A little over 12,000,000 eligible voters are in long queues to elect a new president and 230 Members of Parliament in West Africa’s peaceful nation of Ghana. Casting of vote opened at 7 am on Sunday morning in most of the 21,000 polling stations across the country with a population of 22 million people.
Only a handful of polling stations opened late due to lateness in bringing the voting materials. Meanwhile, the heavy traffics in town have totally disappeared with some young men playing football on some dusty streets as they usually do every Sunday morning. Most churches are closed in this heavily religious country but a few.
Eight political parties are contesting the presidency but international and individual polls reveal that it is a close and straight fight between the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the major opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC). Research International’s recent poll released some few days to the election tipped the NPP to win with about 51% whiles the NDC was given 47%. Political pundits have projected a possible second-round. The winner should obtain 50% +1 vote.
This is the fifth democratic election in the last 16 years after the country reverted from intermittent military rules.
The 2008 presidential candidates are former foreign minister Nana Akuffo-Addo for the NPP, former vice president Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills of the NDC, Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom for the CPP and for the People’s National Convention (PNC) is Dr Edward Mahama. Others are T.N Ward Brew on the ticket of the Democratic People’s Party (DPP), Emmanuel Ansah-Antwi of the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) – a splitter group of the NDC, Kwabena Adjei of the Reformed Patriotic Democrats and an independent candidate – Kwesi Amoafo-Yeboah.
Though it is struggling to find its feet, political forecasters, argue that the Convention People’s Party (CPP) of Ghana’s first and respected president, Dr Kwame Nkrumah might split the votes of both the NPP and NDC to cause a re-run.
So far activities preceding today’s elections – campaigning across the length and breadth of the 21,000 sq km country – have been generally peaceful and democratically acceptable, international observers have said.
Ghana, which has recently discovered oil in commercial quantities have been a “donor darling” of the international community as a result of its fast growing economy and appreciable good governance. The lenses of the eyes of the world would be watching with keen interest as the results are declared within 78 hours.
AfricaNews is providing a minute-by-minute live coverage of these historic general elections in Ghana via its twitter account – www.twitter.com/africanewsfeed or type #ghelections at search.twitter.com for all our updates.