Victory rally for President Akufo-Addo in Accra on 10 December/Photo: NAAC
Upholding Ghana’s Democratic Credentials
December 14, 2020
Despite allegations of malpractices by the opposition, our contributing editor, Kester Kenn Klomegah, explains why Ghana’s latest elections are a good sign for the country
Ghana has admirably shown its democratic credentials by holding another peaceful elections, both presidential and parliamentary, early December. In a tightly contested presidential election, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, an experienced politician and highly successful business magnate, was re-elected to a second term as the president of the Republic of Ghana.
Nana Akufo-Addo of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) won the 7 December’s election outright with 51.6% of the votes, beating former President John Dramani Mahama of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), who received 47.4%, according to the country’s electoral commission.
More than 13.4 million people voted at more than 38,600 polling stations, making the turnout about 79%, which has tested the West African nation’s credentials as one of the continent’s most politically stable countries in the West Africa region and the entire continent.
Nana Akufo-Addo expressed gratitude to Ghanaians for giving him a resounding victory in the 2020 presidential elections, reassuring his commitment to put the country on the road to prosperity by working hard. Ghana has recorded high levels of growth during Akufo-Addo’s first term as he worked to diversify an economy largely dependent on cocoa exports and gold and more recently oil.
“Just as I have been doing since 2017, I give you my word that I will continue to work very hard to build a prosperous and progressive Ghana for which we yearn. The size and margin of this election constitute for me an endorsement of the policies and programs initiated by my government.”
“I am determined to do all in my power to accomplish the task of this new mandate and thereby justify the confidence reposed in me. I assure you fellow Ghanaians that I will do my best not to let you down,” he said, and added “the Ghanaian people through the results have made it loud and clear that the two parties must work together for the good of the country. Now is the time for each and every one of us, irrespective of our political affiliations.”
Ghanaians went to the polls on 7 December 2020 to elect a new President and members of the parliament. These were the eighth elections under the fourth republic since returning to civilian rule in 1992. The elections were held within the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, which required the Electoral Commission (EC) to put in place unprecedented preparatory measures.
Without doubt, Ghana is known for its stable democracy. Hoping to retain that reputation, Akufo-Addo and Mahama signed a symbolic peace pact, which the 15-nation regional bloc ECOWAS urged “all political parties and their leadership to respect.”
However, Mahama has disagreed with the result announced by the electoral commission, which he described as a “fraudulent outcome”, vowing to take “all legitimate steps to reverse this travesty of justice.”
“What we witnessed across the country from 7 December, 2020, exposed a deliberate plan to manipulate and pre-determine the results of the election in favour of the incumbent, Nana Akufo-Addo,” Mahama told a press conference at NDC headquarters in Accra on 10 December.
His lawyers have been reported to be auditing the results sheets – known as “pink forms” – from the country’s 38,000 polling stations and would decide on the next steps which could include a challenge to the official results at the Supreme Court.
In practice, Ghana’s civil society and most of the institutions have worked to preserve the democratic gains Ghana has made in a peaceful manner. The media has also played its legitimate role in promoting peace through civic education and providing unbiased and objective-based reports.
The civil society organizations play a significant role by providing an independent assessment of the electoral process through election observation. Furthermore, the presence of observers during the opening, voting, closing and tabulation of results reduces the risk of electoral malpractices and inspires confidence in the electoral process.
In a joint statement of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), African Union (AU) and UNOWAS on the post-election situation in Ghana commended the leader and the people of the Republic of Ghana for the peaceful conduct of the 7 December 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections. “This is in line with Ghana’s enviable track record of organizing peaceful and successful elections since the return to multiparty democracy in 1992,” the statement said.
Ghana has an emerging digital-based mixed economy with an increasing primary manufacturing and export of digital technology goods along with assembling and exporting automobiles and ships. It engages in diverse resource rich exportation of industrial minerals, agricultural products primarily cocoa, petroleum and natural gas.
With a population of about 30 million, Ghana is classified as a middle-income country. Ghana was ranked 7th in Africa out of 53 countries in the 2012 Ibrahim Index of African Governance. The Ibrahim Index is a comprehensive measure of African government, based on a number of different variables which reflect the success with which governments that pursue sustainable development and deliver essential political goods to its citizens.
With an interesting political history, Ghana attained its political independence from Britain in March 1957, becoming the first sub-Saharan nation to break free from colonial rule. As widely known gold, cocoa and more recently oil form the cornerstone of Ghana’s economy and have helped fuel an economic boom.