John Mahama

  • False; Communication Service Tax was not increased during John Mahama’s government

    Claim: A Deputy National Director of Communications for the New Patriotic Party, Jennifer Queen, says that the Communication Service Tax was increased to 15% during the erstwhile National Democratic Congress government between 2008-2016.

    The tax was introduced in 2008 at a rate of 6%. This rate was maintained until 2019 when the government increased it to 9%. The rate was subsequently reduced to 5% in 2020.

    Full Text 

    A Deputy National Director of Communications for the New Patriotic Party, Jennifer Queen, has claimed that the Communication Service Tax (CST) rate was increased to 15% when the National Democratic Congress won the 2008 elections.

    According to her, the NDC increased the CST, also known as the talk tax, despite promising Ghanaians that it would be abolished.

    Jennifer Queen was speaking on Kumasi-based Hello FM and her statement can be found in a video uploaded on Youtube (between minutes 1:55 to 2:50)

    “During their tenure, that is 2008, when we were introducing the talk tax, that was 3%. But they promised to abolish this tax in 2009 when they won the 2008 election. When they came to power, they rather moved it from 3% to 15%. Even if we assume that it was increased to 9%, they did not abolish the tax,” she said as transcribed from the Akan language, Queen observed..

    Jennifer Queen making the claim on Hello FM

    Verification

    The Communication Service Tax (CST) is one levied for the use of communications services that are provided by electronic communications service providers.

    The tax was imposed under Section 1 of the Communications Service Tax Act 2008, (Act 754).

    In Act 754, the CST rate was pegged at 6%.

    During the implementation of the CST Act, some issues were raised by telecommunication companies on the clarity of the law in respect of the application of the tax to interconnection services.

    Subsequently, an Act to amend the CST Act, 2008 (Act 754) was passed by Parliament and accented by the then President, John Mahama in 2013.

    In the Amendment Act 2013 (Act 864), the Finance Minister at the time, Seth Terpker, indicated that the amendment was to “clarify the scope and coverage of the tax and to explicitly include interconnection services within the tax base.” (Page 11 of the Amendment Bill)

    Despite the changes in the Act, the 6% rate was maintained even though the scope changed.

    This was the case until 2019 when the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, proposed an increment in the rate.

    In his 2019 mid-year budget (page 28), the Minister said:

    The Communication Service Tax (CST) was introduced in 2008 at an ad valorem rate of six per cent…Government proposes to increase the tax to nine percent to develop the foundation for the creation of a viable technology ecosystem in the country.”  

    This proposal was approved following the passage of the Communications Service Tax (Amendment) Act, 2019 (Act 998).

    The following year, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, announced in his COVID-19 update 14  a downward review of the CST rate – from 9% to 5%.

    He explained that the move was part of the government’s efforts to mitigate the hardships caused by the pandemic.

    The reduction of the CST rate from 9% to 5% is in the Communications Service Tax (Amendment) Act, 2020 (Act 1025) which has been passed.

    This took effect on 15th September, 2020

    Conclusion

    It is not true that the Communication Service Tax rate was increased by the National Democratic Congress after they won the 2008 elections. The 6% rate at which it was introduced in 2008 was maintained until 2019. The 2013 amendment of the Act only affected people liable to pay and some other activities but this did not include a revision of the rate. 

  • All you need to know about Ho-Fume road project

    It is almost becoming a trend for politicians and political party activists to wrestle over whom to credit for projects undertaken by governments in the country. 

    Not a day passes without netizens questioning claims made by the government and politicians on projects executed. This, if not, is becoming a norm!

    One of the many projects which has sparked debates and confusion early this year is the Ho-Fume road project.

    Some political activists on Facebook were angered by what they termed as lies claims by the incumbent government concerning the Ho-Fume project. 

    This is what a failed, desperate,deceptive and a useless party in government does…they steal projects…” Frank Kakra Andoh posted on Facebook.

    Dubawa in previous reports has sought to settle some of the confusion surrounding ‘ownership’ of some infrastructural projects in the country. These include the Pokuase interchange and the Tema Motorway projects.

    We do that in this report as well. This time, the Ho-Fume road project takes the spotlight.

    Blow by blow account of the project

    Announcement of the rehabilitation of Ho-Fume road was made by the then Minister of Roads and transport in the John Kuffour led administration, Dr Richard Anane, in June 2005.  It was part of 117 kilometer Sogakope-Ho-Dzolokpuita-Fume road selected for rehabilitation in the Volta region.

    The road which had been awarded for design and reconstruction to Messrs Frandesco West African Limited in 1996 under a pre-financing agreement in two phases for bituminous surface dressing was stopped in June 2001 due to financial constraints and slow pace of work.

    The project was left unattended until the Kuffour-led administration exited power in 2008.

    In 2009 when the National Democratic Congress(NDC) led by late President John Atta Mills were voted into power, Mr Attah-Mills cut sod for construction of the 1st phase of the project which stretched from Ho to Vane. This time the contract was handed over to Messrs Rolider Limited, a civil engineering and construction company,

    The second phase was commissioned on 5th November, 2010, to mark the beginning of construction works from Vane through Amedzofe to Fume. Unfortunately President Mills died two years after the commissioning making room for the then Vice President, John Mahama, to take over.

    On March 18, 2016, Messrs Rolider Limited officially handed over Ho-Fume phase II road contract to the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA), pending a one-year defect liability period.

    Image credit: Rolider Limited

    In February 2017, the project was inaugurated by Former President Mahama before handing over power to the incumbent president.

    Photo of Fmr. president Mahama at the inauguration 

    The State of the Nation Address presented to Parliament by Mr Mahama on Thursday, February 25, 2016 also captured the project.

    Page 18 of the 2018 Annual Progress report again captured the project as completed.

    The project was captured under ongoing projects which is 93% completed on page 32 of the summarized version of the 2021 State of the Nation Address presented by the Minister in charge of Parliamentary Affairs and Member of Parliament for Suame in Ashanti-Region, Mr Kyei-Mensah Bonsu.

    Conclusion

    Per the above facts DUBAWA it is clear that the Ho-Fume road was completed and handed to the Ghana Highway Authority by Former President Mahama and not an ongoing project under incumbent government.

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2021 Kwame KariKari Fellowship partnership with MyPurefmOnline to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

  • A John Mahama or Akufo-Addo Legacy: The Facts About The Tema-Akosombo Railway Line Project

    Claim: Social Media users claim Tema-Akosombo railway line is a John Mahama project.

    The erstwhile John Mahama administration secured $398.33m from Exim Bank for design and construction of an 84km railway between Tema and Akosombo but did not begin construction before exiting power.

    Full text

    The Tema-Mpakadan railway begins from Tema in the Greater Accra Region through Afienya, North Tongu District in the Volta Region, Manya Krobo and terminates at Mpakadan, a few kilometers from Akosombo. 

    It is a part of the 1000 km rail connection between Ghana and Burkina Faso. The project is expected to link Ghana, from Tema, to Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou.

    The project which is near completion has since its start sparked a battle between the two main political parties as to whose legacy it is. The recent confusion, however, was triggered after a recent inspection conducted by the minister for railway development, John Peter Amewu, was shared on his social media handle and again after an interview on the progress of work on the project, granted by Mr Gupta Asim, Head of Legal, Afcons Infrastructure Limited, conducted by the Ghana News Agency two months ago Widely shared by activists, New Patriotic Party affiliate and Blog pages.

    How it started

    It all started prior to election 2020 when images of President Akufo-Addo’s visit to the project site in December 2019 was widely shared on social media credited to the government.

    Some party activists aligned with the incumbent  government shared the story which sought to applaud and credit the president for the railway project.

    Sympathizers of the NDC did not take this kindly as they argued the project is a John Mahama legacy that was initiated by him.

    Some argued the John Mahama NDC government started or initiated most of the major projects going on under this incumbent NPP government. 

    This is a JM project that is being supervised by NPP Government. God bless JM,” a party activist shared to a Sammy Gyamfi group page on Facebook.

    Completion of Tema-Akosombo-Mpakadan railway line   Vote for JM

    Dubawa has delved into the details of the project and here are the facts.

    Verification

    In November 2016, Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank)  allocated $398.33m for design and construction of an 84km railway between Tema in the Greater Accra region and the Lake Volta port of Akosombo.

    Further checks by Dubawa revealed that indeed former president John Mahama’s  through the then Finance Minister, Mr Seth Tekper secured funding for the project.  

    The idea to construct the railway, according to information available on  the presidency  website, was conceived in 2007 as a “port to port project” under the Kuffour era. As a result, in 2007, a contract was signed for a feasibility study to be conducted for a Tema to Buipe multimodal transport system via Akosombo.

    However, the construction was scheduled to begin early 2017.

    In April 2017, the Akufo-Addo government commenced construction of the project.

    Mr Asim, Head of Legal, for the construction company – Afcons Infrastructure Limited, has said the project is four months ahead of the originally scheduled date in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic and its challenges. The former Minister for Railways Development, Joe Ghartey, had assured the project would be completed in August 2020 

    Conclusion 

    Funding for the project was secured by the erstwhile John Mahama administration, but the project was started by the Akufo-Addo government.

  • Pokuase Interchange: Settling the Akufo-Addo, John Mahama Legacy Confusion

    Like several infrastructure projects in Ghana, there is always the “we did it” fight among the two major political parties in Ghana, the National Democratic Congress (NDC)  and the New Patriotic Party (NPP). The new Pokuase interchange yet to be launched somewhere at the end of July has not been left out of this “claim game”.

    While members of the NDC insist that the project is part of former President John Dramani Mahama’s legacies, their counterparts in the NPP have also claimed it to be that of President Akufo-Addo’s. As a result of this, members of the two factions have been sharing different facts regarding the project on various media platforms.

    The Pokuase interchange is Ghana’s first four-tier interchange.  Ever since the project took shape, there have been several claims on when it started, whose project it is, the amount of money involved and others.  To help settle the debate and put some clarity on issues raised, Dubawa Ghana in this report presents the facts surrounding the project.

    How Did it All Begin?

    The Government of Ghana signed  a loan agreement with the African Development Bank on the 17th of November, 2016, to provide 83 million US Dollars  for the construction of the Pokuase interchange. The total cost of the project was supposed to be 94 million US Dollars. The Government of Ghana was to provide 11 million dollars to supplement the loan.

    The Pokuase Interchange was initially planned as a three-tier interchange under the John Dramani Mahama administration. The project comprised the construction of a five-kilometre Awoshie-Pokuase road, a three-tier interchange at Pokuase ACP Junction, a two-kilometre Accra-Nsawam Highway, a two-kilometre Kwabenya road and a 10-kilometre local roads.

    The interchange was scheduled to commence  in the first quarter of the next year, that is, between January and March 2017. It was scheduled to be completed after 36 months. However, construction did not start until July 2018, more than a year after the Akufo-Addo led administration took over in 2017.

    The project is being undertaken by Messrs China Zhongmei Engineering Company Limited and forms part of the Accra Urban Transport Projects.  The objective of the project is to  promote sustainable economic growth, enhanced inclusive urban development and reduced poverty as well as promote affordable transport services.

    Artistic impression of the initial three -tier interchange.

    Redesigning into a 4-Tier Interchange

    Almost a year after work began on the project, it was converted into a 4-tier interchange. According to a news report by the Ghanaian Times the contractor proposed to construct a 4-tier Stack Interchange after undertaking a value engineering assessment which was approved by the Ministry for Roads and Highways. 

    The cost for the project was not affected by the new design. Additionally, the new design is to help improve the efficiency of the project and allow the free flow of vehicles.

    On Wednesday, 25th of November, 2020, President Akufo-Addo Commissioned the first phase of the project.

    Conclusion

    Per facts above, the planning of the Pokuase interchange began in 2016. In fact, according to the data portal of the African Development Bank Group, the appraisal of the project was done in 2016. This indicates that preparations for construction of the interchange including the signing of the loan had been made during John Mahama administration. The execution of the project started under the Akufo-Addo administration. Although with the same loan agreement, the NPP government negotiated and changed the plan of the project from a 3-tier to a 4-tier interchange.

  • GHANA’S 2020 ELECTION: CAN FAKE NEWS INFLUENCE VOTING BEHAVIOUR?

    Introduction

    Since the return to constitutional rule in 1992, Ghanaians have been going to the polls to elect their president every four years. The president, so elected, can seek reelection for another four years after the expiration of the first term.

    Ghana’s fourth republic has witnessed seven (7) successive elections with five (5) different presidents sworn into office. As Ghana prepares to go into another election on December 7, 2020, political party candidates, officials, affiliates and assigns crisscross the length and breadth of the country to canvass for votes. At the heart of campaigning are messages targeted at the electorate to persuade and woo them to vote for presidential and parliamentary candidates.

    Famously, these campaign messages during election periods are often interlaced with innuendos, insults and lately, fake news. While fake news is generally not new to public discourse, its endemic strain that has managed to meander and permeate every aspect of political discussions have often been flagged as a potential danger that could blur the lines of choice between what is credible news information and what is not.

    The 2016 America’s presidential elections is often referenced as the conduit for rejuvenating, nurturing, blossoming and embossment of fake news in political discourse in American body politics and consequently its spread across the globe. The spread gradually webbed America’s new age of politics and in no time political messaging and campaign strategies were swarmed by the canker of fake news. From 2016 onwards, the political state of play has changed – campaign messages and social media buzzes that preceded the 2020 American elections were indications of what battle the world has in its hand in an effort to douse the conflagration whizz of information disorder.

    As another election beckons amidst a coronavirus pandemic, Ghana, one of the trail blazers of democratic ideals on the African continent is trapped in a mixed bag of heightened anxiety and a brace for battle to counter the effect of festering fake news in its body politics. Identifying sources, putting together formidable structures and a sustained effort to sanitize the information ecosystem is quintessentially a precursor to restoring sanity and credibility in public discourse and all political conversations.

    What is fake news?

    Hindman & Barash (2018) define fake news as content that has the appearance of credible news stories, but without going through the process of verification. They further assert that fake news is fraudulent not just because it is factually false (though of course it usually is), but because it skips the procedures that make real news trustworthy.

    Scholars have shared varying perspectives of what constitutes fake news and this has often given grounds for a lack of an agreed working understanding of the definition of the term. According to Mukerji (2018), fake news is simply a false news story shared on media platforms, particularly digital media for the consumption of audiences. Gelfert (2018) on his part interrogates the intent and the design of fake news stories and posits that fake news is the deliberate presentation of (typically) false or misleading claims as news, where the claims are misleading by design.

    Bates et al (2017) assert on the other hand that fake news is news that is supposed to convince readers that it is real when it is not. It may look just like a real news article but it contains information that is not true. Their article argues further that the term ‘fake news’ is used to describe falsehoods which are presented as news and that the term itself is an oxymoron, a contradiction in itself, because news cannot actually be fake. Underpinning these definitions is a pointer that fake news is an information that is a departure from what is factually accurate. 

    How popular and widespread is fake news?

    According to Watson (2020) news audiences are at higher risk than ever of encountering and sharing fake news in an age where the internet is frequently the main source of information. She explains that a greater majority of audiences rely heavily on media for daily updates on news across the globe and often they take for granted that what they read, watch or listen to is truthful and reliable.

    She asserts that ‘Identifying fake news is made harder by the fact that it is rapidly becoming an industry of its own, with individuals paid to write sensationalist stories and create clickbait content to increase site traffic. Misinformation, fiction masquerading as fact, and deliberate lies can be made to look legitimate and can easily spread among thousands of users in a matter of minutes’.

    Available statistics show that the 2016 elections in the United States of America had an estimated 126 million Americans, roughly one-third of the nation’s population, receiving Russian-backed content on Facebook during the 2016 campaign. Twitter also reported 36,746 automated accounts — or bots — that were linked to Russia between September 1 and November 15, 2016. The accounts tweeted 1.4 million times and were seen 288 million times.

    A report published by Digital Education in January 2020 mentioned that fake news has become more ubiquitous in recent years and it is making it difficult for all persons including juveniles to spot the disorder in news items. In 2017, a Guardian report revealed that “Fake news” has acquired a certain legitimacy after being named word of the year by Collins, following what the dictionary called its “ubiquitous presence” over the last 12 months. The report said the word had increased by 365% since 2016.

    How partisan is Fake News?

    According to Hindman and Barash (2018), fake news assumed political coloration during the 2016 presidential race in America. The contest saw a proliferation of fake content emanating from pro Trump camps targeted at the Democrats all in a bid to discredit their campaign messages and their presidential candidate. The report asserted that though fake news was heavy in the message design of the Republican campaigns, the Democrats were neither saints at it. The avenues for propagation of these messages were however on social media particularly twitter and Facebook.

    The Constitutional Rights Foundation (2017) shares similar views and makes the point that the spread of fake news is predominantly motivated by politics; and political figures share such information in groups created on social media platforms in a form of echo chambers. Lazer et al (2017) intimate that the current social media systems provide a fertile ground for the spread of misinformation that is particularly dangerous for political debate in a democratic society. The study alludes that social media platforms provide a megaphone to anyone who can attract followers and the tendency to follow like-minded people leads to the creation of echo chambers and filter bubbles, which exacerbate polarization.

    Does fake news influence voting behaviour?

    In their work, Does fake news affect voting behaviour?, Cantarella, Fraccaroli & Volpe (2019) argue that the influence of fake news on electoral behaviour of voters is not supported by their empirical assessment. Their study rather asserts strongly that the spread of fake is common to eco-chambers where fake stories being circulated within the group goes to reinforce a biased opinion held by members in the group. The fake news so circulated, effectively aligns with their political beliefs and will ultimately not be the pendulum that will make members in the group sway their votes to other contesting opponents.

    A study by Thijssen (2017) on The Effects Of Fake News On Political Attitudes on the contrary make the point that fake news can influence voting behavior especially in a situation where persons exposed to the information believe the fake story to be true. Thijssen however agrees with the assertion that often, the belief in fake news is premised on the reinforcement of a preconceived notion and biases of the individual. The position of Thijssen is re-echoed in the work of Zimmermann & Kohring (2019) who assert that though fake news is able to influence the decision making process of those exposed to it, its causality in influencing voting patterns could not be established. Relatedly, findings of a study by Wang (2020) confirmed that false news affected Taiwanese voters’ judgment of the news and their voting decisions. According to the study, more than 50 percent of the voters cast their votes without knowing the correct campaign news. 

    Though extant literature generally agrees that fake news has some level of influence on people’s voting decisions, what studies have not emphatically stated is to establish a direct relationship between exposure to fake stories and its impact on voting behaviour.

    What is an eco-chamber?

    According Philosopher C Thi Nguyen an echo chamber is a social structure from which other relevant voices have been actively discredited. He explains that eco chambers can be compared to cults arguing that their existence can in part explain what appears to be an increasing disregard for the truth. He further states that like cults, eco-chambers isolate its members by actively alienating them from any outside sources. Those outside are actively labelled as malignant and untrustworthy and the cult member’s trust is narrowed, aimed with laser-like focus on certain insider voices.

    Garimella et al (2018) alludes to the fact that the term, eco-chamber refers to situations where people “hear their own voice” — or, particularly in the context of social media, situations where users consume content that expresses the same point of view that users themselves hold or express. Their study explains that eco-chambers are predominantly seen on digital media spaces such as blogs, twitter and Facebook. The members in the chamber agree with messages shared amongst them but discredit messages that are not congruent with their beliefs and strongly held opinions and ideologies.

     Are there political eco-chambers? 

    Boyd (2019) reports in his study that political eco-chambers are popular online and are somewhat associated with political groups and political ideologies. He alludes that in these groups, political allegiance has replaced basic reasoning skills.  Members, thus, become trapped and wrap themselves in an intellectually impenetrable layer of like-minded friends and web pages and social media feeds. An eco-chamber member often distrusts the standard sources. Their trust has been redirected and concentrated inside the group. 

    Garimella et al (2018) share a similar position and found in their study that partisan bloggers engage with blogs of a narrow spectrum of political views, which agree with their own. Similar occurrence replicated itself on other social media platforms such as twitter and Facebook. The evidence of political eco-chambers was not in doubt in their study, articulating the position of other scholarly studies that make the point that political eco-chambers have become grounds where messages are skewed in a way that reinforces already held biases.

    Why does fake news thrive in political echo chambers?

    Rhodes (2019) underscores the point that in order to appreciate how fake news and misleading information thrive in eco-chambers, a good assessment of the demographics of the group is germane to understanding the phenomenon. He explains that in homogeneous groups where group members share the same beliefs and ideologies, fake stories are perceived as real and irrespective of how it is presented, group members agree with such narratives. Such occurrences is a far departure from a group that is heterogeneous in character where group members are people of different orientation, beliefs and ideologies. Rhodes argues further that though a homogenous group is likely to believe a fake story as true, the frequency at which the fake story is re-shared to persons outside the group is low.

    Lazer et al (2017) argues that fake news was prevalent in the political discourse of the 2016 U.S. election and fake stories were widely shared on social media, a platform that provides a megaphone for many who could attract followers to disseminate their information. The study concluded that the spread rather than consumption of fake stories was very common in political groupings online.

    Are there political party eco-chambers in Ghana?

    Social media is awashed with varying groups that are aligned to the two main political parties in Ghana – New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the Nation Democratic Congress (NDC). The incumbent New Patriotic Party and the opposition Nation Democratic Congress are visible on twitter and Facebook trumpeting their programmes and policies and sharing varying campaign messages.

    As common to most eco chambers, messages shared receive endorsement and total support from other group members thus giving credence to studies that posit that political eco chambers are primarily homogeneous in nature and the messages shared within the group are trusted with no dissension. This is primarily because no matter how misleading the information is, the messages so shared reinforce group members’ biases and largely accentuate their beliefs.

    Which political parties are contesting the 2020 elections in Ghana?

    Towards the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections in Ghana, twelve political parts have been cleared by the electoral commission of Ghana to take part in the contest. The parties are, New Patriotic Party (NPP), National Democratic Congress (NDC), Convention People’s Party (CPP), Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG), Progressive People’s Party (PPP) National Democratic Party (NDP), Ghana Freedom Party (GFP), Ghana Union Movement (GUM), an independent candidate; All People’s Congress (APC), People’s National Convention (PNC) and Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP).

    Who are their presidential candidates?

    Incumbent president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), former President John Dramani Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Ivor Kobina Greenstreet of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Mr Kofi Akpaloo of the Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG), Ms Brigitte Dzogbenuku of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) and Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings of the National Democratic Party (NDP), Madam Akua Donkor of the Ghana Freedom Party (GFP), Mr Christian Kwabena Andrews of the Ghana Union Movement (GUM), Mr Asiedu Walker, an independent candidate; Mr Hassan Ayariga of the All People’s Congress (APC), Mr David Apasera of the People’s National Convention (PNC) and Mr Henry Herbert Lartey of the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP).

    What are some tips for detecting fake news ahead of the 2020 elections in Ghana?

    Though studies have indicated that very few people make the effort to verify information they are exposed to before they consume, an adherence to simple protocols could help the electorate , especially not to fall prey to the malice of fake news. The steps below serve as a guide in detecting a fake story within an eco-chamber – whether homogeneous or heterogeneous in character.

    • Read beyond the headline – A shocking, provocative headline might be just that. Read the entire article before believing and sharing it.
    • Know the source – Be sure the website you are on is an actual, legitimate news source. Many fake news sites are designed to look like real ones, even having a url just a letter or two different from its legitimate counterpart.
    • Check the date – Some articles may have been accurate when they were written, but after floating around on the internet for months or years are now outdated and inaccurate.
    • Question the intent  As you read an article, beware of hidden agendas. Is the article designed to sell you something, get you to believe something, or even be shocked or amused? If so, it’s probably fake news.
    • Check your own biases – So often we are inclined to take something as fact when it confirms our preexisting beliefs.
    • Do your own fact checking. We could once trust journalists to do this for us, but in the age of fake news we have to be willing to do it ourselves. If something seems unbelievable, it might just be. Use a fact checking site like FactCheck.org to investigate the validity of a story, especially before you share it. Try sticking to non-partisan resources if possible; again tough to know these days.

    Available assistance to detect fake news

    You can ask for our assistance if you are unsure of information you receive. Contact Dubawa Ghana via WhatsApp: 0542 81 81 89, on Facebook @dubawa, Twitter @DubawaGh or via email @[email protected] Alternatively, you can check our website, Ghana.dubawa.org for more

    References

    Cantarella, M., Fraccaroli, N & Volpe, R. (2019). Does fake news affect voting behaviour? 

    Retrieved from https://researchportal.helsinki.fi/en/publications/does-fake-news-affect-voting-behaviour

    Garimella, K., Francisci, D.G., & Gionis, A. (2018). Political Discourse on Social Media: Echo 

    Chambers, Gatekeepers, and the Price of Bipartisanship. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1145/3178876.3186139

    Gelfert, A. (2018). Fake News: A Definition. Department of Philosophy, Literature, History of 

    Science and Technology Technical University of Berlin Informal Logic, Vol. 38, (1), pp. 84–117.

    Lazer, D., Baum, M., Grinberg, N., Friedland, L., Joseph, K., Hobbs, W., & Mattsson, C. (2017). 

    Combating Fake News: An Agenda for Research and Action. Conference held February 17–18, 2017 Organized by Matthew Baum (Harvard), David Lazer (Northeastern), and Nicco Mele (Harvard).

    Mukerji, N (2018). What is Fake News? An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 

    http://dx.doi.org/10.3998/ergo.

    Rhodes, C. S. (2019). Echo Chambers and Misinformation: How Social Media Use Conditions 

    Individuals to Believe Fake News. A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Washington State University School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs

    Thijssen, Y (2017). Breaking the News the Effects of Fake News on Political Attitudes. Faculty 

    of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences Master Communication Studies, University of Twente.

    Wang, T.-L. (2020). Does Fake News Matter to Election Outcomes?: The Case Study of 

    Taiwan’s 2018 Local Elections. Asian Journal for Public Opinion Research8(2), 67–104. https://doi.org/10.15206/ajpor.2020.8.2.67

    Zimmermann, F. & Kohring, M. (2019). Mistrust, Disinforming News, and Vote Choice: A 

    Panel Survey on the Origins and Consequences of Believing Disinformation in the 2017 German Parliamentary Election. Routledge 

    https://www.turnitin.com/blog/4-reasons-why-fake-news-is-so-compelling
    https://www.ucf.edu/news/how-fake-news-affects-u-s-elections/
    https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/10/us-election-nears-researchers-are-following-trail-fake-news
    https://calendar.uoregon.edu/event/disinformation_in_the_us_2020_presidential_election#.X7KDGMj7TIU
    https://www.npr.org/2020/09/29/917725209/russia-doesn-t-have-to-make-fake-news-biggest-election-threat-is-closer-to-home
    https://www.propublica.org/article/how-to-spot-and-fight-election-misinformation
    https://www.wusf.org/recognizing-misinformation-amid-the-2020-election/
    https://politicalcapital.hu/russian_sharp_power_in_cee/publications.php?article_read=1&article_id=2426
    https://www.statista.com/topics/6341/fake-news-worldwide/
    https://www.mastersincommunications.org/truth-about-fake-news/
    https://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/DigitalEducation/2020/01/fake_news_is_everywhere_but_st.html
    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10584609.2019.1686095
  • Mahama affirms NDC’s rejection of 2020 presidential election results

    The former president and presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama, has affirmed his party’s rejection of the 2020 presidential results and has insisted that his party won both the presidential and parliamentary elections.

    “It was clear as per the results of the votes that were legally cast, that the National Democratic Congress won the presidential and parliamentary elections,” Mahama said.

    Speaking at the NDC’s press conference on 10 December 2020, held after the declaration of the election results by the Electoral Commission, Mahama explained why he rejects the 2020 presidential results. 

    He emphasised his firm belief in the democratic willpower of electorates in choosing a leader and reminded his audience of his respect for this choice of electorates when he lost elections as an incumbent candidate in 2016 and conceded peacefully. 

    For this reason, having noted to have amassed the most votes from the electorates both on the presidential level and parliamentary level, Mahama reiterated his party’s position of rejecting the ‘fictionalised results of the flawed elections’.

    “I am a staunch believer in the experiment of democracy – a system of governance that allows the ultimate decision making power to rest in the hands of you, the good people of Ghana. We the people who with an eye towards the future we would like for our dear country elect representatives to go forward and realize that vision. Government serves at the choice, direction and pleasure of the people of this great nation. And  I have had the power and honour to serve my country in all levels of government. When in 2016, at the end of my first full term as president, I ran for re-election as an incumbent candidate, I respected the will of the people – I conceded, I stepped aside and I set in motion a peaceful transfer of power because I understood that it was the will of the people. And if we are to progress as a nation, if we are to live up to the inheritance of our history -one for which people have paid the ultimate price -the sacred verdict of the people must be respected, it must be protected. It has been my pledge throughout my time of service as a representative to the good people of Ghana to do exactly that, and that is why I stand before you tonight, unwilling to accept the fictionalised results of a flawed election,’’ Mahama said.

    Photo source: John Mahama (Facebook page)

    Mahama further expressed his pride in NDC’s parliamentary candidates for winning 63 more seats in parliament and making up for the 2016 election losses. He added that the candidates have indeed demonstrated the strength of the party and the strength of the mandate given to the NDC by Ghanaians to lead the country. 

  • ANALYSIS: Ghana’s presidential election results declared with significant errors

    Following what some international and local election observers say was a successful holding of Ghana’s 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections, the Electoral Commission declared the official presidential results on Wednesday, December 9, 2020, at its headquarters in Accra. The verdict was declared without results from the Techiman South Constituency which Mensa explained was under contention.

    Chairperson of the Commission, Jean Mensa, declared Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the incumbent president, as the winner of the keenly contested polls.

    His closest contender and former president, John Mahama, who contested on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) came second. 

    “At the end of a transparent, fair, orderly and timely and peaceful presidential election, the total number of valid votes cast was 13,434,574, representing 79 per cent of the total registered voters. Permit me to present the result in the order of appearance on the 2020 presidential ballot.” 

    “At the end of the polls, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party obtained 6,730,413 votes, being 51.595% of the total valid votes cast. John Dramani Mahama of the National Democratic Congress obtained 6,214,889 votes being 47.366 of the total valid votes cast,” she said. 

    A document from the EC shared with journalists who covered the declaration however stated different figures for votes won by each candidate. 

    C:\Users\Jonas\Desktop\dc537a76-ab4c-48ec-ab68-bf7a860e491e.jpg

    Data twist? 

    Following that declaration, however, we found some discrepancies that have been highlighted below:

    1. Madam Jean Mensa’s spoken declaration stated 13,434,574 as the total valid votes cast while the one captured on the EC’s official document was 13,121,111

    2. Madam Jean Mensa declared that Akufo-Addo got 51.595% of the total valid votes cast while the official EC document captured 51.295%

    3. The EC’s official artwork shared on its Facebook page to announce Akufo-Addo’s victory also stated 51.295%

    C:\Users\Jonas\Desktop\EC artwork.jpg

    This caught our attention because the 0.30% difference carries a significant number of votes, over 39,400

    What percentage exactly did Akufo-Addo get?

    Calculating for the actual percentage won involves dividing the total number of valid votes cast in favour of Akufo-Addo by the total number of valid votes cast and multiplying the result by 100.

    Votes in favour of Akufo-Addo/ Total number of valid votes       × 100%

    With two different “official” number of valid votes cast in the 2020 polls; these are the percentage votes Akufo-Addo would have won.

    CandidateUsing 13,434,574Using 13,121,111
    Nana Akufo-Addo50.0977%51.2945%
    John Mahama46.260%47.3655%

    More Data Twist?

    The Electoral Commission on Thursday, December 10, 2020, released a press statement in which it revised the total number of valid votes cast from the 13,434,574 “inadvertently used” to 13,119,460.

    “The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission inadvertently used 13,433,573 as the valid votes cast. The total valid votes cast is 13,119,460,” the statement said.  

    C:\Users\Jonas\Desktop\Eo3IYpiXUAILVyU.jpg
    Source: Electoral Commission of Ghana

    The statement also came with reviewed actual figures for the number of votes obtained by each candidate. 

    Below are the major differences we’ve seen.

    Table 1: Results Declared By EC Chairperson on December 9 VS Results on EC Document Given to Journalists After Result Declaration

    CandidateResults declared by Jean Mensa(Valid votes- 13,434,574)Percentage (%)Results captured on EC’s document(Valid votes 13,121,111)Percentage (%)
    Nana Akufo-Addo6,730,41350.09776,730,41351.2945
    John Mahama6,214,88946.26046,214,88947.3656
    Christian Kwabena Andrews105,5650.78577105,5650.80454
    Ivor Greenstreet12,2150.0909212,2150.09309
    Akua Donkor5,5750.04155,5750.04249
    Henry Herbert Lartey3,5740.02663,5740.02724
    Hassan Ayariga7,1400.053157,1400.05442
    Kofi Akpaloo7,6900.057247,6900.05861
    David Apasera10,8870.0810410,8870.08297
    Brigitte Dzogbenuku68480.0509768480.05219
    Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings6,6120.049226,6120.05039
    Asiedu Walker9,7030.072229,7030.07395
    13,434,57413,121,111

    Table 2: Difference Between Reviewed Results Provided In EC Press Release on Thursday, December 10, 2020, And EC Document To Journalists After Wednesday’s Declaration

    CandidateReviewed results (Valid votes 13,119,460)  Percentage (%)Difference between earlier results and reviewed results (Votes)
    Nana Akufo-Addo6,730,58751.30232+174
    John Mahama6,213,18247.35852-1707
    Christian Kwabena Andrews105,5480.804515-17
    Ivor Greenstreet12,2000.092992-15
    Akua Donkor5,5740.042487-1
    Henry Herbert Lartey3,5640.027166-10
    Hassan Ayariga7,1380.054408-2
    Kofi Akpaloo7,6830.058562-7
    David Apasera10,8820.082945-5
    Brigitte Dzogbenuku6,8490.052205+1
    Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings6,5490.049918-63
    Asiedu Walker9,7040.073966+1
    13,119,460-1651

    Based on the above information, we find that the EC provided three different pieces of information on Ghana’s presidential election results. 

    The last official information from the EC on the results of Ghana’s presidential elections is Thursday’s press release which said President Akufo-Addo obtained 6,730,587, constituting 51.30232 per cent and John Mahama, 6,213,182, representing 47.35852 per cent of 13,119,460 valid votes cast.

    The results declared by Madam Jean Mensa has already been widely reported in both local and international media including France24, DW and Aljazeera although the EC has announced a revision. 

    Besides the fact that widely publicized erroneous data would mislead the public, it is concerning that such errors will riddle a major election result declaration such as Ghana’s. 

    The Vice President of IMANI Africa, Bright Simons believes that the situation is worrying. 

    He says most of the challenges observed with the country’s elections have been as a result of poor execution of documentation and administrative tasks on the part of the independent election management body. 

    “The problem is quite simply that over the past 10 years the country has spent roughly $200 million in biometric and allied technologies, systems and their maintenance. All this shiny gear does only one thing: stop impersonation. But this is hardly the biggest problem in our elections. As we saw in the 2013 petition and are seeing in the current slew of controversy, the real mess in the elections has always been clerical,” he said. 

    He adds that based on how the EC conducts its administrative work, it is not surprising to him that the EC’s official results have changed a few times. 

    “Apart from the seminal decision to give copies of pink sheets and other tally sheets to parties as a matter of right, we have done little to improve on that whole administrative and logistical process since 1992. It is thus not surprising that tallies for the same polling stations have differed across the political parties, the EC, the media and the observer missions… There certainly are concerns when even the Electoral Commission itself start flip-flopping on basic numbers. Hopefully, we shall not go to sleep on these issues like we did after the last petition.”

  • EC Has Not Yet called the Presidential Elections

    Claim: Social media users and online portals claim their preferred candidates, John Mahama or Nana Akufo-Addo, have been declared winner of the  2020 presidential election.

    False. The country is still waiting for the results of the presidential elections. The Electoral Commission has not declared John Mahama, Nana Akufo-Addo or any other candidate winner of the just concluded election in Ghana. 

    Full Text

    Electorates, following the casting of ballots on December 7th, are awaiting the declaration of the winner of the presidential election. 

    Some online news portals and social media users have declared John Mahama of the NDC as the while others have stated that Nana Akufo Addo has won ahead of the EC’s announcement.

    Verification 

    The institution mandated to call the election, the Electoral Commission (EC), has not declared the presidential results.

    The chairperson of the EC, Mrs. Jean Mensa, gave an update regarding the collation of the 2020 presidential election results citing rain and travel challenges at some polling stations as one of the reasons for the delay. 

  • Mahama has Not Conceded Defeat

    Viral social media messages suggest that John Mahama has conceded to the ruling NPP.

    During an emergency press conference held last night, John Mahama, flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) indicated that he has not conceded defeat.

    Full Text 

    As Ghanaians await the Returning Officer Jean Mensah to announce the final result of the presidential elections, social messages claim John Mahama has conceded defeat.

    Verification

    Mahama has denied the rumours. During a press conference held last night, Mahama said:

    “…I want to state categorically and firmly that I have not congratulated any person, and no attempt should be made to steal this election,” Mahama said.

  • False: 2020 election ballot papers have NOT been designed to cause Mahama to lose votes

    Claim: Viral video shows ‘sample ballot papers’ claiming election 2020 ballot papers have been designed to cause John Mahama to lose votes to rejected ballots due to smaller box for thumb-printing. 

    False. The supposed election 2020 ballot paper which was used in the video is not a sample of the official ballot paper that will be used for the polls. The design of boxes for thumb-printing on original paper is uniform for all candidates.

    Full text:

    A 3.31 minute-long video making rounds on social media says the presidential ballot papers printed by the Electoral Commission (EC) for the 2020 polls have been designed in a way that makes it easy for persons who want to vote for candidate John Mahama to have their votes rejected. 

    In the video, a man is heard making the claim and demonstrating what voters must do to ensure that their vote for Mahama is not rejected. 

    He said the boxes in which voters are expected to thumb-print beside their preferred candidates are not even. 

    The unknown man says the box beside President Akufo-Addo’s image is the biggest on the ballot while those beside John Mahama and the candidates are too small to accommodate one’s thumb. 

     “When you look at this how the Electoral Commission designed the ballot paper, it made the box beside Nana Akufo-Addo’s image big enough. Even if you look at the image, Nana Akufo-Addo’s image is bigger that John Mahama’s as well as the other candidates. So if you want to vote for Mahama, use your small finger to vote for him. If you use your thumb, the box will be filled and go extend outside the box because they want to reject the vote, that is why we are doing this video,” the man is heard saying in the video.    

    Verification:

    We retrieved a frame from the video that shows the supposed ballot paper designed to cause candidate Mahama to lose votes for further analysis.  

    C:\Users\Jonas\Desktop\Fake ballot.JPG

    From the information on the ballot paper used in the video, the material is a sample of the original ballot paper to be used for the December 7 polls. 

    With the underlying understanding that that photos of all presidential candidates are on a red background, we had reasonable grounds to suspect that that ballot paper used to make the claim in the video was not a sample of the actual ballot paper to be used by the Electoral Commission (EC) for the December 7, 2020 elections. 

    This is because photos of some of the presidential candidates on the ballot paper are not on red backgrounds.  

    Again, a video posted by Citi FM’s Caleb Kudah on Facebook from the Madina Police Station polling station during the special voting exercise on December 1, 2020, showed that the actual presidential ballot paper for the 2020 polls is significantly different from what was used in the viral video. 

    Contrary claims in the viral video about the box for thumb-printing for candidate Nana Akufo-Addo is bigger than those of the other 11 candidates, the video showed that they were of the same size. 

    Again, the photos of all the presidential candidates were of the same size and on red backgrounds unlike the one in the viral video.   

    C:\Users\Jonas\Desktop\Fresh.JPG

    Photo from Caleb Kudah’s video

    Despite being illegal, some voters in the special voting exercise have uploaded photos of their ballots online. Some of them, as posted here and here confirms the look and appearance of the video shared by Caleb Kudah and completely different from what was shown in the viral video.  

    Conclusion:

    Based on the above evidence, we conclude that the viral video suggesting that the Electoral Commission (EC) has designed ballot papers in a way that will cause John Mahama to lose votes to rejected ballots is false. 

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