Voting ends peacefully in Ghana

Voting came to a peaceful end in the much anticipated general elections in Ghana, West Africa on Sunday. A little over 12,000,000 eligible voters patiently joined long winding queues to elect a new president to take over from President Kufuor whose term has come to an end. 230 MPs would also be elected.

Voting opened at 7 am and officially ended at 5.00 pm in all the 21,000 polling stations across the country with a population of over 22 million people. The entire exercise was generally peaceful with insignificant agitations and confusion at some centres.

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 in town. It was business as usual for most Ghanaians as some people were seen going to church whiles groups of young men played football on some dusty streets.

Six political parties contested 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 and an independent candidate – Kwesi Amoafo-Yeboah and …..

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 Sunday’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.


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December 2008
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