Ghana Decides 2012; Fourth Report: Awaiting the Verdict- By Jibrin Ibrahim

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Sunday afternoon and evening have been extremely tense as all Ghanaians await the formal declaration of the results of the presidential election. Most media have shown that President John Mahama was the first touch winner of the 2012 elections with slightly over 50% while the contest had slightly below 49% with most of the votes counted. The Electoral Commission has however not yet made the announcement and the media estimates were tracked through official Electoral Commission reports from the constituencies which showed that the President has won statistically. Tension started rising on Saturday when the General Secretary of the opposition NPP declared that that their candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo had won with 51% of the votes while the President obtained 45% of the vote. No one apparently took the announcement seriously because the major revelation of the election was that all parties except the two leading ones have essentially been wiped out as players in the electoral system and the five of them are likely to get a cumulative score of less than 1% of the vote.

The National Peace Council came out to strongly criticise the NPP for illegally declaring results and urged them to exercise restraint in the interest of peace. Meanwhile, the National Peace Council has been meeting with political parties all of Sunday afternoon to calm them down. Angry young men were congregating at both party headquarters awaiting further developments while the opposition NPP has sent in a petition to the Electoral Commission alleging some discrepancies between some results announced in constituencies and what is coming out at Accra.

Related Article:Ghana Decides 2012; Third Report: Trials and Tribulations of Voter Verification-By Jibrin Ibrahim
What all observers and analysts have been saying however is that in general, the elections were free, fair, and credible and above all – violence free. Clearly, the numerous pleas to maintain the peace have been listened to in spite of the great passion with which the election battle was fought. The voter turnout was very high and in many places, people were already in queues by 3 a.m. and waited patiently for the opening at 7 a.m. Voters were orderly, polling staff were well trained on the whole and scrupulously following laid out procedure. The voters played their part and were very disciplined.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential candidate, Nana Akufo Addo is 68 years-old and as the Constitution bars people of 70 years and older from contesting, this is his last chance and there is clear desperation in his camp. They would like a minimum outcome of a second round of the presidential elections. The ruling National Democratic Congress are jubilating over their expected victory. On Sunday afternoon, riot police had to use tear gas to stop NPP youth marching on the Electoral Commission.

Both candidates in reality are determined to win and the language of the campaign has been intense and often abusive. Scurrilous stories have been printed about both candidates including all sorts of stories about corruption, drugs, sex and immorality. Some of the FM stations controlled by politicians have engaged in the use of vitriolic language and hate speech. Macho boys for the two parties have also clashed a number of times while communal clashes have already broken out in certain areas. As everybody awaits the results, hopefully on Sunday night, there is widespread expectation that the politicians will abide with the Kumasi Declaration and keep to their promise “on reducing recurring violence, impunity and injustice in democratic elections in the country.” The expectation is that the Ghanaian model is an enduring one. It is a model about the ability to transform an authoritarian militarised state into a legitimate one. It is a narrative about the rebuilding of institutions, re-establishment of the rule of law, proper conduct of pluralist elections, the promotion of press freedom, reconstitution of effective local government, development of effective oversight functions and effective public probity in a state that had previously suffered considerable decay.

Jibrin Ibrahim who works for the Centre for Democracy and Development in Nigeria is reporting from the IDEG/CFI Situation Room in Accra
9th December 2012

An Update on Dr Jibrin’s Facebook page Sunday Night(Dec 9,2012) said

At 9:50 p.m. on Sunday 9th December 2012, Dr. Afari Gyan, the Chair of Ghana’s Electoral Commission declared President John Mahama winner of the December 7th election with 50.70% of the votes cast while his main opponent scored 47.74%. Over eleven million people voted with the huge turnout of 79.43% of the electorate.

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