2016 Elections: 98 Campaign Claims Fact-Checked – 28% of Claims False, Others Half-Truths

The campaign leading to the just ended general elections in Ghana was one marked by the making of several claims, counter claims and allegations by the various political contenders. The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) found that about 28% of the claims its fact-checking team examined were false. A further 25% of these claims were found to be either half-truths or misleading.

MFWA’s fact-checking of claims made by major stakeholders in the electoral process helped to promote issues-based and fact-based campaigning. This was an improvement from previous elections when claims by contending parties often passed unchecked and thus inured to the benefit of those who peddled false claims and half-truths.

The MFWA deployed a trained team of experienced journalists and researchers to fact-check campaign claims based on a fact-checking Instrument. The fact-checkers also had back-up support from international fact-checking experts. Claims were fact-checked using existing empirical data from credible national and international sources. The fact-checking project was implemented with funding support from Germany’s leading media development organisation, DW Akadamie.

The project team fact-checked a total of 98 claims made by different key personalities. A summary of the verdicts of these claims is presented below:

This report also features an analysis of which political party was more truthful or factual in their campaign claims. Out of the 98 claims that were fact-checked by the MFWA’s team, majority of these were made by personalities from the National Democratic Congress (41) and the New Patriotic Party (37). Claims by the flagbearers of the People’s National Convention (7), Convention People’s Party (6), and the Progressive People’s Party (3) were also examined. Four claims by an independent presidential candidate were also fact-checked.

Overall, persons belonging to the NDC party made fewer false claims (6 out of 41) as compared to those of the NPP (11 out of 37), for instance. The full breakdown is provided below:

Below are the 98 claims that have been fact-checked and the verdicts presented per claimants.

Seven claims by Dr. Edward Nasigri Mahama, flagbearer of the People’s National Convention (PNC) fact-checked:

  Claim Verdict
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
7 There are six turbines only two are working. Akosombo is not able to generate power from all six turbines. It does only two because they don’t have money to fix the problematic turbines and low water supply. Mostly False

 Six claims by Ivor Kobina Greenstreet, flagbearer of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) during IEA eventing Encounter on Tuesday June 28, 2016 fact-checked:

  Claim Verdict
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

Twenty four (24) claims by President John Dramani Mahama, the flagbearer of the NDC for the 2016 elections were fact-checked:

  Claim Verdict
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
15 If you look at Ghana’s economy, the services sector has overtaken the agriculture sector as the largest contributor to GDP. Entirely True
16 We started the NHIS in 2005. By 2008, those who went to the hospital (under the NHIS) were 9 million. In 2015, 29 million people attended hospital. Mostly True
17 By the time we complete all those (water) projects the Volta region will have higher than the national average (access to water), the national average is 76%. Mostly False
18 Students’ loans have been reviewed upwards with an enhanced package for fresh students. Entirely True
19 The United Nation’s Human Development Index puts our nation within the Medium Human Development category, ahead of our neighbours like Cote D’Ivoire and Nigeria. Mostly True
20 Ghana is currently ranked as the 7th least corrupt country in Africa, and it is an established fact that the NDC’s worst record in the Transparency International’s anti-corruption league table, over the years, is better than the NPP’s best record while in office. Half True
21 The producer price of cocoa has been increased to an all-time high. Half True
22 The Cedis has stabilised quite comfortably. Mostly True
23 Government is reducing continuously its domestic borrowing. Mostly True
24 We have also given them (pharmaceutical sector) incentives by reducing the taxes on their raw material so that they can be more competitive. In West Africa, Ghana and Nigeria are the two biggest pharmaceutical manufacturers. Entirely True

Eleven (11) claims by Nana Akufo-Addo, flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) were also fact-checked:

  Claim Verdict
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
5 The economy has shrunk systematically with this year’s GDP growth rate being the lowest for 22 years. Half True
6 No one who has been through the school of hygiene for the past four years has been placed in our health system. I have met many of them and thousands more like him. Entirely True
7 Aren’t we living in this same Ghana, when Mahama promised a 1-time premium payment for the National Health Insurance Scheme? Has that materialized Entirely True
8 He (president Mahama) said he was going to build 200 Community Day Schools. His own Finance Minister, when presenting the 2016 budget statement, said only 9 had been completed. You said you were going to build 200, but you have commissioned only 12 or 13 Mostly True
9 Nana Akufo-Addo reminded President Mahama of his 2012 manifesto promise of building 10 Colleges of Education. Again, the NPP flagbearer indicated that “not even a single one has been built.” Mostly True
10 Promises of “an average GDP growth rate of at least 8% per annum; and a single digit rate of inflation” have not seen the light of day under President Mahama. Mostly True
11 What is the programme that is associated with the name of John Dramani Mahama in Ghana? Well, I’ll tell you. The only thing that is associated with John Dramani Mahama’s name, is dumsor. That is the only thing that is associated with his name. Mostly False

Nineteen (19) claims made by Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the vice-presidential candidate of the NPP fact-checked:

  Claim Verdict
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
12 Moody’s did not upgrade Ghana. Ghana’s rating under Moody’s is still B – . It is only the outlook that has been revised. And that is not equivalent to a change in ratings or a ratings upgrade Entirely True
13 The Mo Ibrahim 2016 report on governance shows that on virtually all key indicators such as safety and the rule of law, human rights, economic opportunities, infrastructure, business environment, human development, health and public management. All these indicators, Ghana is worse off today than it was 10 years ago. True but Misleading
14 Mr. Chairman, the Kayeyei are also been taxed under Mahama’s government. They are made to pay market tolls. True but Misleading
15 The IMF in its recent review of the Ghanaian economy has warned that Ghana is on the cusp of financial and economic crisis Half True
16 Since 2011, real GDP growth has declined steadily and drastically from 14% with the onset of oil production to 3.9% in 2015. Projected GDP growth for 2016 is even lower. Basically fellow Ghanaians, the economy notwithstanding the production of oil is on course to record a lower growth rate than in the year 2000, which was 3.7%. Mostly True
17 They of course have already cut and abolished teacher trainee allowances and nursing trainee allowances. The President says even if it will cost him the elections he was not going to restore them…but today with just two months to the elections, seeing defeat staring him in the face, he says that he wants to restore the allowances Half True
18 They (government) have not paid school feeding grants for our secondary schools in the North for two terms in a row, they have not paid school feeding grants for two terms, the headmasters are asking for them to pay for our children to be able to eat in school. Mostly True
19 Why has the prices of Fertilizer gone up so high under their government? True but Misleading

Eight (8) claims made by Hon. Fiifi Fiavi Kwetey, the Minister of Transport fact-checked:

  Claim Verdict
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:

  Claim Verdict
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:

  Claim Verdict
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:

  Claim Verdict
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

One (1) claim made by H.E. John Agyekum Kufuor, the former president of Ghana was fact-checked:

Claim Verdict
1 From a highly indebted poor country with a per capita gross domestic product of $400 in 2001, we were able to attain lower middle income status with a per capita income of $1,300 by the year 2007. Half True

Two (2) claims made by Alan Kyeremateng, a senior member of the NPP campaign team and a former minister of state were fact-checked:

  Claim Verdict
1 According to the World Bank, about 48 percent of Ghanaians between the ages of 15-24 are unemployed. Completely False
2 In 2015, manufacturing recorded a negative growth of -2 percent while mining recorded a negative growth of -3.8 percent. Mostly False

Three (3) claims by Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, the flagbearer of the Progressive People’s Party were also examined:

  Claim Verdict
1 We are in near HIPC situation. Mostly False
2 Manufacturing growth has been declining Mostly True
3 In 2012 it was the same Pres. Mahama who said if you elect me dumsor will be a thing of the past.  Entirely True

Four (4) claims made by Mr. Joseph Osei Yeboah, an independent presidential candidate were fact-checked:

  Claim Verdict
1 Nobody knows how the tariffs are computed. We cannot remain at the level where we have ECG making losses of over 40 percent. Mostly False
2 Debt (national) exacerbated by single spine. Mostly True
3 Government is borrowing at the rate of 22 percent. Mostly True
4 52 percent of Ghanaians are into agriculture. Mostly False

Five (5) claims made by Dr. Omane Boamah, the Minister for Communications were also examined:

  Claim Verdict
1 Youth literacy has improved and mean years in school is also improving. Half True
2 Budget deficit has dropped from a high of 12% in 2012 to 5% Half True
3 Our debt sustainability profile has improved and the rating agency Moody’s has recognised this. Mostly True
4 The latest United Nation’s Human Development Index has categorised Ghana within the Medium Human Development group, ahead of our neighbours like Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria, and this is better than what we have ever achieved in the past. Mostly False
5 Ghana is 2nd in Africa on the 2016 Rule of Law Index of the World Justice Project (WJP). Entirely True

Read the full reports with the bases for the conclusions/verdicts on all the 98 claims fact-checked so far by visiting www.fact-checkghana.com.

 

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