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Ghana Heads For Presidential Vote As Akufo-Addo, Mahama Slug It Out For Third Time

A file picture of John Mahama and Nana Akufo-Addo.

 

Ghanaians go to the polls on Monday in a contest that may revive outdated rivalries between incumbent President Nana Akufo-Addo and his predecessor, John Mahama.

Ten different candidates, together with three girls, are vying for the nation’s prime job, however the vote is basically a combat between two foes who will likely be slugging it out for the third time.

More than 17 million individuals are registered to vote within the West African nation’s eighth consecutive ballot because it returned to democracy almost 30 years in the past.

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted however not stopped campaigning for the elections, that are for parliament in addition to the presidency.

“There are party events and activity everywhere to drum up support, the airwaves are full of party songs, but we are not seeing mass rallies as usual,” Kojo Asante, director for advocacy and coverage engagement on the Ghana Center for Democratic Development, informed AFP.

The presidential race is anticipated to be very shut.

Independent polls have predicted a slim win for Akufo-Addo, whereas his New Patriotic Party (NPP) is anticipated to have a decrease majority within the 275-member legislature.

In 2012, Mahama narrowly defeated Akufo-Addo with 50.7 p.c of the vote and in 2016, Akufo-Addo beat Mahama with 53.8 p.c.

– Disputed final result? –
Many Ghanaians are frightened that “vigilantes” employed by events and deployed to offer safety for politicians might trigger issues at polling stations.

Ghana has historically managed to comprise post-electoral violence and have a peaceable transition of energy — a rarity in a lot of West Africa.

Even so, there have been pre-election clashes and disagreements over the neutrality of the electoral fee, particularly on the compilation of the brand new voters’ register.

“Tensions between the two main parties haven’t subsided and the stage is set for a potentially disputed outcome,” Sam Kwarkye, senior researcher on the Institute for Security Studies wrote in a report.

Asante is “cautiously optimistic” that the election will likely be peaceable, and welcomes the big pool of worldwide and native election observers.

“Everybody wants the Ghana election to go well. We already have too many trouble spots in the region to deal with.”

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The police say greater than 62,000 personnel have been deployed.

On the streets of Accra on Friday, there was little of the standard widespread carrying of social gathering T-shirts as an indication of poliltical allegiance. Activists distributed handbills and flyers to commuters and from door to door.

Potentials voters mentioned they hoped for a peaceable election.

“I’ll be voting and I’ve already made up my mind. It’s a matter of continuity for me,” dealer Gloria Tsotso Afoley, a mom of three, informed AFP.

Student Abigail Lomotey informed AFP “we need change. Absolutely change. Corruption has been rife over the past four years.”

But 70-year-old retired Group Captain Francis Mensah mentioned he wouldn’t vote as a result of he couldn’t “trust politicians anymore.”

– Corruption challenge –
A key exporter of cocoa, oil and gold, Ghana noticed its economic system severely hit by the pandemic.

Growth within the nation of 30 million individuals is anticipated to fall to 0.9 p.c in 2020, the bottom in 30 years, in accordance with the IMF, and a steep decline from 6.5 p.c enlargement in 2019.

Before Covid-19, the economic system had already struggled with debt servicing, a weak forex and rising inflation.

Akufo-Addo has been given excessive marks for his dealing with of the pandemic and his file on training and on offering entry to electrical energy.

But the 76-year-old has disillusioned some in his efficiency on tackling graft — the important thing challenge on which he was elected 4 years in the past.

Despite this, corruption is a tough challenge for Mahama, 62, to latch onto, as he himself left workplace below a cloud of sleaze allegations.

Mahama has additionally been criticised for poor financial choices and racking up unsustainable money owed.

But the expert communicator has brushed apart the criticism, making bold guarantees to construct infrastructure and modernise the nation.

Another daring transfer by Mahama was choosing former training minister Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang as operating mate, the primary girl on the ticket of a significant social gathering.

Akufo-Addo, as anticipated, opted for continuity, with present Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia as operating mate.

Results of the vote may very well be introduced inside 24 hours after the polls shut.

AFP

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