Ghana: a peaceful presidential campaign



A presidential campaign without violence and balanced between the two main favorites. A ballot that remains open, a few days before the election of December 7. Ghana is an exception in West Africa.

The Ghanaian campaign was, with that which has just ended in Burkina Faso, truly exemplary. At a time when democracy is drastically declining, as in Guinea or Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana is indeed the figurehead of democracy in the sub-region ”, observes Laurent Duarte, the international coordinator of Turning the page.

→ INVESTIGATION. A peaceful presidential campaign in Burkina Faso

An exception that has been verified since the founding of the Fourth Republic in 1992 by Jerry Rawlings. Reelected in 1996, this figure of English-speaking Africa, who died on November 12, had renounced, in accordance with the Constitution, to stand for a third term in 2000. A practice respected and repeated by all his successors, making Ghana a model of democratic and peaceful alternation in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

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Of the twelve candidates running for the vote of the 17 million voters, the campaign was mostly dominated by the outgoing president, Nana Akufo-Addo, and his main rival and predecessor to the supreme office, John Dramani Mahama. The two men have been clashing since 2012, alternately winning and losing the presidential election.

Free education in the heart of the countryside

Yet nothing deeply distinguishes their political programs. The New Patriotic Party (NPP, current majority) is rather liberal, the National Democratic Congress (NDC, minority) is more interventionist ”, notes Laurent Duarte.

Among the subjects that opposed them all the same during this campaign, the question of free secondary education. A measure that came into effect during the term of President Nana Akufo-Addo and which has benefited 430,000 students. But whose paternity is claimed by John Dramani Mahama.

The opposition denounces intimidation

Among the other themes of the campaign, security and the fight against corruption. On the first point, the country is facing unrest in the Volta, the region on the border with Togo, where secessionists are fighting for the creation of an independent state between the two countries, western Togoland. Since September, significant security forces have been deployed there. An operation denounced by the opposition as an attempt to intimidate it because the Volta is also the electoral stronghold of the NDC.

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As for corruption, if it is denounced by the two candidates, none has really demonstrated its willingness to put an end to it. As Laurent Duarte regrets, they have not taken any legislative action against it and journalists investigating it are still threatened .

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