China’s Huawei caught in Ghana’s pre-election politicking

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A still shot from “An African Election” a film produced by Jarreth Merz up to Ghana’s elections in 2008 (c) www.Anafricanelection.com

Huawei, China’s biggest Telecommunications company with operations across Africa is accused of violating Ghana’s Political Parties Act for allegedly printing campaign materials for the ruling National Democratic Council (NDC).

The Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG)  which describes itself on Facebook as a  “Ghana’s pro-democracy civil society group” yesterday at a press conference provided receipts and documents that suggest that Huawei is playing middle man between Chinese printing companies and the NDC. The documents provided show over $100K worth of printed materials being taken by Huawei from two companies in China and delivered to the NDC.

On May 5, 2012, Huawei Technologies (GH) took delivery from Richfile industrial (SHENZEN) CO. LIMITED, 60,000 pieces of NDC paraphernalia, worth US $42,040.00.

Another, dated 30-3-2012, with items received on 26 July, 2012, just two days after the demise of President John Mills, indicated a delivery of 50,000 NDC branded T-shirts by Huawei Technologies from CHINABAND INTERNATIONAL LTD, at the cost of US$62,698.41.

According to AFAG which has been labeled a tool of Ghana’s leading opposition National Patriotic Party (NPP) Huawei’s involvement in these transactions violate the country’s Political Parties Act. It says that non citizens may not directly or indirectly give financial support to any political party.

This is the second time Huawei is in news headlines in Ghana. The opposition and the press heavily criticized an E-Government deal awarded to the company that gave $43 million in tax breaks just a month ago. However the contract is part of an ongoing Preferential Buyer’s Credit Facility Agreement between Ghana’s government and China’s Exim Bank who provided the loan for the $127 million needed to finance the project.

With Ghana’s elections just two months away the press and local political parties will be eating up all controversy. The NPP even has an AFAG tag on its website. Did Huawei pay to print materials for the NDC? Most likely! Will this particular incident matter to Ghanaian voters? Probably not! The bulk of the voters here already know how they will vote. If anything AFAG’s pronouncement is just more fodder to continue the bickering between politicians on local radio programs.