The Daily Graphic and its Editor Ransford Tetteh became topic for virulent discussion on Radio Gold’s Alhaji vs Alhaji last Saturday.
The Graphic’s problem was for first publishing Ekwow Spio-Grabrah’s article accusing President Mills of wasting Ghanaians time, fielding a Team B, disrespecting party Founder Rawlings and driving the NDC bus recklessly into an electoral accident in 2012.
This was followed by the paper devoting its entire front page to a similarly bare-knuckle attack on Dr Spio-Grabrah by the ‘godfather’ of President Mills’ inner circle, Ato Ahwoi.
With the NDC weekend current affairs programme insulting the Graphic for highlighting serious divisions within the NDC, the paper sought this Tuesday to ‘even’ the score by highlighting what it described as ‘chaos’ in NPP.
Today’s banner headline was: ‘NPP POLLS: CHAOS ALL OVER - Nana Addo, Alan blamed’, with the photographs of the two men expected to contest for the party’s standard bearer position next year.
The rejoinder, filed by the Communications Director of the New Patriotic Party, Kwaku Kwarteng accused the Graphic of creating a chaos when its own report from the regions of the same story indicates that the NPP polling station elections at the weekend went very smoothly.
The Daily Graphic publication of October 7, 2009, sought to give an erroneous impression that the election of NPP polling station executives in the 21,034 polling stations across the country has been chaotic, for which Nana Akufo-Addo and Alan Kyerematen can be blamed.
We consider the Daily Graphic publication unfortunate and untoward and we question the motive behind this publication for the following reasons:
1. The banner headline ‘NPP POLLS: CHAOS ALL OVER. Nana Addo, Alan blamed’ is completely disingenuous. The discrepancy between the headline and the content of the story provided by the Daily Graphic is remarkable. The Daily Graphic by its own story provided a vivid account of how the elections have generally been peaceful and successful in most polling stations throughout the country. The story does not provide any account of even one incident of chaos in a single polling station out of the 21,034 polling stations in which the exercise has taken place; neither does it provide any evidence of how Nana Akufo-Addo and Alan Kyerematen can be blamed for the purported ‘chaos’ that has characterized the polling station elections.
2. According to the Daily Graphic, “the exercise faced a lot of constraints pertaining to finances and inadequate logistics in the Volta Region”. We do not see how financial constraints and inadequate logistics can be equated to chaos.
3. In the case of the Tema West Constituency, the Daily Graphic reports that “there were widespread protests and an appeal to the national and regional executives of the party to set aside all persons presented to their offices as polling station executives for Tema West”. Protests and appeals we believe are allowed as ways of seeking redress for an election in which any person or party considers unfair, and we again fail to see how anyone can reduce such legitimate actions to mean chaos and also be linked to Nana Akufo-Addo and Alan Kyerematen.
4. In the Bekwai Constituency, the Daily Graphic reports that there was widespread agitation for the supporters of the Member of Parliament, Mr. Joe Osei Wusu, who left the party to contest as an independent candidate to be included in the Electoral College, while others believed they should be sidelined, for which reason the elections in the Bekwai Constituency have been suspended. A situation of the sought cannot be said to be chaotic and cannot be blamed on Nana Akufo-Addo and Alan Kyerematen. In fact the Ashanti Regional Police through its Public Affairs Unit confirmed to the Daily Graphic that “no violence characterized the polling station elections in the region”.
5. The Daily Graphic reported that the polling station elections in the Brong Ahafo, Upper West, Upper East, Eastern, Northern, Central and Western Regions have been “smooth so far “.
The Daily Graphic must not compromise its hard won reputation as a credible state media, for any reason. It should not be doing the kind of propaganda that is associated with some other media houses that are bent on destroying the image of people. Per the constitution of the NPP as amended, 105,170 polling station executives will form part of the Electoral College that will elect the party’s Parliamentary and Presidential Candidates and so the interest that was shown by members of the NPP in the polling station elections is understandable. It must also be noted that about a quarter of a million people contested to be polling station executives in the 21,034 polling stations, and the elections was largely peaceful in most of the constituencies and polling stations with a few isolated cases of disagreement. The far-reaching effect of the decision by the NPP to include polling station executives in its electoral college is unprecedented. We believe the NPP should rather be commended in any event for deepening internal democracy in Ghana by empowering the grassroots to actively participate in the party’s decision making process. A few isolated challenges to the process cannot by the stretch of any imagination make the process a flawed one.
The Daily Graphic should pay attention to the many pressing social and economic issues that confront our dear nation today and contribute its part to finding solutions to these problems rather than concentrate their energies and attention on fights which do not exist in the NPP and wrongly blaming individuals who are not involved in anything.
This whole attempt to make the NPP and its leading members look bad in the media regarding the election of polling station executives is an exercise in futility.