With less than 12 days before Ghana's presidential election,
some citizens are expressing their frustration with several opinion polls which
they say are heightening tension in the country. They said members of the two
leading parties are using the polls to cause deep divisions among ordinary
Ghanaians, which they said could undermine the country's democracy. Three of
the latest polls showed the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the main
opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) leading the other political
parties ahead of the election. Vladimir Antwi-Danso is a senior lecturer
at the Legon Centre for International Affairs of the University of Ghana. He
tells reporter Peter Clottey that he blames the media and some politicians for
misinformation that he says is driving up tensions in the country.
point is that I do not think that it's only the polls that are creating
tensions or, which you could regard as divisive. For quite a long time the
country has been polarized on a kind of dichotomous line between NPP and NDC
and I strongly blame the media because every innocuous situation is put into and
NPP-NDC dichotomy. Meanwhile, every media house calls people who at times have
no knowledge of the issues to be discussed and they begin to rant and rant,
accusing each other of anything so no issues are discussed. So honestly the
polarization of the Ghanaian society is not because of the polls," Antwi-Danso
said most of the polls are not scientifically substantiated.
most of the polls are not scientific. I have read a couple of them and only
one, which has been conducted by a professor at the school of communication
studies, which may be said to have some little bit of plausibility. Other than
that the rest are all party agents and party propagandists, which is very
unfortunate," he said.
said some of the politicians are to blame for the escalated tensions ahead of
point is that most of us have spoken about peace and the need for peace.
Unfortunately, the political leaders themselves are to blame for they are not
talking to issues. Everybody is promising free things. There is nothing free in
this world. Everybody is telling lies, people are cooking figures they don't
know and they don't understand. People are feeding on the ignorance and the
gullibility of Ghanaians to just be fed by anything. And that is why there is
that polarization and that is why there is that tension," Antwi-Danso pointed
said although some aggrieved parties would challenge the election results,
violence would not be embraced to settle scores.
the results have been announced there would be some amount of challenges here
and there because no elections have been perfect anywhere in the world. I don't
believe Ghana will relapse into any kind of carnage the way we see some
countries around us. But I should tell you that the tension and the
polarization is so bad," he said.
said Ghana's Commission For Civic Education has not lived up to its mandate.
13 days to go, there is very little that can be done. The National Commission
for Civic Education has been quite ineffective. I've got to be very frank with
that. You don't wait for an election year before you preach elections. I
believe that if they are doing their work very well four years ago, they could
have started to inform the people about the elections, what are the choices,
what are the issues to be discussed and the essence of voting," Antwi-Danso
said Ghanaians seem to have lost confidence in their state institutions.
the belief in the institutions of governance the nuances of governance lie with
the political parties and their manifesto. So for me, I don't care who rules. I
wish my party would win, but I care for the institutional governance. That is
if the electoral commission is quite independent, the court, the police, the
military all the institutions of governance if they are independent, whoever
rules doesn't matter. But what we are doing is that we are feeding the
population with misinformation so they are withdrawing their confidence in the
institutions of governance, and at this point in time there is nothing you can
do about it. The population has been fed with misinformation to the extent that
they are voting not on issues, but on passions," he said.