Saturday, December 29, 2012

Pele pele pe! Christmas Cheer

As  I kid had a fear-love relationship with folk in masquerade costumes. They would come by mom's house in Awodome - my grandfather, Mr Sawyer, always supported the end of year celebrations in Winneba so they made it a point to come by for donations - and I was really intimidated by them as a toddler. As I grew older, I began to love & appreciate their colorful costumes and elaborate masks as part of their jovial nature. It was amazing to watch the young lady go through my childhood experiences with masquerade costumes in 15 minutes. One of my all time favorite memories as I walked out of my house at Airport West in Accra Ghana. This is why itake photos.

Maybe we should train young sprinters by employing coaches in masquerade?

Azonto is a Ghanaian dance craze that's taken the continent by storm.
When curiosity trumps fear...

They even did the Azonto upside down.

Blowing this up as one of my fav pix from my lens in 2012

All's well that ends well.


Monday, December 24, 2012

First TV Presenting Gig #GHone

On my bucket list presenting a show on tv is way up there and I had a chance to do so last Saturday Dec 21st at MTN's 9 lessons and Carols night concert at the Accra Conference Center in the country's capital.

Suited up. I think blue was the technical color of the day....see mic.

I had the chance to ask Samini, Kwaw Kese, DSP Sarpong, Ohemaa Mercy, Stella Dougan, Sammy Forson among others, what the highlight for 2012 was and their predictions for 2013.

Praye explaining their fashion sense "color blocking"

Stella Dougan on originality and presenting oneself in a positive light in 2013

So I would be lying if I didn't share the equally frustrating, annoying side of the evening prior to interviewing the celebrities for December 31st special on GHone.

I was told to show up at the National Theater at 6pm for "prep" before the show. Being punctual, I arrived at 5:30pm and at 6:30pm, called my project manager as he'd still not showed up with my press pass. He informed me that he was on his way. At 7:15pm I called buddy, and he informed me that he was on his way. At 8pm, idio...buddy called to tell me that he'd made a mistake.  The show we were filming at was at the Accra Conference Center and not at the National Theater *le sigh* Tampering my frustration at the lack of professionalism, utter disregard for my time I went to the the conference center to wait for the camera crew. The best part, they didn't get there until 8:45pm, at which point I felt like I'd been hazed (in a shirt and tie for two hours circa Presec prefectoral vetting days) just to present for this show.

The producer of the show did call to vehemently apologize and inform me that there was a mishap at the office and people getting locked at some point, but it definitely discouraged me from being punctual. Being early here seemed like an utter waste of time, but on principle I'd rather adhere to my habits of being professional done succumb to GMT...Ghana Man (delayed) Time. Wish me well, to maintain this habit, I'd need all the prayers and well-wishes I can get.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Ghanaian Election: Reactions to the Final result of 2012 Elections

The culmination of the December elections has left supporters of the NPP disgruntled and crying voter fraud while the ruling party, and declared winner of the 2012 election, were in a celebratory mood throughout Sunday night.

Exclusive video footage at the New Patriotic Party national headquarters as well as the National Democratic Congress national headquarters in Accra hours before and during the Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Afari-Gyan's announcement as to the winner of the presidential elections. I was a member of the Ghana Decides team. Videography by Emmanuel A. Gamor

NDC supporter marching on Oxford Street, Osu, Accra.

Emmanuel A. Gamor for Ghana Decides


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Following an Election: Voting an MP-Elect, Ayawaso West Wougon Constituency

So I'm exhausted, not just emotionally like most Ghanaians about the ongoing contemptuous rhetoric in the political sphere, but physically from being harassed, praised and challenged to report on the ongoing election story in Ghana.

I am also excited and have been challenged as a journalist, in the past week I've gotten amazing videography footage that sheds light on what the past week has been like in Ghana. From Friday morning the early morning voters at Dzorwulu polling station for the West Ayawaso Wougon constituency, through the following day (Saturday Dec 8th) to the Christian Center polling station for the same constituency and finally interviewing the member of parliament elect. It is amazing to watch the democratic process in action from the perspective of a first time voter, to hearing the sentiments of the person who is elected by the people to serve the constituency.

Ballot officer at Christian Centre, East Legon counting votes.

Getting better at this.

The next update will be the reactions from supporters of both NDC & NPP after the EC commissioner, Afari-Gyan's declaration. Stay tuned.

Emmanuel A. Gamor for Ghana Decides


Friday, December 7, 2012

Early Morning Voting at Ayawaso West Wougon constituency, Dzorwulu Open Space

Early Morning Voting at Ayawaso West Wougon constituency, Dzorwulu Open Space

At 8:15am the Dzorwulu Open Space voting station, number 138, had about 75 people in line voters waiting even as voters  casting their ballot moved at a decent clip. After media press accreditation were checked a polling agent at the station, Derrick Asiedu, reported that 91 voters with 24 female voters had successful exercised their franchise. Ayakparo Selassie Famous, a first time voter from the Volta region who currently resides at Ayawaso West Wougon constituency was excited to vote. Selassie Famous mentioned education as one of the main reason why he is excited to vote and had minimal complaints about his experience at this voting station.

Nassah Inussa a third time voter who had been in line since 4:00am, arrived to vote a few hours before the polling agents showed up to start the process. He wanted to make sure that he could get a chance to vote early and besides the wait, he did not have any major complaints at the polling station. In his opinion, today's election was as peaceful as previous ones and the though he expressed skepticism in the "US sent biometric equipment", he shared that he was fine with the verification process as long as it assured all voters that the elections were free and fair.

Voting at Polling Station #138 Ayawaso West Wougon Constituency

Peter Danu, a polling agent for New Patriotic Party (NPP)  reported that the elections at Ayawasu West Wougon constituency had been going smoothly thus far. Peter hopes the patience and comportment voters in line had exercised all morning will continue into the hot afternoon and evening. There were two security agents, as well as a representative for the National Democracy Congress (NDC) were present and on active duty.

Emmanuel A. Gamor for Ghana Decides


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Eve of Elections-Our Vote, Our Voice (East Legon)

After all the festivities during the national rallies, hosted by the National Democratic Congress & New Patriotic Party yesterday, today seemingly started with much less fanfare on the streets of Accra. Shortly after mid-day the pouring rain, as if in attempt to wash away the posters and banners, left-over vuvuzela's and print-outs in town, cleansed the capital of all political campaigning paraphenelia on the final day before elections.

Sentiments about the elections have been heated, debates and national officials of either party are both guilty of raising the rhetoric to alarming levels of accusations and counter-accusations.
 "We are the peaceful party, watch out, the others are the more violent."
"We do not control the military or the police force, they do, but like the youth in Tunisia, we have the mandate of the people and the mandate of the people is the mandate of God."

If you spent time in either party's camp, ambushed by red blue and white (NPP), loud vuvuzela buzzes you would come out reciting the free high school education platform and accolades of Nana Akufo Addo; if you were overwhelmed by the white and green, mouth contorting slogan of "edey be kɛkɛ" you would be an advocate for the "better Ghana" incumbent initiative. Amidst the rhetoric what was more impressive was symbol of unity friends of both parties showed when as they walked side by side, hand in hand late night after the political rallies. Taxi drivers were cautious to share their political inclinations, most from either party hinted that the race may be too close to declare early victory for either party and progressive, foreign educated Ghanaian's lamented about the absence of a strong political campaign machine to support other choices besides John Mahama's NDC and Nana Addo's NPP; the likes PPPs Nduom and CPP's Sakara.

Napthaline Djokoto at East Legon, Accra photo credit: emmanuel a. gamor

The "Our Vote, Our Voice" campaign by Ghana Decides seeks to engage young people in the electoral process, by providing pledge cards and an online link to vote, the Ghana Decides team seeks to remind young voters the importance of their contribution during the 2012 elections. Most young people were registered to vote, when pressed on whether they would vote on Friday, however, some gave excuses that where they were registered was inconveniently far from where they currently work or reside in Accra and weren't as pressed to show up at the polling station come December 7th.

A good section of the people also expressed a sense of being fed-up with the political rhetoric the incessant name-calling, the intimidation of potential violence due to the accusations of the dominant parties of what the other might do. Yes the democratic process is important to most people, and you can engage in a lively debate by mentioning colors, slogans, political parties names or prominent politicians. You will very likely find an ardent fan or vocal opposition almost anywhere on the streets of Accra.
More importantly though, Ghanaians enjoy good music, we enjoy concerts both religious and non-religous and more importantly, Ghanaians have embraced peace.

May the best man win.

Emmanuel A. Gamor for Ghana Decides


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Pre-election Sentiments at the Accra Mall

Three days to election day and everyone is gearing up for one of the most hotly contested elections in Ghana's history. Since 1992, there has perhaps not been as much media fervor and anticipation for a presidential election as this. The reported 32 radio stations based in Accra alone, and dozens of television station allow more avenues for discourse for everyone to be engaged in the political debate. The nationally televised and online broadcast presidential and vice-presidential debates notwithstanding, there are still a number of  young people I met at the Accra mall who were not intending to vote come Friday, December 7th 2012.


Some of the young people I spoke with were skeptical about voting. A gentleman who is an employee at one of the businesses at the mall, and wants to remain anonymous, lamented that he could not return to his place of registration in the Volta region and come back in time for work. I pressed him further and asked if his employees gave the impression that his job would be threatened because of his absence and he admitted to the contrary, he did not think it was worth the hassle and would consider voting if it was more convenient for him to do so.

photo credit: emmanuel a. gamor

Jeffrey Tetteh Obese, the Operations Manager at Barcelos fast food eatery at the mall, was pleased to pledge to vote. He shared that the management at the mall sent letters to all shop renters and employers that the mall will not be opened before noon on Friday to allow employees and workers to exercise their right to vote. Whether the notice about the mall's late opening was trickled down to all employees is another matter.

Jeffery Tetteh Obese at the Accra Mall photo credit: emmanuel a. gamor

A young lady with whom I spoke with at the MTN service center, hinted that though she lives in Accra and her registration/voting station is at Legon, she was not sure she would vote on Friday. She admitted she was a bit intimidated by the rhetoric between the NDC & NPP with a seemingly close election race may lead to violence. When pressed on what would make her more politically engaged and vote on Friday, she joked that a private chauffeur to the voting station without the wait in line would be best.

photo credit: emmanuel a. gamor
photo credit: emmanuel a. gamor

After the Arab Spring uprisings we are yet to see if the large demographic of young people in sub-Saharan Africa will affect or influence the presidential elections. The two dominant political parties have made a showing of employing young people amongst their ranks, and the NPP's main campaign promise revolves around serving young people with free Senior Secondary School education. Ghana Decides' Our Vote Our Voice campaign seeks to engage all young people, regardless of their political affiliations to go out and vote. Voting is a democratic right that should not be taken lightly as the opportunity usually comes once every four years with considerable implications to our collective well-being in the very near future.

Emmanuel A. Gamor for Ghana Decides