Voters in Ghana will head to the polls on Monday to select the nation’s subsequent president, in what is anticipated to be a good race between incumbent Nana Akufo-Addo and his predecessor, John Mahama.
The 2 longtime rivals, who’re squaring off for the third straight time as they search a second and ultimate time period, are extensively seen as the 2 frontrunners in a crowded subject of 12 candidates.
Campaigning has largely centered on the financial system, infrastructure growth and the dealing with of the COVID-19 pandemic. The battle towards corruption has additionally featured prominently within the lead-up to the election throughout which the political rivalry that has for the final decade outlined the campaigns of each Akufo-Addo, of the centrist New Patriotic Celebration (NPP), and Mahama, of the left-leaning Nationwide Democratic Congress (NDC), was largely on show.
“The candidates have spent extra time exchanging phrases slightly than specializing in the challenges dealing with the individuals,” stated Michael Opoku, a 54-year-old dealer in Kumasi, Ghana’s second metropolis.
“I need a greater Ghana that can assure my future. I’m not involved a lot about voting for a political occasion however my vote will likely be for many who are out to make a distinction when elected into workplace,” he added.
Regardless of the heightened political tensions, the 2 main candidates on Friday signed a pact for good conduct and peaceable elections at a ceremony within the capital, Accra, that was attended by conventional and non secular leaders, in addition to worldwide observers.
Monday’s vote would be the eighth since Ghana’s first step in direction of multiparty democracy in 1992. The nation has a powerful file of clean transitions of energy and Ghanaians are hoping the nation will construct on its fame as one among West Africa’s most secure democracies.
The NPP and the NDC have peacefully exchanged energy a number of instances through the previous a long time however friction is excessive this 12 months amid opposition allegations over the independence of the electoral fee. Final month, Mahama alleged that the physique got down to organise “a flawed election” and threatened to reject the outcomes.
“Current occasions beneath the present administration have given many anxious moments of doubt about this administration’s capacity to ship a peaceable, violence-free election,” Mahama, 62, stated at his speech throughout Friday’s peace pact-signing ceremony.
Electoral officers have dismissed the opposition’s accusations of trying to rig the elections.
“There’s already a lot stress on the bottom, particularly from the opposition, in regards to the doubtless consequence of the election. The Electoral Fee ought to be honest to all,” stated Cynthia Ekow, a 29-year-old pupil in Accra.
For his half, Akufo-Addo, 76, promised that the desire of the voters will likely be revered.
“We consider in elections, and I’m completely satisfied to provide my phrase that we will settle for the decision of the individuals of Ghana,” he stated on the ceremony.
“Above all, I pledge that the peace, unity and security of Ghana will likely be our main consideration.”
Professor Kwesi Aning, who’s the director of the School of Educational Affairs and Analysis on the Kofi Annan Worldwide Peacekeeping Coaching Centre in Accra, stated considerations in regards to the interval after the election had been actual.
“Although a peace pact has been signed to deal, particularly with the fallouts from the outcomes, work must be performed to delicate grassroots supporters in regards to the legislation and the necessity to reply to disputes authorized,” he stated.
“The onus is on occasion leaders and constructions. From historical past, there’s a large chasm between the flowery phrases of peace and the pace with which conflict drums are overwhelmed when there are electoral disputes.”
Some 63,000 army and paramilitary officers have been deployed throughout the nation to keep up peace through the electoral course of and reply to any potential unrest.
Ghana is a serious cocoa, gold and oil producer. However its fast-growing financial system took successful through the coronavirus pandemic, deepening analysts’ considerations about excessive public debt ranges.
In April, the nation acquired $1bn in emergency funding from the Worldwide Financial Fund (IMF) to handle the influence of the pandemic, and the financial system is now projected to develop by as a lot as 1 p.c.
Each Akufo-Addo and Mahama have promised to enhance infrastructure regardless of the nation’s rising debt profile.
In current weeks, Akufo-Addo has emphasised his authorities’s file on schooling and entry to electrical energy and pledged to construct a brand new airport within the nation’s central area.
Mahama has underlined the general public works accomplished throughout his 4 years in workplace (2012-2016) and promised to extend infrastructure spending if re-elected. He has additionally promised to supply free laptops to school college students.
The winner of the election will likely be determined by a easy majority for a candidate who secures greater than 50 p.c of votes. A runoff election will likely be held inside 21 days if no candidate meets the brink of votes forged.
In distinction to earlier elections, outcomes may very well be introduced by the electoral fee inside 24 hours after voting at about 39,000 polling stations unfold throughout the nation ends.
“We’re selling some effectivity into the system. We now have labored with our numbers and now we have a period inside which the outcomes ought to be transmitted,” electoral fee chairwoman Jean Mensa just lately advised journalists within the capital, Accra. “Due to the effectivity now we have launched into the processes, we must always have the ability to declare outcomes inside 24 hours,” she stated.
“When outcomes are introduced on time, it reduces hypothesis in regards to the consequence of the elections,” Ekow, the coed, believed.
Among the many dozen candidates vying for the presidency are three girls, together with Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, the widow of former President Jerry Rawlings.
A complete of 275 parliamentary seats may also be for grabs in Monday’s polls.
Nonetheless, observers don’t anticipate energy to shift from both the NPP or the NDC anytime quickly.
Anning stated Ghanaians will likely be voting “primarily for peace”.
“The narrative is that change has not come and if change by way of enhancements in individuals’s lives is tough to realize, then they like peace in any respect price.