With polls saying that President Obama and presidential hopeful Mitt Romney are in a dead heat–and the latest Electoral College count favoring the current president–we’re noticing the bubbling of liberal and other left-leaning people saying that they’re so dissatisfied with Obama’s performance that they’re not going to vote for him but are planning to “vote with their conscience.” Others say that, by doing so, the “conscientious objecting” voters are essentially throwing the election to Romney. This recalls similar rhetoric in the 2000 election, when those who supported then-presidential candidate Al Gore said his loss wouldn’t have been so contested if the Ralph Nader supporters didn’t “throw their vote away” on the third-party candidate.
Who’s right? And how did Ghanaians handle their own close election in 2008? And what can USians learn from Ghanaian voters?
Racialicious, National Black Programming Consortium’s AfroPoP.TV, and guest tweeters Scot Nakagawa (@nakagawascot) and Kenyon Farrow (@kenyonfarrow) will discuss these very issues on Twitter tonight at 7:30PM.
If you haven’t checked out Jarreth Merz’s An African Election, it’s available on YouTube until 11/1. Check out the film, and join the tweetversation!
By Latoya Peterson
Like so many other nations, the political landscape in Ghana is dominated by men. An African Election takes a look at the key players in the battle for the highest office in the land–but aside from a few brief comments from Hanna Tetteh, the election is yet another boys’ club. But that doesn’t mean that women aren’t on the scene.
By Tamara Winfrey Harris
The Manifesto therefore provides a platform of a common set of demands for the achievement of gender equality and equity and sustainable national development. It allows women to articulate their concerns in the 2004 Elections and beyond. Women are thereby empowered to use their votes as a bargaining tool and recruit others to do the same. The Manifesto provides female and male candidates with an agenda once they are elected to parliament and the District Assemblies. Finally, it would ensure political party accountability as they would ultimately be assessed on the basis of where they stand in relation to issues that concern women as outlined in the Women’s Manifesto. (Read the full Women’s Manifesto for Ghana here.)
In America, we are so convinced of our brand of democracy’s superiority that we are loathe to look beyond our shores for inspiration. And if we did, it is safe to say we would not look to Africa, a place the mainstream still imagines as a “dark continent” of indistinct and disadvantaged countries and peoples. What could the U.S.A. possibly learn from a country like Ghana?
AfroPop’s documentary “An African Election,” which premieres at 8:30 pm ET, Monday, Oct. 1, illustrates that riveting, hard-fought elections; charismatic politicos; and engaged, change-focused electorates are not exclusive to America. In a short 55 years, Ghana won its independence from the British, experienced four coups d’etat, and successfully transitioned into democracy. And there is something else to be learned by American women concerned about legislative efforts to curb our freedoms–Ghana is exactly where we might look for a response to the “war on women.”
Read more at Clutch Magazine…
Racialicious and National Black Programming Consortium’s AfroPoP.TV couldn’t think of a better way to wrap up our tweet-up series than to bring the tweetversation back to democracy…and how the one in Ghana affects the women in that nation. We asked our very wonderful guest tweeter, Ghanaian feminist Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah, to offer her insights about Jarreth Merz’s documentary and its portrayal of women, the election the documentary chronicles and the policies women’s groups agitated for in the Women’s Manifesto For Ghana, the struggles that Ghanaian feminists still face to ensure gender equity in the nation, and her own place in the larger matrix of feminism.
An excerpt of the tweet-up after the jump.
We hope the logo hasn’t thrown you off, Racializens. It’s our big reminder that Jarreth Merz’s documentary on Ghana’s 2008 election, An African Election, premieres next Monday, October 1, on PBS’ WORLD Channel. The movie begins at 8:30PM.
We’re also thrilled by the pre-premiere panel line-up! Scheduled to appear are:
They will discuss the parallels between the voting issues that faced Ghana during that momentous election and the voting issues that marginalized, disenfranchised people are facing in the US during this presidential election. The panel starts at 8PM on on the same night and channel.
To gear up for the Big Night, we’re having a tweet-up–our last, alas–today at 11AM EDT (4PM in Ghana). Our guest tweeter is Ghanaian feminist Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah, who works as the Communications Officer at African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) and co-runs the incredible blog Adventures From The Bedrooms Of African Women, a which collectively gathers information and discusses safer-sex practices and sexuality with African women and progressive African men. She’ll give her on-the-ground perspective on whether Ghana’s 2008 election affected the lives of women in the nation.
Check it all out!
An African Election: African Feminisms With Minna Salami and Yaba Blay
What Votes Count? On Voter Fraud And Intimidation [An African Election]
The Right To Information: A Building Block Of Democracy
An African Election: Pan-Africanism and Ghana’s 2008 Election With Dr. James Peterson
An African Election: A 21st-Century Ghanaian Politics Primer With Dr. Benjamin Talton
An African Election‘s Jarreth Merz On African Stereotypes And Ghanaian Politics
An African Election Takes Over Racialicious
It all came down to Tain. In An African Election,
the results of the 2008 were decided based on multiple run-off votes. Each time, the paper ballots were painstakingly counted and verified, and there was much discussion about not disenfranchising the elderly and those who did not have formal identification.
But times have changed. Continue reading
What does it mean when citizens have the right to information? For a democracy to function, citizens must be able to make informed decisions, both in their daily lives as well as at the ballot box. As Ghana approaches its election season, the debates around transparency and access are at an all time high — but none is more watched than the Right to Information Bill (the RTI for short).
Democracy is a very simple concept with a very complicated execution. The creation and continuation of democracy is normally messy – entrusting the people to be informed and active participants in a society is a challenge for nations much further along in their histories. Between decolonization, military coups, and transitioning to Democracy, Ghana finds itself on the forefront of defining a new way toward democracy.