Tag Archives | Ghana

Biometric Identity Verification Fails In Presidential Election – Loser Claims Vote Fraud

John Dramani Mahama

The twist to this increasingly common headline is that it doesn’t refer to the United States, but to Ghana, perhaps the most democratic of African nations when it comes to elections. Story from AP via the Houston Chronicle:

ACCRA, Ghana (AP) — President John Dramani Mahama was declared the winner Sunday of Ghana’s recent presidential election, according to provisional results, despite widespread technical glitches with the machines used to identify voters, and over the protest of the country’s opposition, which alleges vote-rigging.

Armored tanks surrounded Ghana’s electoral commission and police barricaded the road around the electoral offices as the election body’s chairman Kwadwo Afari-Gyan announced that Mahama had polled 5.5 million votes, or 50.7 percent.

Opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo, who lost the 2008 election by less than 1 percent, came in second with 5.2 million votes, or 47.7 percent, Afari-Gyan said. Voter turnout was high, with more than 80 percent of the roughly 14 million registered voters casting ballots in Friday’s presidential and parliamentary election.

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Inside Ghana’s Witch Camps

Imagine life in a remote town comprised entirely of “witches.” The BBC explains:

When misfortune hits a village, there is a tendency in some countries to suspect a “witch” of casting a spell. In Ghana, outspoken or eccentric women may also be accused of witchcraft – and forced to live out their days together in witch camps.

The camps are said to have come into existence more than 100 years ago, when village chiefs decided to establish isolated safe areas for the women. They survive by collecting firewood, selling little bags of peanuts or working in nearby farms.

“The camps are a dramatic manifestation of the status of women in Ghana,” says Professor Dzodzi Tsikata of the University of Ghana. “Older women become a target because they are no longer useful to society.”

Women who do not conform to society’s expectations also fall victim to the accusations of witchcraft, according to Lamnatu Adam of the women’s rights group Songtaba.

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The Fantastical Burials Of Ghana Coffin

In our new age, how does one leave the realm of Earth with style and flair? In contrast to the traditional staid wooden box, the Accra-based Ghana Coffin carpentry collective carves custom coffins in every shape imaginable, including lizards, cruise ships, cigarettes, pianos, cell phones, popsicles, and (for infants) computer mice:

We are at the very beginning the fifties. Perhaps a fisherman, or then a cultivator, inquired to Kane Kwei about the possibility of having a coffin in the form of boat. Or of an onion. To bury a parent fisherman or cultivator. Kane Kwei honored the order.

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Sakawa Boys: Ghana’s Cyber-Juju Email Scam Gangs

sakawa-poster-11What do you get when you combine identity theft and email fraud with black magic, spells, and shape shifting? The explosively popular West African subculture known as Sakawa. Via Motherboard, who filmed their visit in Ghana with Sakawa boys:

While Nigeria’s 419 scammers may have written the book on West African internet fraud, their shtick looks like Compuserve compared to what’s going on in Ghana. Ghana’s scammers decided to stack the odds in their favor the old-fashioned way: witchcraft.

Traditional West African Juju priests adapted their services to the needs of the information age and started leading down-on-their-luck internet scammers through strange and costly rituals designed to increase their powers of persuasion and make their emails irresistible to greedy Americans. And so “Sakawa” was born.

Not only is Sakawa the country’s most popular youth activity and one of its biggest underground economies, it’s a full-blown national phenomenon. Sakawa has its own tunes, clothing brands, Sakawasploitation flicks, and even a metastatic backlash from Christian preachers and the press.

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