficult to make ends meet. Whichever party wins the election must pay particular attention to education so we get [the best]," he maintains.

The recent discovery of oil in Ghana is on the mind of Owusu Ajinah, a pastor. He's convinced that the resource can be a "blessing"… if the anticipated revenue is used by the rulers to benefit all of his compatriots.

"We must always have the good of Ghana (first) in the administration of the oil. If this is not done, this oil will turn around and instead of being a blessing, will be a curse to our country," Ajinah says.


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