Ghana’s opposition leader John Mahama, the runner-up in this month’s disputed presidential election, filed a case before the Supreme Court seeking a rerun of the vote which he has rejected as “fraudulent”.
He asked the court for an “order of mandatory injunction directing the Electoral Commission to proceed to conduct a second election”.
The petition charges that the announcement on December 9, two days after the vote, of victory for Mahama’s arch-rival Nana Akufo-Addo was “unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever”.
The announcement was “made arbitrarily, capriciously, and with bias”, the petition reads.
Mahama, 62, also wants the court to restrain Akufo-Addo from “holding himself out as president-elect”.
The electoral commission declared 76-year-old Akufo-Addo winner with 51.59 percent of the vote, followed by Mahama with 47.36 percent.
Mahama told a news conference afterwards: “I stand before you tonight unwilling to accept the fictionalised results of a flawed election. We will take all legitimate steps to reverse this tragedy of justice.”
Observers, both Ghanaian and foreign, viewed polling in the West Africa country as generally free and fair, but police said five people were killed and 19 injured in election-related violence.
Akufo-Addo and Mahama had signed a symbolic peace pact ahead of the vote.
It was the third election battle between the rivals, and in 2012 it was Akufo-Addo who contested Mahama’s win.
Ghana’s opposition leader on Tuesday warned President Nana Akufo-Addo against any attempt to steal this week’s election, as both sides claimed they were winning ahead of official results of the vote, largely deemed free and fair by observers.
The strong statement by opposition candidate John Mahama raised the temperature after Monday’s presidential and parliamentary polls in a country known for stability in a troubled region.
“Some of what is happening is unacceptable and Nana Akudo-Addo continues to show credentials that are very undemocratic,” Mahama told a hastily convened press conference in the capital Accra Tuesday evening.
“You cannot use the military to try and overturn some of the results in constituencies that we have won. We will resist any attempts to subvert the sovereign will of the Ghanaian people,” the 62-year-old former president said.
Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah told a press conference — convened just minutes after Mahama spoke — that allegations of intimation by soldiers were false.
The electoral commission has yet to announce the final official results but the race was expected to be close between Mahama and Akufo-Addo, 76, of the centre-right New Patriotic Party (NPP), with recent polls putting the incumbent narrowly ahead.
The presidency released an unofficial tally on Tuesday claiming that results from 91 percent of polling stations showed the president with 52.25 percent of votes and Mahama with 46.44 percent.
Mahama, the leader of the centre-left National Democratic Congress (NDC), meanwhile claimed that his party had won a majority — 140 — of the 275 seats in parliament.
“We thank the Ghanaian people for the confidence they’ve expressed in us. It’s clear, the Ghanaian people want change in this country,” Mahama said.
The government strongly rejected the opposition’s claim that it had won a parliamentary majority, saying the announcement “could endanger the peace of this country.”
Oppong Nkrumah said “this dog whistle to supporters by the candidate to jubilate, to get out on the streets” was “categorically irresponsible and it flies in the face of good conduct.”
– ‘Isolated challenges’ – The electoral commission has urged the public to wait, saying it was “working round the clock to ensure that the collated results are accurate and a true refection of the will of the people”.
“The commission will release all the certified results as soon as they are received,” it said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon.
At a polling station in Accra’s Jamestown neighbourhood, dozens of election staff spent Monday night counting ballots while party officials, journalists and election observers watched, some half asleep.
Outside the gates, guarded by a police tank and a handful of armed guards, some residents of the poor neighbourhood were nervous.
“People are saying NDC won but I voted NPP!” said Rebecca Vorsah, a 20-year-old student among the nation’s 17 million registered voters.
Some 12,000 observers deployed on voting day across Ghana gave the process a relatively clean bill of health.
A coalition of observers, CODEO, said its 4,000 observers reported a total of 254 incidents during the voting process.
“While there were some challenges, these challenges were isolated and did not undermine the process’s overall credibility,” it said in a statement.
– Economic woes ahead – There has never been a second-round in Ghanaian elections and the two main parties have handed over power peacefully seven times since the return of democracy more than 30 years ago.
Post-electoral grievances have always been pursued through the courts.
To ensure its continued tradition of peaceful polls, Akufo-Addo and Mahama signed a symbolic peace pact on Friday.
The stability in Ghana contrasts with that of other countries in the region, with deadly unrest this year in Guinea and Ivory Coast.
Key issues that voters want the next government to address included unemployment, infrastructure, education and health.
The world’s second-largest cocoa-producing country has made giant strides in the last 20 years but many people still live in extreme poverty and the country faces mounting debt.
Ghana could face a recession in 2021 with double-digit inflation, according to Damina Advisors, a political risk consultancy.
Ghanaians awaited results on Tuesday from presidential and parliamentary elections that passed off peacefully, reaffirming the country’s reputation for stability in a troubled region.
Results are expected to be close between President Nana Akufo-Addo, 76, of the center-right New Patriotic Party (NPP) running for a second term, and his predecessor, John Mahama, of the center-left National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Residents of the seaside capital Accra went about their daily routines as normal on Tuesday — among them was Abdulkarim Al Hassan, repairing mobile phones in a small shop.
“I’m happy that there was no conflict or confusion but I’m sad that my winner appears to be losing,” said the 32-year-old who voted for Mahama.
“I’m disappointed but life goes on.”
Provisional estimates were put out by the presidency Tuesday morning but only the electoral commission can release official results.
According to the presidency’s tally from 91 percent of polling stations, Akufo-Addo received 52.25 percent of votes and Mahama 46.44 percent.
To ensure its continued tradition of peaceful polls, Akufo-Addo, 76, and Mahama, 62, on Friday signed a symbolic peace pact.
They are among 12 candidates who are running — in cluding three women.
In a bold move, Mahama also picked former education minister Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang as his running mate — the first woman on the ticket of a major party.
“In view of the happenings on the continent, and, indeed in West Africa, the entire world is looking up to us to maintain our status as a beacon of democracy, peace, and stability,” Akufo-Addo said in a televised address on Sunday evening.
The relative stability in Ghana contrasts with that of its West African neighbours Guinea and Ivory Coast that have seen deadly unrest this year.
Around 17 million people are eligible to vote to cast ballots for a new president and members of parliament for 275 seats.
Key issues include unemployment, infrastructure, education, and health.
Ghana has made giant strides over the past two decades, becoming the world’s second-largest cocoa-producing country, but many still live in extreme poverty with scarce access to clean water or electricity.
– Graft allegations –
At the Bawalshie primary school, in a wealthy neighbourhood of Accra, around 60 people were queuing to cast their votes as polls opened shortly after 7:00am (0700 GMT).
Most were wearing face masks, as an election official guided them towards a hand sanitising station before taking their temperatures.
Ben Nikoi, 47, businessman, said he was voting for “a change of government, I want more improvements.”
But Vida Agyakumaa, 44, who works at the forestry commission, said she was backing the incumbent.
“We don’t want change. We need (president) Nana because of free education. We want him to win.”
Hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, growth in the nation of 30 million people is expected to fall this year to 0.9 percent — its lowest in three decades — according to the International Monetary Fund, a steep decline from 6.5 percent growth in 2019.
Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Mahama of the National Democratic Congress party (NDC) have faced each other at the ballot box three times already.
Mahama was president for four years until 2016, before being replaced his rival.
Since taking office, Akufo-Addo has been given high marks for his handling of the pandemic and his record on free education and improving access to electricity.
But he has disappointed some with his performance on tackling graft — the key issue on which he was elected four years ago.
However, Mahama has found it hard to highlight this, as he himself left office under a cloud of corruption allegations.
Mahama has also been criticised for poor economic decisions and racking up unsustainable debts.
But the skilled communicator has brushed aside the criticism, making ambitious promises to build infrastructure, create jobs, and modernise the country.
Deafening vuvuzelas and party songs took over Ghana’s capital Accra on Saturday, the final day of campaigning ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections.
Twelve candidates, including three women, are vying for the West African nation’s top job, but Monday’s vote is essentially a fight between President Nana Akufo-Addo, 76, and former head of state John Mahama.
The city centre was plastered with billboards and posters and flags at every corner.
Akufo-Addo, running for a second term, drove through the shanty town of Nima, making whistle stops to acknowledge mammoth crowds clad in T-shirts of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).
“It’s a done deal. It’s clear. The crowd says it all. Four more (years) for Nana,” a party supporter, Dauda Faisal, told AFP.
Defying all COVID-19 protocols -– with just a handful wearing face masks — the ecstatic crowd waved miniature flags as the president headed towards the rally grounds where he was due to address supporters.
Opposition leader John Mahama meanwhile kicked off his final day of campaigning by meeting local chiefs and labour union leaders, assuring them of more jobs if he won the December 7 election.
Mahama, 62, who has been campaigning hard for months, was expected later in the evening at a rally organised by his party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
More than 17 million people are registered to vote in the nation’s eighth poll since it returned to democracy nearly 30 years ago.
This is the third time that Akufo-Addo and Mahama are running against each other, and the race is expected to be very close.
Results could be announced within 24 hours after the polls close.
“Tonight, I want to serve notice to Ghana that from the outcome of this election, the NDC is strong,” Mahama said after his victory was announced.
“The NDC is united. The NDC is poised for victory in 2020. And nothing, absolutely nothing, can stop our march towards Flagstaff House (the seat of government),” Mahama said at the social democratic party’s headquarters in Accra.
“It is a call to duty, a call to action and a call to battle. I wish that this fire will keep on burning… It is my hope that we will work together and eschew all attempts to divide us,” he said.
Ghana was one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies in 2018, fuelled by a surge in oil and gas production. The former British colony is also a major producer of gold and cocoa.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and some other former presidents in Africa have met to discuss how to ensure free and credible electoral process in the continent.
The ex-presidents include a former President of Ghana, Mr John Mahama; former President of Sierra Leone, Mr Ernest Koroma; and former Prime Minister of Kenya, Mr Raila Odinga.
Also present are the immediate past Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, as well as Dr Muthoni Wanyaki and Amir Osman from the Open Society Foundations.
In his opening remarks, former President Obasanjo explained that the essence of the meeting was to review electoral systems in Africa, especially inputs, processes and output/outcomes.
The meeting, according to him, is also to examine the strengths and weaknesses in the use of ICT in electoral systems in the continent and elsewhere in the world.
“To illustrate how ICT can be used to ease the electoral process rather than inhibit it; to document good practices in e-voting across the world and extract lessons for Africa; and to propose models of successful deployment of ICT in electoral systems in Africa for the sustenance of democracy in the region,” the former president said.
He recalled the recent formal inauguration of the Africa Progress Group (APG) which he chairs.
Obasanjo was delighted that the Secretariat of APG was the venue of the two-day meeting which he said has to do with the progress of Africa.
“One of the pillars of Africa’s progress in my five “P”s as adopted by APG at its inaugural meeting of November 27, 2018, is Politics; the others are Prosperity, Population, Protection and Partnerships,” he said
“This meeting on the election process is within the framework of the pillar of politics. Deficit in the election process will translate to deficit in politics (and vice versa) which in turn will impede sound governance, a much sought-after element in the development of Africa.”
The former president added that the meeting would address one of the key issues at the heart of credible elections in Africa – ICT and the election process.
He believes the ICT is here to stay, pervading and increasingly impacting all aspects of the lives of Africans, including the conduct of elections.
“But it can be a good servant or a bad master. This is why, I believe, that the outcomes of our deliberations will have far-reaching implications for the quality and credibility of the election firmament in Africa now and in the future,” he said.
Obasanjo was also hopeful that the meeting would present new and refreshing insights into how ICT can be better used in delivering credible elections in the continent and for the rest of the world.
Professor Jega also delivered a paper titled: “Practical Experience in the use of ICT in the Election Process in Africa: The Nigerian Experience.”
He stressed that the two essential areas that technology has not yet been fully utilised were electronic collation and transmission of results, and electronic voting.
The former INEC boss said that the use of appropriate technology “goes a long way to improve the efficiency of the conduct of elections, as well the integrity of elections, worldwide and especially in Africa.”
“Opportunities need to be explored and adequately utilized, but we must constantly remember that use of ICT in elections is a means to an end, and not an end in itself.”
“That end perhaps is electoral integrity for deepening and consolidating democracy. We need to constantly deploy measures that can ensure secure and sustainable use of ICT in our electoral processes,” he said.
The two-day event which began on Monday is tagged, “High-Level Working Group Meeting on Mitigating Disruptive Applications of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on the Electoral Process in Africa.
The event was organised by the Centre for Human Security and Dialogue of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) in conjunction with the Open Society Foundations.
The Ooni of Ife, Enitan Ogunwusi, says Africa remains one big family despite boundaries between countries and communities.
The monarch stated this on Thursday while receiving the immediate past President of Ghana, Mr John Mahama and his team at the palace in Ile -Ife, Osun State
He said, “Before the advent of the Western civilization, there were no boundaries between the African nations and communities, we are one big family.
“It gladdens my heart that with committed individuals like President Mahama, we have remained that united big family working together for the progress of the African continent.”
The Ooni also praised the former Ghanaian leader for exhibiting what he described as a humility and simplicity.
According to him, Mr Mahama personally received him in Ghana while in office two years ago and served him.
“When I was in Ghana to honour Mr President two years ago, he was in power, to the glory of God, he displayed humility and simplicity.
“He didn’t even wait for an aide to do anything for me. He did it by himself. He made tea and offered me by himself. There is no difference between when he was in power and when he was not. That’s humility and simplicity.”
The revered monarch, therefore, prayed for blessings for the former President.
On his part, Mr Mahama thanked the Ooni for the warm reception, describing the Ife kingdom as the root of the rich African culture.
The former Ghanaian leader was accompanied by his elder sister, Mrs Sherifat Dundu and her husband Mr Bisi Dundu, his former Chief Of Staff, Mr Julius Debra among others.
Ghana’s former president John Mahama on Thursday announced his bid to seek the nomination of the main opposition party and contest the 2020 election.
Mahama, who became president in 2012 but lost his re-election bid to President Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in 2016, said he had decided to give the country’s top job another shot.
“I have submitted my letter to the General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) confirming my decision to contest for the leadership of the party with a clear view on victory in 2020,” the former leader announced on his Facebook page.
Mahama said his decision was due to a groundswell of support from Ghanaians.
“I’ve prayed diligently about the task ahead and I believe I owe a duty to God and my country to take our great party back into government, to right the wrongs of the past and to put an end to the cries of the people under the current dispensation,” he said.
The 59-year-old promised to take Ghana to greater heights if given the opportunity to serve again.
“The 2020 election presents our party, the NDC, with a great opportunity to offer yet again, visionary leadership driven by a commitment to create opportunities for all our people and not just a few,” he said.
He added that his aim was to position Ghana “as a true middle-income country by modernizing our dilapidated social and economic infrastructure.”
Mahama is expected to vie for the NDC’s ticket with at least four contenders at the party’s primaries slated for between October and November.
In May, the former head of state had hinted of his plan to seek the NDC’s nomination.
Mahama lost the 2016 election to Akufo-Addo over a faltering economy and corruption allegations.
Ghana has been one of Africa’s fastest growing economies in 2018, fuelled by a surge in oil and gas production.
The West African nation is also a major producer of gold and cocoa.
Ghana’s former president, John Mahama, has hinted at a bid for leadership of the opposition party, in a move that has triggered speculation ahead of presidential elections due in 2020.
Mahama, who campaigned as the National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate, lost his re-election bid to President Nana Akufo-Addo in 2016.
“To you the teeming supporters and sympathizers calling and requesting me to declare my intentions for the future, I wish to assure you today, that as a servant-leader, I have listened to your calls and reflected,” Mahama said Saturday in a statement posted to his official Facebook account.
“I will not disappoint you even as we await the publication of the party’s guidelines for selecting a new leader,” Mahama said.
If he formally declares, Mahama will be contesting the nomination at the party’s primary in November.
His announcement has been hailed by party executives and supporters, who believe he is the favourite for the ticket.
Kofi Adams, NDC’s national organising secretary, told AFP on Monday that the news was “welcome”.
“He has a track record and the party can only campaign based on his achievements so it is an excellent decision for John Mahama to contest as flag-bearer for the NDC party. Ghanaians are looking for the return of the NDC,” Adams said.
Pollster Ben Ephson said Mahama still controls the support base of the party which will make it difficult for anyone to contest him.
“The more candidates they have the more advantageous it is for Mahama. They can get talking to see if they can join forces to beat Mahama,” Ephson told a local radio station on Monday.
Mahama lost the 2016 election to Akufo-Addo’s New Patriotic Party (NPP) over a faltering economy and corruption allegations.
Ghana is one of Africa’s fastest growing economies in 2018, fuelled by a surge in oil and gas production.
The West African country is also a major producer of gold and cocoa.