21 December 2020

Quick Take – Ghana Election: Akufo-Addo/Mahama Game Of Tag

On 7 December 2020, the Ghanaian electorates cast votes to decide who the next President of their beloved nation will be. Contrary to what is commonly seen in other countries, where new candidates contest for the office of the presidency, Ghana continues to officiate a game of tag between two favourites; the incumbent president, Nana Akufo-Addo representing the New Patriotic Party, and his rival and former president of Ghana, John Mahama, the flag bearer for the National Democratic Congress.

Although there are 12 candidates fighting to win the office of the presidency, the recognizable contenders are the incumbent and former president of Ghana. This is the third consecutive election they will face-off in, each getting a victory over the other in the last two elections. This one was perhaps the ultimate test to confirm who amongst them is the people’s champion.

While the previous election held in 2016 is praised to be democratic, free and fair, this election, however, is not without its challenges. First is the pandemic which forced all candidates to resort to less direct channels of campaigning such as social media, television and radio to prevent the spread of covid-19. Primarily, candidates would adhere to these precautions, but caution was thrown to the wind in the months close to the election as contenders met crowds of supporters to solicit for their votes.

There was also the allegation of voters’ disenfranchisement levied against the Electoral Commission by officials of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) who claimed the former had decided to accept National ID and passports as the official proof of citizenship; this gesture according to the NDC disenfranchised people with dual citizenship, particularly those of Ghanaian and Togolese extraction.

Jean Mensa, Chairman of the Electoral Commission, denied the allegation of prejudice against any region or tribe. She explained that utilizing this method of registration had ensured an additional 2 million eligible voters compared to the previous election. 

Unfortunately, such notions have seen an alarming resort to violence especially during the 31 days voters’ registration process where supporters of the ruling NPP and opposing NDC have clashed in several constituencies leading to fatalities.

In an announcement on 9 December 2020, Jean Mensa, Chairman of the Electoral Commission declared Nana Akufo-Addo the winner of the elections with a total of 6,730,413 votes, being 51.595% of the total valid votes. Despite speculations and allegations of incompetence during this election, Ghana is still well recognized for its excellent democratic cultures.

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