The Success Of The General Elections In Ghana And The Way Forward
| Updated Mar 18, 2017 at 9:00pm
All hail Ghana for yet another enviable feat of peaceful and successful elections.
Three times in the fourth republic ushered in 1992, the opposition has won elections with the incumbent accepting the results and committing to peace and tranquility.
Seven candidates, six on behalf of political parties and one individual standing as an independent candidate vied for the highest office of the land but the race was apparently between the candidates of the two major parties, John Dramani Mahama of the ruling National Democratic Congres and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party the largest opposition party.
It has been a vigorous campaign with focus on crucial national issues such as education, health, economy, social interventions and prosperity.
The opposition raised a number of issues on the effectiveness of the Electoral Commission as the referee of the ‘game’.
For instance the NPP accused the EC of providing crucial electoral documents such as the electoral register to the NDC excluding other parties ahead of the polls.
Then came the filing of candidates for the elections by political parties.
The EC by its rules and regulations disqualified all candidates, except four of them being the candidates for the NDC, NPP, CPP and the Independent candidate.
It took the powers and the interventions of the Courts to restore them on the electoral ballot sheets.
Even then, the candidates for the Ghana Freedom Party Akua Donkor and the All People’s Congres, Hassan Ayariga could not find places on the ballot sheet therefore throwing their support behind other contestants.
In all these, the lessons are that the EC must religiously apply the regulations on the formation of political parties to ensure that political parties contribute meaningfully towards national development and enhancing democracy. Voting was comparatively smooth without many hiccups.
This was against the backdrop of the organisation of the special voting, which many described as poorly organized.
According to the EC Chairperson there was no need for such an important state institution to sacrifice accuracy and perfection on the altar of speed, which in the end would create more problems than the anxiety experienced by the entire nation.
Many would have wished that incumbent president John Dramani Mahama conceded defeat when all the pointers were clearly showing a defeat for him and his party but he did not.
About an hour before the official declaration of the presidential results, news filtered in mainly through social media that President Mahama had called Nana Addo on the phone to concede defeat and congratulate him.
With this, the tension completely died down and the jubilation began.
Prior to this, Mr. Ivor Greenstreet, former first Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, Dr. Edward Mahama, and Mr. Jacob Osei Yeboah all contestant had called the President Elect to congratulate him.
Within our sub region, Ghana stands out, with regard to peace and tranquility after elections.
Even the Gambia trying to follow suit has began having problems as the incumbent Yaya Jameh has unexpectedly made a ‘U’ turn to dispute the election results.
President Mahama will be remembered in many ways, particularly for the infrastructural development he initiated.
In his own words history will be the best judge of his stewardship.
Nana Addo's commitment as stated in his victory speech to be a President for all Ghanaians is most welcome as the nation needs unity to develop.
It is up to all Ghanaians including the opposition to help the new government to pursue its agenda in delivering and honouring all its promises.
The congratulatory messages pouring in from high profile figures around the globe are indications of how Ghana’s democratic credentials are beaming for and wide.
Ghana is indeed a trailblazer in many respects and it has once again shown the way.
Long live Ghana.
BY NANA SIFA TWUM, MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTANT – LONDON- UK