Ghana’s elections: Dare Africa hope?

December 4, 2008

As Ghanaians get set to elect a new president and parliament on Sunday, there seems to be as much attention on what a new leader will mean for Ghana as on what message Ghana will send the world about the state of Africa today. After a dismal year with elections rigged or marred by violence in Kenya, Zimbabwe and most recently Nigeria, to name but a few, Africa could do with a pick-me-up.

Despite some wobbles and sporadic violence in northern Ghana where several people were killed in the early stages of the campaign, preparations for Sunday’s elections have gone relatively smoothly.

Sure, there have been arguments over voter registration, and worries voter lists may not be perfect. But politicians, civil society groups and even local hip-life artist Obour have joined a campaign against violence and to ensure electoral disputes are dealt with by the courts.

Yet some people worry too much power has been concentrated in the presidency under the administration of John Kufuor, who is standing down after the maximum two terms in office, and fear the capacity of the courts to judge electoral complaints impartially may be compromised.

These will be the fifth national elections since the charismatic former coup-leader Jerry Rawlings introduced multiparty democracy in 1992. They follow Ghana’s celebrations last year of 50 years of independence and hosting this year of the African Cup of Nations soccer tournament.

A successful election, free from violence and in which all candidates accept the result, would be a further boost for Ghana as it hopes for more rapid economic growth once offshore oil fields start pumping in late 2010.
 
So what does it mean for Ghana? And what does it mean for Africa? Would good elections here make a difference to the rest of the continent? Tell us what you think.

16 comments

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Africa has a VERY long way to go. One peaceful election in one African country is not enough. GREED is hurting Africa more than ever before! If African leaders will worry about their people, Africa can be a very rich and worderful continent!

Posted by T. | Report as abusive

Africa has a VERY long way to go! If African will leaders will support their people and put an end to GREED in their governments, then Africa will become a peaceful and a very rich continent!

Posted by T. | Report as abusive

I think Ghana as a nation is matured enough to decide it destiny. Ghanaians have suffered enough travelling and studying all over the world we can make solid decision ourself and the World as whole know, that will continue to set the standard we feel is right now and generations to come. There is no doubt in my mind that this election will be democratically peaceful and Our nation will continue to base our success on Education, Healthcare, Agriculture, Industralization and social wellness of the people who are fabric of this nation for gerations to come.

Posted by Albert Carl | Report as abusive

a succesful election wlll make Ghana a model of a smooth transitional democratic government with purpose for its people which is becoming evident in the country’s economy. Africans and there leaders will learn that transitional structured politics makes the success of a nation and not an individual as Ghana has been transiting and growing since 1992 not minding the political party or person in power

Posted by JACK ACHEME | Report as abusive

Let us pray and hope that Ghanaians are more selfless than all the African countries who do not appreciate the model and mentor in Nelson Mandela who surrenders power, especially Robert Mugabe – who blames everyone except himself. For a country who have to print Z200 billion note soon as all the Zimbabwean millionaires cannot have enough notes to buy even a loaf of bread as reported
should be a shame to all Africans and a lesson to all politicians throughout the Developing and Third World who want to become Millionaires through politics.

Show all African nations a way to a better future. Use your vote and accept the results.

First of all the elections will be peaceful. Ghanaians are not stupid. Prior to the election they may cause a lot of trouble but then come “judgement day” looking at the situation in Ivory Coast, Togo and Liberia to name a few people will avoid violence. No Ghanaian will want to be referred to as a refugee, they are too proud for that. What does successful elections mean to Ghana? We are on the right path depending on the outcome – should the NDC win or the CPP(which is unlikely at this time), I would be tempted to say people are now mature enough to vote based on what they see as feasible in terms of campaign promises but to be more realistic I would say it is because of a comment made by the flagbearer of the NPP which has guaranteed his defeat. What does it mean to Africa? Nothing. It will meaan something only when leaders in countries like Egypt, Burkina Faso, Guinea and the like choose to emulate Ghana.

Posted by Francis Attipoe | Report as abusive

âll western medias are waiting for bad news to come from africa, so they that they can profile themselvs (their model of democracy) but this doesnt seem to be happening so they tend not to cover the elections as they did when bad news was coming from africa ( zimbabwea, keyna.
Ghanaians are going to vote for whom ever thex want and the party that losses will accept it.
beieve it or not!!!

Posted by kwame | Report as abusive

I fully second Kwame’s remarks.Africa is not bad news all the time and so is Ghana.Democracy,govenace and respect for each other will ethically and ultimatly prevail.And BAD press will fail and acknowledgement and gratitude to Africa will be mentioned.

Thats what is going to happen and Ghana will be seen as the symbol of African Unity for in God we also Trust.

Posted by Albert Blankson | Report as abusive

‘Re: Africa has a long way to go…comment by T” it depends on where Africa is going. If anyone is comparing Africa to Europe and America who are over 200 years old, then sure. If anyone is comparing Africa’s democracy to Florida, Ukraine or other states in terms of irregularities – then noone is perfect. Yes there’s greed and corruption which is known as lobbying in the US. Yes tsome leaders try to steal elections – just like, well you know who.
People should get off our backs and let the African system develop in its time and way. Mistakes will be made along the line, but that doesnt warrant neo-colonialism and slavery of ideas. Live and let live!!

Posted by Trebi | Report as abusive

So far, Ghana’s elections appear to have gone more smoothly than some others in Africa this year. http://africa.reuters.com/country/GH/new s/usnLA172193.html

Posted by Matthew Tostevin | Report as abusive

GHANA HAS PROVED YOU ALL WRONG. SHAME ON ALL THE BAD WESTERN MEDIA. When it was Zimbabwe’s election, you were forcing yourselves to cover events because it went bad. You are always motivated to cover stories that are negative in nature especially on the African Continent. Ghanaians are more wiser than you think. We have shown the world of our maturity in choosing our leader. We dont steal elections like Florida went sometime ago and so on. Come and sell the good news to the world that, Ghanaians are destined to be the touch bearer of the world. We are also peaceful. Kofi Annan came from Ghana. Remember that!!!

Posted by Kwabena | Report as abusive

For the good comments about Ghana keep them coming. Ghana and Africa is moving and doing well for itself despite the portrayal set by the media. The only reason there are no riots in the western countries is because they are blind to the inequalities of their own goverment. GOOO GHANA!
George Osei Kofi Dickson, London, UK

Posted by Osei Kofi | Report as abusive

I think the NNP is suppose to win but due to the closness of the score on the votes. To declare NPP as the winner will be war And to declare NDC as winner will be a confusion. We do not want war in Ghana but peace. Let it be always Ghana first. So it is up to the electoral commissioner to make a good decision and a fair one.

Posted by clement | Report as abusive

The firt election was successful but the run-off is bringing conflict and confussion among ghanians.Lets pray for peace amonng ghanians.

Posted by Bernice Duodu Adibu | Report as abusive

NPP was pro poverty and anti people, the only people who benefitted under Kuffour’s government were foreigners and Ghanaian disporas. The NPP were the fathers of corruption. Rawlings made Ghana what it is today but the incompetent kuffour government was a yes man to the West and a sell out. Ghana needs an NDC government to turn things around.

Posted by Nduka Tolefe | Report as abusive

Ghanaians have had enough of coruption, cocaine smugling and incompetency. They have rightly voted against a hopeless government. Good riddiance to bad rubbish. Go NDC, long live Mills and Rawlings.

Posted by nduka Tolefe | Report as abusive