The National Cyber Security Advisor, Dr Albert Antwi-Boasiako has called on the Electoral Commission to put robust cyber security measures in place to protect its system from hacking. Given the reported cases of hacking of electoral systems in other countries during elections, there was the need for the EC to put measures in place to protect the Commission of cyber attack. Dr Antwi-Boasiako made the call in an interview with the Ghanaian Times after a high-level discussion on election and cyber security to close the 2019 National Cyber Security Awareness Month. The one-week programme, attended by participants and ministers from some West African countries was on the theme “Demonstrating Ghana’s cyber security readiness.” It was organised by the Ministry of Communications and National Cyber Security Centre to create awareness on cyber security issues and attacks and the impact of the menace on the economy, corporate bodies and individuals.
Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) Jean Mensah Thursday disclosed that the Commission was in the process of acquiring technology that would guarantee the absolute sovereignty of the Ghanaian electoral process. The system, which she said would be owned, managed and operated at a lesser cost by the Commission, would ensure that elections were free, fair, credible, and not subject to third party manipulations. Madam Jean made the disclosure when the EC called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the Jubilee House in Accra. The call on the President formed part of the Commission’s wider consultations with key stakeholders as it seeks to initiate reforms to promote efficiency, transparency and accountability around its activities. Explaining that the EC was weakest at its Information Technology Department, the EC Chairperson said since 2011, vendors controlled elections and had unlimited access to the department both remotely and physically. And as a result, the vendors, who supplied both software and hardware and managed it for the EC, could shut the Commission’s Data Centre down at anytime.
Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo on Monday named lawyer and governance specialist Jean Mensa to head the national electoral commission, dismaying the main opposition party which said Mensa was an unsuitable choice. She replaces Charlotte Osei who was fired by Akufo-Addo last month for “misbehaviour and incompetence,” relating to alleged breaches of Ghanaian procurement laws. Osei denied the accusation. Until her appointment, announced by the presidency, Mensa headed the Accra-based Institute of Economic Affairs think-tank, organisers of presidential debates ahead of general elections in Ghana. The West African nation, a major commodity exporter, will hold elections in December 2020, a vote that is likely to be a close contest between Akufo-Addo’s New Patriotic Party and the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Charlotte Osei has said that that commission has not expended monies it accrued from the replacement of voter IDs for Ghanaians ahead of the 2016 December elections. According to her, the EC made over GH¢2.5 million from the replacement process and more than GH¢42,000 cedis from the sale of media accreditation cards. Answering an urgent question filed by the Member of Parliament for Subin, Eugene Antwi on how much the Commission accrued from the process and how it was spent, Charlotte Osei said all monies were currently in the Commission’s account at GCB Bank.
Ghana: Elections Marred by Attempt to Hack Website and Calls for the President to Concede | Foreign Policy
Ghana’s presidential elections Wednesday started off surprisingly well, with voters lining up hours early at some polling places — using stones to save their place in line — and congratulations pouring in from the (real) U.S. Embassy in Ghana. Fears of election-day violence and confusion seemed misplaced. Then it all came apart. First, the electoral commission’s website was victim to a hack attempt. Also, an image circulating on Twitter said that the New Patriotic Party’s Nana Akufo-Addo had won the day, forcing the commission to frantically tweet for voters to ignore the fake news. Though votes were still being counted Thursday, the Akufo-Addo camp announced Thursday that, according to its tabulations, Akufo-Addo did in fact have a strong lead. They called for the incumbent, President John Mahama, who’s been in power since 2012, to concede. That didn’t sit well. Mahama’s camp called the calls for concession “treasonable.”
Ghanaians began lining up at polling stations before dawn on Wednesday to elect their next president as the west African nation hopes to reaffirm its reputation as a model of democracy on the continent. Despite concerns about the credibility of the elections, voter enthusiasm has been high. The race is expected to be tight between the incumbent president, John Dramani Mahama, and the opposition leader, Nana Akufo-Addo. “We need change in Ghana because things are very difficult,” said Stephen Antwi Boasiako, a taxi driver in the capital, Accra, who said he could barely afford the taxes and insurance for his vehicle. “This country has a lot of resources that can provide good jobs, but they are not used. I blame the Mahama government 100%.”
Hackers have targeted the website of Ghana’s electoral commission as votes are counted after tightly contested elections.
The commission says the website is up again, but it it is currently blank. The commission has tweeted, urging people to ignore “fake results” circulating on social media. President John Mahama is facing a strong challenge from main opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo in a campaign dominated by Ghana’s faltering economy. Wednesday’s election passed off peacefully, but voting was postponed to Thursday in one constituency after voting material failed to arrive on time.
Ghana’s electoral commission has assured the public that everything is in place for the December 7 general elections scheduled to begin at 0700 GMT. 15,712,499 registered voters are expected to vote for seven presidential candidates and 1,158 parliamentary candidates at 28,992 polling stations nationwide on Wednesday. “Barring any unforeseen circumstances, we expect election materials to arrive early at all polling stations and we expect the polls to open at exactly 7am and close at 5pm. If you are in the queue at 5pm, you will be allowed to vote no matter how long it takes,” Charlotte Osei, chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Ghana announced on Tuesday evening.
Ghana will tomorrow go to the polls to elect another President and 275 Parliamentarians to administer the affairs of the country for the next four years. About 15million voters, out of the 27million population are said to have registered for the election, which observers believe, is the most “tension-soaked” in the history of the 59 year-old West African country. Ghana runs a uni-cameral legislature. Since 1992 when Flt. Lt. Jerry Rawlings handed over power to Mr. John Agyekum Kuffour, there have been peaceful transitions of power between the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the largest opposition party, New Patriotic Party (NPP). Rawlings ruled for 11 years as Military Head of State after which he shed his military uniform, formed the NDC and contested as its flag bearer, won and ruled for eight years of two terms each before his party lost to Kuffour in 2000.
The Electoral Commission of Ghana has begun approving local and international poll observer groups to monitor the December 7 presidential and legislative elections. The electoral commission, however, says groups affiliated with political parties would not be allowed to monitor the polls. The criteria that poll observer groups must meet before their applications are considered include the name of the poll monitoring group, the leadership and composition of the group and their experience in election observation together with their passport pictures as well as their contact information. “We have received a number of applications to observe the elections in the country,” said Eric Dzakpasu, spokesman for the electoral commission. The commission has also received a number of applications from local and international observers, as well as foreign missions and embassies, he added.
Three Ghanaian opposition candidates who were disqualified from running in next month’s presidential and parliamentary elections say they are concerned the vote is unlikely to be fair or credible. Edward Mahama of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Papa Kwesi Nduom of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) and former first lady Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings of the National Democratic Party (NDP) voiced their concerns about the December 7 vote recently in a joint statement. They blamed the Electoral Commission for what they called poor prevailing conditions that could undermine the integrity of the polls. “If the rules of the game can be twisted and turned by the referee as and when it pleases, can we then say that the elections will be free and fair, when we do not know what illegal steps will be taken in the process leading up to the elections? Some of our parliamentary candidates have been disqualified without due process,” they said.
The Electoral Commission of Ghana, after a week of successfully completing balloting for the seven qualified presidential candidates in the upcoming elections, have invited their representatives to witness the commencement of printing ballots and testament of polls forms. The printing was delayed because of lawsuits against the Electoral Commission and its Chairperson. Confirming details to Citi FM in Accra, acting General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr. John Boadu, mentioned he would be present for the printing exercise so as to ensure transparency. “Over the years we have never witnessed the printing of pink sheets or blue sheets or statements of polls, both parliamentary and presidential. We all know the kind of difficulty we had in court where the Electoral Commission was finding it difficult to know the number of statement of polls that they printed,” he said.
The United States Embassy in Ghana, has urged the leadership of political parties to call their members to order following recent eruption of partisan clashes. In a statement, the US warned that persons found culpable of inciting political violence ahead of the polls, would face some form of sanctions as violence has no place in the conduct of elections. This warning follows a clash over the weekend between some supporters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), in front of the Nima residence the NPP Flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo, during a health walk organised by the NDC. Supporters of the Parliamentary candidates of NDC and the NPP in the Wulensi constituency in the Northern Region, also clashed over the weekend, at a village called Garikpe in the constituency. This was after a similar clash in the Odododiodio constituency in the Greater Accra Region.
Hassan Ayariga, the twice disqualified presidential candidate of Ghana’s opposition All People’s Congress, is calling on the chairperson of the country’s electoral commission to step down with immediate effect, before next month’s general elections. If chairperson Charlotte Osei does not resign, Ayariga said Ghana’s presidential, legislative and local elections on December 7 will no longer be seen as transparent and credible. Civil society groups in Ghana and other members of the electoral commission dismissed Ayariga’s demands and defended Osei as someone who has implemented electoral laws without favoring any side. The APC leader noted that Osei, who has held her position for less than a year, has faced legal challenges more than 15 times, with every one of her decisions being overturned in court.
Ghana’s electoral commission has qualified seven presidential candidates for the national election on December 7. The successful candidates — six representing political parties and one independent — took part in a drawing late Wednesday in the capital, Accra, to determine their positions on the ballot. They will be listed by party affiliation in this order on voters’ ballots: Convention People’s Party (CPP), National Democratic Party (NDP), National Democratic Congress (NDC), Progressive People’s Party (PPP), New Patriotic Party (NPP), People’s National Convention (PNC) and independent (non-party) candidate Jacob Osei Yeboah. The electoral commission earlier had disqualified several candidates for failing to comply with all registration requirements for the election, but those rulings were challenged in court by the PPP and NDP, among others. A court ruling ordered the commission to allow disqualified candidates time to correct errors in their nomination documents.
A handful of political parties are suing the country’s election management body for disqualifying their would-be candidates from running for the presidency on December 7. The Electoral Commission of Ghana (ECG) made the decision after it detected errors in the nomination forms handed in by the candidates. This legal action has raised fears that the elections might have to be postponed. Political analyst Kwesi Jonah thinks the commission should try to reach an out-of-court settlement with the concerned candidates: “Assuming that we are not able to hold elections on December 7 because of the court cases, what happens?” he asked. Jonah would like Ghana to maintain its reputation as a peaceful country with a tradition of free, fair and transparent elections.
In Ghana, the electoral commission is now requiring journalists to pay a fee to be accredited to cover the presidential and parliamentary elections next month. Journalists are rejecting the requirement, which they say will reduce election transparency. The electoral commission has not said how much the accreditation fee will be, but according to the statement released Monday, the fee will cover the printing and lamination of accreditation badges. Journalists have until next Monday to apply and make payment. Kojo Yankson is a journalist at Joy FM radio. “Let the media houses provide identification for their journalists and let the journalists go to work.”
Ghanaian police officials plan to meet with leaders of the Muslim community this week as part of an effort to ensure peaceful presidential, legislative and local elections scheduled for Dec. 7, according to Cephas Arthur, spokesman for the police. Arthur also said police representatives would meet with other stakeholders before the upcoming polls. Arthur said the police have also launched a nationwide education campaign using mass and social media platforms to engage the public regarding the need to ensure a peaceful general election. “We see all these groupings are veritable stakeholders to these elections and that if we are able to bring all of them on board to jaw-jaw to find amicable solutions to all concerns that we have as far as this election is concerned,” Arthur said, “then we are sure that we will be watching the election through the same spectacle. And that we shall surely succeed in having a peaceful election come December 7, [and] that is why we are taking all these steps.’
The Electoral Commission of Ghana sharply rejected accusations that its decision to disqualify presidential candidates from participating in the December 7 general election was politically motivated. The Electoral Commission disqualified 12 presidential candidates, including the former first lady, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, presidential candidate for the opposition National Democratic Party (NDP) – for failing to meet requirements it stipulated ahead of the September 30 deadline to file nomination documents. The electoral body says the presidential candidates who are qualified to participate in the elections include incumbent President John Dramani Mahama, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo from the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Ivor Kobina Greenstreet of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and Jacob Osei Yeboah, an independent candidate.
Attorneys for the Ghanaian opposition National Democratic Party (NDP) plan to file a petition in court Thursday seeking to challenge the electoral commission’s decision to disqualify former first lady Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, presidential candidate of the party, from the Dec. 7 general election. Mohammed Frimpong, general secretary for the NDP, says the disqualification appears politically motivated, to ensure the former first lady doesn’t pose any threat to incumbent President John Dramani Mahama of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC). “We have credible information around that the ruling government is very uncomfortable with our candidate,” Frimpong said. “And if she stood, it means that she was going to divide a lot of votes with the ruling government. … And for that they hatched several plots against her.” Frimpong contends the electoral commission failed to apply the law requiring that a party be notified of any problems in its nomination documents, and allowed time for issues to be amended.
Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama, from the ruling National Democratic Congress, main opposition leader Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo from the New Patriotic Party and other presidential candidates have picked up nomination documents from the Electoral Commission ahead of the December 7 general election. Parliamentary candidates also began picking up their nomination forms. The candidates are required to pay $12,505 while parliamentary candidates pay $2,501 as nomination fees in addition to meeting other requirements outlined by the electoral commission. September 29 and 30 are the only dates the electoral commission has set for the official filing of nomination for all candidates who want to participate in the elections, according to spokesman Eric Dzakpasu.
The Electoral Commission (EC) has said Ghana is not ready for an electronic voting system despite technological advancement in the 21st Century. The Chairperson of the commission, Charlotte Osei, said they arrived at the conclusion based on recommendations from the Special Reform Committee tasked to investigate the possibility of the system. Ghana has since 1992 improved on its electoral processes. In 2012, the EC for the first time adopted biometric registration and verification in capturing voters’ information to enhance the processes.
Ghana’s electoral commission will reopen the nation’s voter registration list Friday so that tens of thousands of people whose names were deleted because of a problem with their identification documents can re-register in time to take part in December’s general election. The country’s Supreme Court had ordered the electoral commission to delete from the registry anyone who applied to vote using a National Health Insurance Scheme card. The court said the health card was not a valid proof of identity for voting purposes. So the electoral commission, which compiles the voter list, said anyone previously struck from the registry would have a week to re-register, beginning Friday. A separate period later this month has been set aside for registering those who have never voted before.
Ghana’s parliament failed on Thursday to secure the two-thirds majority needed to change the presidential election date from Dec. 7 to Nov. 7, sources in parliament said. The Electoral Commission wanted to bring the vote forward to allow for a second round to be held if necessary and still have time for a smooth transition before Jan. 7, when a new government must be sworn in. The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) voted against the measure, arguing it would reduce the time available to the Electoral Commission to organize the election, witnesses said. “The idea (for a Nov. 7 election) is good and many of us have worked hard on it. But we don’t like the shortness of the timetable for the Electoral Commission,” the NPP’s legal secretary Mike Oquaye told Reuters.
The electoral commission of Ghana is rejecting criticism it is doing the bidding of the ruling National Democratic Congress by deleting the names of supporters of the main opposition New Patriotic Party from voter lists. The electoral commission is preparing for November 7 presidential, parliamentary and local elections. Following an order from the Supreme Court, the electoral commission this week began expunging the names from the voter list of those who registered using their National Health Insurance Scheme identification card. But Samuel Pyne, the Ashanti Regional Secretary of the NPP, said the electoral commission deleted the names of party supporters who did not use their National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) identification cards.
Angry residents surrounded the Electoral Commission (EC)’s office in Cape Coast on Monday threatening to halt the on-going exercise to re-register National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) registrants whose names were deleted. The exercise, which commenced on Monday, is to enable NHIS registrants whose names were expunged from the electoral roll in accordance with a court order to be re-registered. The angry mob accused the EC of scheming to disenfranchise them by deleting their names as part of NHIS registrants even when they never registered with the NHIS cards in 2012. They demanded answers from the regional officials.
The United States government has pledged an amount of 4.5 million dollars to support Ghana’s election which comes off on November 7, 2016. The EC will be getting one third of the money for voter education and to support other activities relating to the elections. This pledge from the United States comes barely two months after the British government also announced a 4 million pound support to the Electoral Commission to help run an effective election. The Electoral Commission in December 2015 submitted a budget of 1.8 billion Ghana cedi to parliament for approval to effectively run the 2016 elections. Parliament approved 1.2 billion of the said amount but this was further slashed to 826.8 million cedis by the Finance Ministry on grounds that there is a ceiling on the total amount it can release for elections.
The electoral commission of Ghana will not be compiling a new voter list to be used for the November 7 general election, despite calls by the main opposition, New Patriotic Party (NPP) to do so. Backed by other opposition and some civil society groups, the NPP petitioned the electoral commission, saying it has evidence that the current voter list is bloated with minors and non-citizens. The opposition party maintains the credibility of presidential, parliamentary and local elections will be undermined if the current voter list is not discarded and a new one compiled. The electoral commission had appointed an independent panel to look into the NPP’s concerns.
Ghana’s main opposition New Patriotic Party has petitioned the Electoral Commission to compile a new voter list for next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections. Some other opposition parties have backed the call for a new voter register, but some civil society groups and the ruling National Democratic Congress say the current voter register compiled in 2012 is credible. Christian Owusu-Parry, the Electoral Commission’s Acting Director of Public Affairs says the electoral body plans to organize a September 22 stakeholder’s workshop. He says parties will be able to present their views before a decision is made about a new voter list.
Ghana’s main opposition party asked the electoral commission on Tuesday to create a new voters’ register before next year’s election, after allegations of fraudulent registration overshadowed the West African nation’s last vote. The New Patriotic Party (NPP) said it had overwhelming evidence that the electoral roll used for polls in 2012 was bloated with ineligible voters, including the names of Togolese nationals. Togo is home to the Ewe ethnic group that is also found in southeastern Ghana, where its members are regarded as strong supporters of President John Mahama’s National Democratic Congress (NDC).