As the campaign for the December general elections intensifies, contesting candidates have been making several campaign claims and allegations meant to either support their campaign messages or refute messages of opponents. In previous elections, claims by contending parties and candidates have often passed unverified, thus inuring to the benefit of those who peddled false claims and half-truths.
As part of its project to promote issues-based and fact-based campaigning, the MFWA has commenced a project to fact-check claims and allegations being made by Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates, Campaign and Communications Directors as well as other key stakeholders in the electioneering process. The fact-checking project is being implemented with funding support from Germany’s leading media development organisation, DW Akadamie.
A dedicated team of experienced journalists and researchers have been engaged and trained for the fact-checking of campaign claims based on a fact-checking Instrument. Fact-checkers also have back-up support from international fact-checking experts. Claims are fact-checked by cross-checking claims with existing empirical data from credible and trusted national and international institutions.
The project team has so far fact-checked a total of 57 claims made by different key personalities. Put together, about a third (33.33%) of the claims fact-checked are false. Other claims were found to be half-truths (17.54%), while others were found to be true but misleading (8.77%).
The 57 claims that were fact-checked were made by personalities including President John Mahama, Nana Akufo-Addo, Ivor Greenstreet, Dr. Edward Mahama, who are flagbearers of the NDC, NPP, CPP, and PNC respectively. Claims made by other leading political figures were also fact-checked.
This initial aggregate report does not draw comparison among candidates. Subsequent aggregated reports will, however, feature a trends analysis to establish which candidates are being less truthful in their campaign claims.
Below are the 57 claims that have been fact-checked and the verdicts presented per claimants.
Six claims by Dr. Edward Nasigri Maham, flagbearer of the People’s National Convention (PNC) during IEA eventing Encounter on Tuesday June 21, 2016 fact-checked:
|1||Over 65% of the unemployed fall within the youth bracket.||Completely False|
|2||Ghana is the 7th dirtiest country in the World, according to the WHO….||Half True|
|3||There is no commitment at the top to fight corruption.||Half True|
|4||The Government of Ghana has no shares in the 26 mines in the country.||Completely False|
|5||Ghana courts are kangaroo courts.||Completely False|
|6||Ghana imports plantain||Mostly True|
Six claims by Ivor Kobina Greenstreet, flagbearer of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) during IEA evening Encounter on Tuesday June 28, 2016 fact-checked:
|1||Inflation is up to 19% with interest rates at 35% and the cost of living is so high for basic day to day things.||Entirely True|
|2||We also have a creeping urbanization, sanitation and housing crisis. For example, just imagine, 53% of households in Accra occupy a single room||Mostly True|
|3||5 million Ghanaians don’t have access to toilets.||Mostly True|
|4||Just look around you, despite all the shouting about poverty declining, recent statistics show that 30% of the population is poor with 19% extremely poor.||Completely False|
|5||Do you know that recent statistics show that 48% of Ghanaians between the ages of 15 to 24 have no job? And that figure they say is worse for women: 48% and I repeat 48% of Ghanaians between the ages of 15 to 24 are jobless.||Completely False|
|6||Look at our educational profile. In South Korea 60% of the population has higher education while ours is 3%.||Completely False|
Fourteen (14) claims by President John Dramani Mahama fact-checked:
The first three claims were made at the NDC’s Campaign launch in Cape Coast on August 14, 2016 and the next three made during his campaign tour of the Northern region. The subsequent six claims were made when he presented highlights of the NDC’s 2016 Manifesto in Accra, on 13 September, 2016. Finally, the last two claims were made during the official launch of the manifesto.
|1||Agriculture grew at respected 2.4% last year compared to a -1.7% in the year 2007.||True but Misleading|
|2||Ghana is second only to South Africa in respect of access to electricity. More than 80% of our people have access to electric power.||Half True|
|3||In 2013, we were running a budget deficit of close to 12 percent, rising inflation, a depreciation currency and spiralling interest rates…||Mostly True|
|4||When we came into power, we faced socio-economic infrastructure that was not in good shape, our roads were bad.||True but Misleading|
|5||Within 18 months we have installed 874 megawatts additional power.||Entirely True|
|6||We’ve taken water supply, those who were drinking clean water in Ghana, in 2008 they were 58%, today as I speak those who drink clean water in Ghana are 76% of our population.||Mostly True|
|7||We have achieved almost 97% enrolment rate at the primary school level. The question you’ll ask yourself is that where’s the 3%?||Mostly False|
|8||The number of pupils benefitting from the School Feeding Program (SFP) increased from 430,000 in 2008 to 1.7million in 2014.||Entirely True|
|9||A total of 1,614 out of 2,578 basic school projects were completed under the removal of schools under trees program||Mostly True|
|10||School enrolment increased from just above 7 million in 2008/2009 academic year to almost 9 million in 2014/15 academic year, representing an increase of more than 26%.||Entirely true|
|11||Ghana the first country in West Africa to achieve the MDG of cutting extreme poverty by half by 2015.||Entirely True|
|12||Inflation is on a downwards trend||Mostly True|
|13||This record is even made clearer if you analyse Ghana’s course on the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index. This is the most credible corruption perception index in the world. Here again, our record is better than any other year between 2001 and 2008||Half True|
|14||Ghanaians are living longer per the Human Development Report of an average of 63 years life expectancy in Ghana. On this composite index we are second only to Cape Verde in West Africa and far ahead of other countries in the same sub region.||Half True|
Four claims by Nana Akufo-Addo, flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) on his official twitter handle and on the campaign trail in the Brong-Ahafo region fact-checked:
|1||The National Health Insurance Scheme has collapsed.||Mostly False|
|2||After President Kufuor left office, the cocoa sector has been in decline||Mostly False|
|3||Mass Spraying brigades and gangs have collapsed.||Half True|
|4||There are too many taxes in our country…it is the reason why businesses are collapsing in our country.||Half True|
Eleven (11) claims made by Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the vice-presidential candidate of the NPP fact-checked:
The first three claims were made at a rally in Bolgatanga, on August 28, 2016 while the last eight were made during a lecture he delivered on Ghana’s economy on September 8, 2016 in Accra.
|1||The Free Maternal Care has collapsed||Mostly False|
|2||The teacher training allowance has collapsed||Entirely True|
|3||The nursing training allowance has collapsed||Mostly True|
|4||Our credit worthiness has been decreasing since we became an oil exporting company||Mostly True|
|5||For the third successive year, Ghana scored zero out of six on the macro-economic convergence requirements (ECOWAS)||Mostly False|
|6||Research allowance for lecturers has been cut||Mostly False|
|7||Inflation is currently at 16.7% which is the 8th highest in Africa||Half True|
|8||All our plants (power) operate below capacity||Entirely True|
|9||Real credit to the private sector has recorded negative growth recently||Entirely True|
|10||Agricultural output has also been on the decline||Mostly True|
|11||The World Bank reports that youth unemployment is 48%.||Completely False|
Eight (8) claims made by Hon. Fiifi Fiavi Kwetey, the Minister of Transport fact-checked:
The first two claims were made at the official launch of the NDC Manifesto on September 17, 2016 in Sunyani while the last four were made during the first of the series of NDC’s “Setting the records straight” forum at the party’s headquarters in Accra on September 22, 2016.
|1||How many houses did NPP build? Zero, not even one chamber and hall! Not even one single room was completed in eight years of the NPP.||Completely False|
|2||Now under transport, JM has brought about the largest investment in the history not just in Ghana but in Africa. 1.5 billion dollars that has been invested to transform the ports of Ghana. It’s never happened in the history of Ghana.||True but Misleading|
|3||The 11% budget overrun which the NPP recorded in the year 2008 remains the highest fiscal slippage from 1993 to date.||Mostly True|
|4||NPP ended the year 2008 with inflation at 18%…The Mills/Mahama NDC government…achieved the unprecedented record of nearly 3 continuous years of single digit inflation.||Entirely True|
|5||Even from 2013 to date, but for a 5 month period which started at January 2016 up to May, inflation has remained below the 18% the NPP government left inflation when they were leaving power.||Half True|
|6||In the 8 years of the Mills/Mahama administration, the agricultural sector has not experienced the -1.7% growth that Ghana suffered in 2007, under the NPP government.||True but Misleading|
|7||The Non-performing NPP did not build a single bungalow for basic schools, and senior high schools in eight years.||Completely False|
|8||NPP’s incompetent handling of the economy and the huge arrears left at the close of 2008 caused the non-performing loan ratio in the banking sector to reach 22%.||Completely False|
One (1) claim made by Hon. Nana Oye Lithur, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection during the official launch of the NDC Manifesto on September 17, 2016 in Sunyani fact-checked:
|1||In 2008, they registered a 1,640 households. As we speak today, H.E. President John Dramani Mahama has registered 217,000 households under LEAP.||Not Verifiable|
Three (3) claims made by Hon. Alban Bagbin, the Majority Leader in Parliament during the official launch of the NDC Manifesto on September 17, 2016 in Sunyani fact-checked:
|1||Ghana is the “second largest economy after Nigeria and the 12 largest in Africa.”||Entirely True|
|2||Ghana has the “highest national income” amongst its neighbours||True but Misleading|
|3||The quality of life of Ghanaians has increased tremendously…the life expectancy of Ghanaians has improved from 58 years in 2008 to 64 years in 2012. This means that Ghanaians live longer and better lives than they did in 2008.||Mostly False|
Four (4) claims made by Mr. Boakye Agyarko, the Campaign Policy Advisor of the NPP during a press conference held on September 17, 2016 fact-checked:
|1||We note, however, that the Education Sector Performance of 2016, published by the Ministry of Education, clearly indicates that the ‘Core Textbook to pupil ratio’ in public basic schools both at the National and Deprived District levels have been in decline since 2013/14.||Entirely True|
|2||On 28th June, 2016, the Mahama Government published for the attention of all Ministries, Departments and Agencies, ‘Guidelines for the Preparation of the 2017-2019 Budgets.’ It provides a caution that finances are extremely tight||Completely False|
|3||Also, last week when the President presented highlights of the manifesto, he mentioned specifically that beginning this academic year, 120,000 SHS boarding students will get free education. This promise is completely missing from the published Manifesto.||Completely False|
|4||Today, Ghana is currently ranked 114th on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index. The multiplicity of counterproductive taxes, levies and duties, high cost of utilities, erratic supply of electricity etc. led to this ranking. Meanwhile, the NDC manifesto is silent on how these real issues will be tackled.||Half True|
Read the full reports with the bases for the conclusions/verdicts on all the 57 claims fact-checked under the “Latest Facts Checked” section on www.fact-checkghana.com.
A pdf version of this aggregate report is available for download here.