Monday December 10 2012

Ghana reelects John Mahama as President

Ghana reelects John Mahama as President

Ghana's ruling National Democratic Congress president and presidential candidate John Dramani Mahama talks to the press after casting his vote at the Bole polling station in the Bole Bamboi constituency, northern Ghana, on December 7, 2012. Mr Mahama was reelected as President in a high-stakes presidential election on December 7. Afp Photo/Pius Utomi Ekpei. 

By Francis Kokutse

President John Dramani Mahama of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) has beaten his close rival, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), with 325,872 votes in a closely contested election that nearly marred the country’s growing democratic credentials after the main opposition group, the NPP accused the government of rigging the election.

President Mahama, 54, and the son of a former regional commissioner in the Kwame Nkrumah regime has been a Member of Parliament, deputy minister of communication and later the substantive minister. On January 2009, he was sworn in as Vice-President for the late President John Atta Mills whom he later succeeded on July 25 this year to serve his unexpired term.

Announcing the result, Electoral Commission (EC) chairman Mr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan said President Mahama polled 5,574,761 votes representing 50,70 per cent as against 5,248,8989 for Nana Akufo-Addo, representing 47.74 per cent of the total votes cast. Out of 14,158,890 eligible voters, about 11,246,982 people cast their votes.

Speaking soon after the results were declared President Mahama said his victory was for all Ghanaians and called on all “political leaders to respect the voice of the people.” This was timely because before the EC declared the results, officials of the NPP had accused the government of rigging the election.

It also became clear that Nana Akufo-Addo has not conceded defeat and this come to support talks by some NPP officials that they should contest the election result. Chairman of the National Peace Council, Reverend Emmanuel Asante confirmed on state television that, the NPP expressed their misgivings to the EC with evidence but, were asked to seek redress through the appropriate channels.

Nana Addo was beaten by the late President Mills in the 2008 election in a similar close contest which went into a second round voting and the EC had to use the results from a single constituency which was specially organised to determine the leader.