Ghana: Press focuses on issuance of electronic visas next year, others

The plan to start the issuance of electronic visas (E-visa) next year and the clearance of 12 presidential aspirants to…

The plan to start the issuance of electronic visas (E-visa) next year and the clearance of 12 presidential aspirants to contest this year’s election, scheduled for December 7, by the Electoral Commission are some of the trending stories in Ghanaian press on Tuesday.The Graphic reports that Ghana will start the issuance of electronic visas (E-visa) next year. Procurement processes have started for the selection of a firm to partner the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) to design and issue E-visas to facilitate the acquisition of the travel documents to the country from any part of the world.

The visa policy reform is part of the $40-million World Bank-funded Ghana Tourism Development Project (GTDP) to enhance Ghana’s tourism and hospitality sector and make the country a more attractive destination.

The acting Project Coordinator for the GTDP, Mr. Divine Kwame Owusu-Ansah, told the Daily Graphic in an interview in Accra that the measure would facilitate the ease and convenience of acquiring visas to the country.

He said visa acquisition to the country had been challenging for visitors, as they had to travel long distances to apply for it, while using the postal system had not been helpful.

“We are working with the GIS to set up the E-visa system for the country. We hope to recruit the firm to design, supply, install and build capacity and deploy electronic visa solutions for the Immigration Service by the middle of next year,” he explained.

The newspaper says that the Electoral Commission (EC) has cleared 12 presidential aspirants to contest this year’s election, scheduled for December 7, 2020.

It, however, disqualified five aspirants for breaching aspects of the nomination process, for which they have been referred to the police for prosecution on the grounds of forgery.

Of the 12 qualified candidates, 11 are sponsored by political parties, while one is an independent candidate.

The EC Chairperson, Mrs. Jean Mensa, who announced the outcome of the filing of nomination exercise at the EC Headquarters yesterday, said the commission  extensively scrutinised the nomination forms of the aspirants to ensure that they satisfied all the requirements outlined by law to qualify as a candidate.

The qualified candidates are 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).

The rest are 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).

The Graphic also reports that the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has rolled out a comprehensive data gathering exercise to improve the management of the sector.

This follows the successful piloting of the exercise in selected cocoa-growing communities, during which about 1,000 farmers were captured and issued with their cocoa identification cards (CICs).

Known as the Cocoa Management System (CMS), the exercise will collect detailed information on cocoa farmers and their farms, as well as other stakeholders operating in the sector.

The information gathered from the cocoa sector census is meant to provide the industry regulator and the government with concrete and verified data on the cocoa sector and its stakeholders for the purpose of improved management of the sector.

For decades, the management of the sector has been based on guesswork and extrapolations on the number of farmers and their farms, the sizes and the locations, a situation that the board said made planning difficult. 

The Times reports that the United Nations (UN) has cautioned Ghanaians against hate speech and violent practices that has the potential to disrupt peace and security in the build-up to this year’s general elections.

Charles Abani, UN Resident Coordinator in Ghana, explained that the country risks eroding her democratic gains over the past decades and destabilising its peace and respect for rule of law if hate speech was allowed to creep into its body politics.

He said Ghana, which was globally regarded as a beacon of hope for the African continent, must denounce hate speech while consolidating its democracy and strive to maintain the existing peace and the rule of law as political activities intensify.

Speaking at the launch of the 75th UN Day and anniversary celebrations in Accra yesterday, Mr. Abani said the UN was confident that Ghana would emerge winner at the end of the electioneering exercise.

“Ghana is an inspiration and a beacon of hope across Africa and an example to the rest of the world. Let us all ensure the maintenance of mutual respect and tolerance; let us denounce hate speech and promote peace and the rule of law; and let us remember that the gains made can only be sustained for the good of all Ghanaians only if Ghana wins,” he said.