Ghana’s incumbent President John Dramani Mahama on late Sunday was declaredwinner of the Dec 7 presidential election for a four-year term starting next January.
National Electoral Commission (EC) Chairman Kwadwo Afari-Gyan told a packed pressconference that Mahama took 50.7 percent of the vote, narrowly avoiding a run-off, while hisclosest rival Nana Akufo-Addo of New Patriotic Party (NPP) won 47.7 percent.
Security forces used teargas to disperse hundreds of supporters of the Akufo-Addo’s New Patriotic Party protesting in front of the electoral commission building shortly before the results were declared.
The opposition New Patriotic Party NPP says it will contest the result accusing the governing National Democratic Congress NDC party of conspiring with the Electoral commission’s staff to win the polls.
“The ruling NDC conspired with certain EC staff in constituencies across the country to falsify the election results and thereby abuse the mandate of the people of Ghana,” party chairman Jake Obestebi Lamptey told reporters.
“This situation if allowed to go unchallenged and uncorrected, would seriously damage the essence of the electoral process and the substance of democracy in Ghana,” he continued.
“To accept this result is to discredit democracy in Ghana and, in the process, distort the process of democratization in Africa. Therefore, the New Patriotic Party cannot accept the results of the presidential election as declared by the election commission this evening”, Mr. Lamptey concluded.
It is unclear what the opposition will do next as they still have a chance of contesting the results at the Supreme Court.
International observers called Friday’s election the sixth transparent vote in Ghana’s history. No other country in the region has had as many free and fair votes. However, analysts point out that Ghana’s history and its record of democratic progress is not that different from that of nearby Mali, a nation also considered a model democracy until a coup this spring.
The outcome of the election will hinge on whether the 68-year-old Akufo-Addo will accept the results.
Both candidates tried to make the case that they would use the nation’s oil riches to help the poor. Besides being one of the few established democracies in the region, Ghana also has the fastest-growing economy. Oil was discovered in 2007 and the country began producing it in December 2010. But a deep divide still exists between those benefiting from the country’s oil, cocoa and mineral wealth and those left behind financially.