EC Announcement Delay Worries Me

So Ghana went for change and in the process almost changed the colours of our flag to white, blue and red. Celebrations have been on going since the President John Mahama conceded. Some celebrations however have gone overboard and caused unnecessary pain.
This morning I want to share my concerns about the Electoral Commision’s (EC) delay in announcing the election results.
I had the opportunity of listening to an audio post on whatsapp that detailed how the NPP was sure it had won the elections. I won’t go into the details but it involved hacking of which I believe because on 7th December 2016, around 22:00 I could not access the EC website. I tried hour after hour and still could not access it.
On Friday I put up a post expressing my views on our behaviour towards the delay of the EC in announcing the results. My view was to let the EC do it’s job. I was not privy to any information suggesting inefficiency. As far as I was concerned the EC had the best means to go about managing the election and announcing the results.
This news about the NPP having the results before the EC however worries me and brings up a lot of questions. Why did it take the EC so long in announcing the results? How efficient is the EC in doing its job? Is this going to be addressed? 
I don’t have facts for these issues being raised but the conversations I have been part of suggests that the NPP was vigilant in ensuring that their votes were protected and that the right thing was done. This is the right attitude to adopt but the EC should surpass the vigilance of the NPP as the refree in the electoral process. It sounds as if that was not the case.
I am not comfortable. As a Ghanaian voting for the first time I believe an institution like the EC has more than enough time to prepare for an election and ensure that the security and validation of votes are coallated in the most efficient manner. For a political party to be more efficient raises some serious eye brows. I don’t have the facts but I am interested in finding out more about this issue. 
All Ghanaians should be interested in finding out about the delay. Media houses should delve into these why’s. The integrity of our country and institutions are at stake.
If CHANGE is really here then let’s change the attitude of silence and ask a simple question. Why was there a delay?
As we keep it One Hondred leading to Christmas, what’s your take on the EC’s delay to announce?

Peace Songs & Election Aftermath

So after three hours of waiting yesterday, I voted for the first time. My left pinky finger is still stained, I remember a selfish irritating voter along with other noisemakers but all that aside I consider the process a peaceful and successful one.
What is not peaceful is these darn peace songs that populate my television.
Peace Songs
I loved the traffic free roads but I know it’s a short lived experience. The peace songs however are not peaceful at all! In fact some are irritating and can’t wait for them to get off air.
Who sponsors these works of art?
I applaud the investment and wonder why it can’t be done for other projects that boast a more promising life span.
Let’s face it, after today these songs will bear no relevance. I am actually looking for Ghanaians to witness to me that one of these songs inspired peace within them.
To me it’s a selfish enterprise not benefiting Ghana. A peace song is not really about entertainment and must have a deeper message than that of which I have listened to. 
A great peace song to me is Black Eyed Peas “Where is the Love”. A great song that stands the test of time. Here is a tip to peace song makers. If your song doesn’t sound like it will be played after elections then don’t bother. Refocus your efforts.
Can The Elections Be Improved?
Of course it can improved. Even if the election process saw no error there is still room for improvement. 
I personally was not particularly happy about my three hour wait to perform a two minute activity. The news of quick voting from friends via social media didn’t help my patient composure as well. I was however determined to vote and my resolve outweighed my irrritation.
My polling station name and code: PHASE 1, REGIMANUEL ESTATE EAST AIRPORT (C120320B) for some reason had an influx of voters from the beginning of the voting session. For future purposes, I believe operational procedures be revised to cater for such influx in an effort to speed the electoral process. 
Major Issue at Polling Station C120320B
The major issue that befell voters at my polling station was poor communication on the queues that they were to be in. 
I was a victim of this. I arrived at 8 AM and was advised by people in the queue to use my first name to determine my queue. My name being Paul meant that I was destined for the N-Z queue. At least that’s what I thought.
Once I reached my turn to verify my name on the list I was told I was in the wrong queue. The correct procedure apparently, was to use the first name on the voter ID card. The first name on my card is my surname, which is Forjoe. So I was to stand in the “F” queue.
Throughout my two hour wait in the N-Z queue I did not hear any advise by the electoral officers to prevent my mishap. Considering the number of people present, a PA system or mega horn was needed to advise on the correct queue for voters to join.
Electoral Commission Website
I have to commend the Electoral Commission (EC) for the great work done in ensuring peaceful voting. A lot of work has gone into ensuring that the voting process was successful. 
Not all areas were covered but I believe the future holds progress. 
(Okay, that was the compliment. Now for criticism)
My rant revolves around the EC’s website and the information that resides on it. 
I am a millennial who loves to utilize his smart phone and the internet. Social media, television and radio are good but in this day and age all information being broadcast on these platforms must first and foremost be on the website. This covers all bases and affords any individual discussing election, to refer to content with confidence because it comes from the EC website.

EC tweets screenshot
EC tweets screenshot

I saw the tweet assuring me of eligibility to vote as long as I had a valid ID or a copy of my voters ID and the short code to verify my polling station, just this morning. 
I applaud the use of social media to push this message but it should be on the EC website with a link directing people to more information, attached to the message on social media.
I believe a YouTube channel is equally important to advise Ghanaians and interested stake holders on proceedings, procedures and any other information deemed important for video. This should be linked to the website to enable easy access to the media.
Final Word
Well let’s await patiently for the final results. God has blessed us with peaceful voting and promises a peaceful future. The onus lies on you and I to ensure that we comport our selves at the result. 
We have survived 8 elections and 4 Coup’s. Let us survive another. Stay blessed and keep it One Hondred!
PS: The main illustration of the Black Star Gate at Independece Square was created by Jojo Conceptz 

My First Voting Impression

It’s Wednesday 7th December 2016, Election Day in Ghana. This is the day that the waakye, Hausa Kojo and other breakfast queues are transferred to polling stations and last till the evening.
I hate the sight of queues, even worse is standing in them but I love Ghana more. That means doing something I hate in an effort to make a difference.
Voting started at 7 AM. Its 8 AM and I am in the N-Z first name queue and it’s five times longer than the English alphabet. My polling station is the PHASE 1, REGIMANUEL ESTATE EAST AIRPORT (C120320B).
Please note you need stand in the queue that corresponds to the first letter in your first name. In my polling station there is no indication of this. I had to ask to know this. Don’t go standing in the wrong queue.
So far things look organized and for the past 20 minutes I have been at the same place, which makes me wonder as to whether it’s the voters or the voting officials that are slowing the process down.
Already amongst voters, commentary has begun. Talk of inefficient procedures, long lines and the like. A lady just passed me by with a camp chair and I am so envious. 
This being my first time participating in this national exercise I feel I should have been advised on some things to bring along with me to make the process more bearable.
If you have not left home to vote try carrying the following along:

  1. Your voters ID or identification document to enable you to vote.
  2. A camp chair or any item to sit on
  3. A cap, straw hat or anything to give shade. An umbrella is not a bad idea.
  4. Sunglasses – this is optional but it helps.
  5. A face towel
  6. A fan or anything to fan with 

Hondred Percent face towel shade cap
Hondred Percent face towel shade cap

Well it looks like I am going to be here for a while. I hear it is estimated that each voter will use 2 minutes to vote. There are about 60 people in front of me so my math tells me that I will be voting in the next two hours. I hope this is an exaggeration. 
Littering by voters
Littering by voters

It’s sad but just in my queue I have seen voters drink satchet water and litter their very surroundings. With attitudes like this how do we develop our country? This day will cause a shift but we have a long way to go to develop our GHANA to better standards.
Remember to keep the peace as you vote and keep it One Hondred!

Can I vote without my voters ID?

Ok so finally I found my Voters ID so I will be voting tomorrow. People assured me that without it I could vote, as long as I knew the ID number. I have a picture of the ID saved on my phone so that should suffice. 
But how sure am I that that would hold?
I was still skeptical because everyone kept saying “they say” and I was unsure as to whether “they” was equal to the EC (Electoral Commission)
Someone also asked about moving to a different polling station since she had moved to a different location. 
These concerns are valid and in my opinion should be adequately addressed. One could say it had been discussed enough on radio and television but in my opinion focusing on these mediums doesn’t cut it in these times. 
In 2016 where social media and the internet are available to anyone with a smartphone, I expect adverts and campaigns to be everywhere on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Viral videos should be all over addressing these concerns. I believe it should be done not only by the EC but also the political parties as well since it is in their best interest.
Well this morning I decided to give the EC the benefit of the doubt and visit their website to find if it could address these issues of mine. 
To my surprise the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section did not address any of these concerns.

Electoral Commission website FAQ
Electoral Commission website FAQ

Am I the only one who finds this weird? I mean there is nothing on the website addressing the, no voter ID but want to vote issue and the change of polling station for persons that have moved.
With all the funding that the EC has at their disposal I believe the least that can be done is to address it in the FAQ on their website. Political parties also have to address these issues via social media and websites to prevent people like myself shying away from voting. If I didn’t find my voters ID, I may not have voted. I believe there are many like me so that issue needs to be addressed.
Well I believe this is a late issue to bring up but better late than never. May we vote peacefully tomorrow and move the country towards prosperity.
Keep it One Hondred!

Toaso or Change – which is LOUDER?

Two days more to election and I can’t find my Voters ID. I better increase my search efforts because I really want to vote this year. 
Though I applaud all political parties in the final run towards the presidency, I am not sure what the the rest are doing in the race. 
By rest I mean all political parties aside NDC (National Democratic Congress) and NPP (New Patrotic Party). Sorry guys (the rest) but my vote goes to one of these two parties. That’s not to say that the two parties are the best but the odds are in their favour. It is between these two that the battle will be won so I want to aid in the decision process.
Speaking of aiding, last Thursday I had the opportunity to drive through 37, The Olusegun Obasanjo road, the highway leading to Pokuase, parts of Dome and Haatso. I was surprised to see billboards and various adverts of NDC splashed all over town. 
I must say that I am impressed with the marketing campaign used in the adverts. It is very clear and concise. When I compare this to what the opposition is doing I can’t help but feel that the competition is one sided.

An NDC advert at Kanda
An NDC advert at Kanda

I understand Accra is just a portion of Ghana and I also understand that other marketing efforts other than visual adverts are being employed. Despite this, in certain parts of Accra, it seems that NDC is better informing its voters and aspiring voters on who to vote for better than the NPP.
I had a debate about this with someone and they kept going on about whether the claims made in the adverts were valid. The question is how many people ask the validity question these days. Even in this Information Age when false news is propagated on social media how many people, educated or uneducated alike bother to verify?
Even if I were to ignore the above the thing is I get the agenda that NDC is pushing. NDC via their adverts are saying that they have developed Ghana to a point, they have provided infrastructure and jobs to many sectors and want the nation to allow them to continue and thus the slogan, “JM Toaso, Toaso”. 
An NDC advert at 37
An NDC advert at 37

In addition to that, it has been indicated in majority of the adverts the position of the NDC presidential candidate. As of Thursday I now know that  NDC is third on the presidential ballot sheet. It has been drummed into my head every where I turned whether I liked it or not.
Compared to NPP the only thing I am hearing is the word “Change” and in that department it seems as if “Toaso” is louder. As of today I am not even sure of which position NPP is on the ballot sheet. 
Will all this make a difference?
Maybe. It’s difficult to tell. For me what I have seen is only in sections of Accra. It doesn’t speak of what is happening in other regions and towns. 
If however the capital is anything to go by, I can assume that the marketing campaigns are similar in other regions. Maybe NPP concentrates more in other regions. Maybe other marketing strategies are being employed.
What do I know? I am not a political scientist, just your average observer. From what I observe, NDC has done a better job advertising in the sections of Accra I have visited. It will be interesting to correlate the results in these areas with the adverts to see the impact.
Maybe it’s a money thing. Maybe others want to follow suit but the funds are just not available. If that were the issue I would hope that in the future a budget of adverts be raised and controlled by the EC (Electoral Commission). 
Here all political parties that qualified to run for the presidency will be allocated the same budget to be used for adverts. The parties would bid for advertising lspaces through advertising agencies and the EC would control this to ensure that every party is given a fair shot at communicating to the people.
Such a utopian idea, maybe one day my wish will come true. Either way, let’s go out in our numbers to exercise our vote. 
Keep the peace and keep it One Hondred!

Trump-Anything Is Possible

Never say never.
Who would have thought that Donald Trump would make it this far? Definitely not me. His character and statements are a scary glimpse of a future with him as president.
Is he the right president for the United States? That’s not for me to say.
 As I strap my sons diaper on him after cleaning up green funk, I can’t help but see the solution starring at me in the face.

My Son After a Diaper Change
My Son After a Diaper Change

Education is the key. Each one of us was a blank canvas filled with concepts by our parents and environments. From our religion and perceptions we were moulded. Parents have a lot of control on the process and it’s their responsibility to ensure that their children turn out right. 
But what does that mean?
Does it mean I must raise them Christian? Must I teach them how to bully they’re way out of things? Teach them how to not respect others? What does “right” mean exactly?
I stare at my son wondering if my ideals of peace, love and respect will help him succeed in the future. He knows no better as I change his diaper but appreciates the comfort that the change provides. Am I helping him succeed or fail? I believe in those values (peace,love and respect) but will the world accept him for believing the same?
It’s come clear to me that the concept of education in our institutions has to change. Simultaneous equations, calculus and subject verb agreement don’t teach people humanity and love. There is seldom a discussion or a lesson on humanity, race and equality. Subjects which many grow learning little about and subject others to their ideals which sometimes go as far as killing and discriminating against others.
A look into the last five years on earth has shown that we are doing something wrong. Discrimination and war have risen to unimaginable heights with little done to minimize its effects. A presidential candidate believes climate change is a hoax and people actually believe him? What world have I brought my son into?
As a Christian, I will love and raise him to do good. I will need to supplement this with other teachings and concepts. Most importantly I need him to understand that perceptions can be very deceiving. This year’s election is a perfect example. 
Trump was a candidate that the world mocked. Today he is the President of the USA. 
That’s admirable no matter how you look at it. It’s inspiring to know that even though the odds are against you, you can rise and be victorious. I like to believe that can happen to my son. The moral of the story is inspiring. The process of how he got there however is a story for another day. 
It’s obvious that a lot more people in America see things Trump’s way than Hillary’s. What does this mean for Blacks, Hispanics and others like them? Does this mean white supremacists and chauvinists will rule? I am not sure but the way things are going now, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.
As you keep it One HONDRED, what are your thoughts on Trump as president?