After reading many reports on the net I was convinced that Britain had helped the NPP win the 2000 elections by destabilising the cedi. The evidence given was from quotes from a book by the old British High Commissioner to Ghana, Craig Murray, who claimed responsibility.

This claim fitted in perfect with my view of the world. World powers had certainly done similar things in the past. Even Tony Aidoo ranted against it. I therefore accepted everything the article said and helped to publicise it.

Talking to a friend about it, they asked me to read the article again. When I did, I realised I had been misled.

The article, originally from The Daily Dispatch, references another article from the September edition of Africawatch. I can’t understand why I didn’t notice that the quotes do not support the claim of the article when I first read it.

Referring to Murray’s book, the Dispatch’s article claims that:

“A chapter in the book tells how the British government conspired to push then President Jerry John Rawlings and his National Democratic Congress (NDC) government out of power through the 2000 elections.”

Well Craig Murray’s book, Catholic Orangemen of Togo, is free to download from here or here and I’ve now read it. Murray claims nothing of the sort.

What Murray does claim is that he supported the introduction of photo ID voter’s cards which involved him travelling with the team to remote villages. He also asked Kufuor not to announce his victory after it had become evident but to wait for the chair of the Electoral Commission, Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, to make the announcement.  The NPP were not sure whether to trust Afari-Gyan and rumours were that a faction within the NDC were waiting for a premature announcement so that they could reverse the vote by military force. Murray claims he convinced Kufuor to wait, thereby ensuring a peaceful transition took place.

Perhaps there is something more in Africawatch to support the claim that Britain changed the course of the elections?  I haven’t read it, but the article from the Dispatch is clear fabrication. It’s a shame the unnamed journalist from the Dispatch could not check the information quoted from Africawatch but merely functioned as a parrot.

This is certainly a reminder to me to carefully check claims that are made, especially when they are in the media.