Ghanaians decide in landmark election

osei‘The animals listened first to Napoleon, then to Snowball, and could not make up their minds which was right; indeed, they always found themselves in agreement with the one who was speaking at the moment’ – Animal Farm
Most Ghanaians will be on tenterhooks when the nation goes to a landmark general election next week Wednesday to elect a president and 275 parliamentarians.
Ghana’s president is elected using the two-round system, meaning if any of the seven presidential candidates okayed for the poll did not obtain the constitutional mandated requirement of 50 plus 1 per cent votes, there should be a second round voting between the best two candidates.
However, the election of Members of Parliament in each of the constituency is done through the first-past-the-post voting.
Out of the sixteen presidential aspirants who picked nomination papers at the Electoral Commission head office, only seven met the requirements to contest the poll on December 7.
For the first time since the birth of the Fourth Republic, a female and former first lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings of the National Democratic Party (NDP) is contesting and Ivor Kobina Greenstreet of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) will be the first physically challenged candidate.
Others are the incumbent, President John Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) who is seeking a second term, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Papa Kwesi Nduom of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Dr. Edward Mahama of the People’s National Convention (PNC) and Jacob Osei Yeboah, an independent candidate.
Even though the nation had gone through numerous elections since 1960, since we gained our Fourth Republican status and had had six consecutive general elections under the current democratic dispensation, this year’s polls seem to have taken a new dimension.
The tempo has been high ever since the electioneering campaign reached its apex few weeks to the poll, with each political party promising heaven on earth.
The sagas as to whether there was a need for new electoral roll as demanded by some opposition parties headed by the NPP created an unneeded tension coupled with the disqualification process of nine presidential aspirants.
As if that was not enough, the unhealthy campaigning that resulted in skirmishes in some constituencies including Yendi in the Northern Region, Odododiodoo and Nima, both in the Greater Accra Region, Kukuom and Sankora in the Asunafo South of the Brong-Ahafo further upped the political temperature.
Then came in the opinion polls, which were conducted by various pollsters, think tanks, not to talk about predictions made by some so called pastors who have predicted victories for the two forerunners, President Mahama and Nana Akufo-Addo.
While some electorates may have their own cut-and-dried views on these surveys by pollsters, caution must sound that public opinion about elections in Ghana still remains unorganised, vague and a wishy-washy affair.
There is no gainsaying the fact, however, that the predictions made by these pastors were made out of monetary gains, the desire for cheap popularity or mere hallucination.
This is because when the electoral process is free, fair and free from fear, election results in our part of the world would be unpredictable. That is why students of political science like this writer would be cautious in penciling the victor of the 2016 presidential election in Ghana.
One can only lay bare the facts and leave the verdict to the referee in this case, the EC. And this is what I will attempt to do in my subsequent write ups.

 

By Ian Motey

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