Wild celebrations erupted across Accra, the Ghanaian capital, Wednesday night minutes after the country’s electoral commission boss declared President Nana Akufo-Addo as the winner of the 2020 presidential election.
Mr Akufo-Addo, the candidate of the New Patriotic Party, polled 6,730,413 votes (51.59 per cent) to defeat his closest challenger and former president John Mahama of the National Democratic Congress who got 6,240,889 votes (47.36 per cent).
Jean Mensah, the chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Ghana, said Mr Akufo-Addo met the requirements needed to be declared the winner of the election.
“By the power vested in me as the chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Ghana and the returning officer of the presidential election, it is my duty and honour to declare Nana Akufo-Addo president-elect of the Republic of Ghana. May God bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation great and strong. Let peace reign.”
The announcement by Ms Mensah ended days of apprehension as Ghanaians waited earnestly for the outcome of the December 7 election; the electoral commission boss had pledged to announce the final results 24 hours after the close of voting on Monday.
After the declaration of Mr Akufo-Addo as the winner, there was jubilation across the Accra. At the NPP headquarters at Borsue Lane, supporters crammed into the back of Hilux trucks as giant loudspeakers belched music into the night. Outside the president’s house in Nima, a crowd danced to loud music as vehicular traffic was ground to a halt.
In his victory speech, Mr Akufo-Addo said he was “extremely grateful” to Ghanaians for their votes.
“I am deeply humbled again by your show of confidence and I do not take this lightly,” said Mr Akufo-Addo, 76.
“There could be that tendency for an incumbent president, who has just secured a second term in office, to as it were take it easy and relax because there is nothing more to lose or prove, I am of a different character.
“Just as I have been doing since January 2017, I give you my word that I will continue to work very hard to build a prosperous and progressive Ghana for which we yearn.”
The president said the margin of his victory constitutes an endorsement of the policies and programmes initiated by his government and put before the electorate.
“And I am determined to do all in my power to complete the task of this new mandate and thereby justify the confidence reposed in me,” he said.
“I assure you fellow Ghanaians that I will do my best not to let you down. To the Ghanaian people, I say the work ahead is to advance further the peace, progress and prosperity of our nation for all and that is my solemn pledge to each one of you. The battle is the Lord’s. God bless us all and our homeland Ghana.”
It was a different story at the headquarters of the NDC at Adama Avenue, where a crowd of stony-faced youth stood in silence facing dozens of armed police officers who surrounded the area to forestall an outbreak of violence. A moment later, a man on a motorcycle, brandishing an NPP flag strayed into the street, realised the danger and swiftly made a u-turn; the youth gave chase.
“This election is a fraud,” one of the youth said.
A few hours earlier, before the announcement of the presidential result, an NDC chieftain, Haruna Idrissu, accused the ruling party of an attempt to “subvert the will of the people.”
“Evidence available to us, formal, from collated pink sheets from polling stations across the country and specific to the constituencies in Ghana put the NDC in lead with 140 parliamentary seats won. That makes us the majority party whilst we wait the declaration of the presidential outcome,” said Mr Idrissu, a lawyer and member of parliament-elect for Tamale South.
“Understandably, you should know why we have the parliamentary results and we do not have the presidential results yet. With the presidential results, the chairperson of the electoral commission is the returning officer. With parliamentary results, the electoral Commissioner appoints returning officers and counting is done at various polling stations. Polling station results are signed onto pink sheets validated gives the NDC 140 parliamentary seats.
“But note that there are attempts by the New Patriotic Party government led Nana Akufo-Addo, shamefully, to want to subvert the sovereign will of the people of Ghana. And even to reduce our parliamentary numbers by five, targeting Tarkwa Constituency, Sefwi-Wiawso, Upper Denkyira West, Sene West, and Techiman South.
“In Techiman south, the NDC candidate won. Having won, you saw then use the military unprofessionally. Guns do not vote and guns will note make Nana Akufo-Addo the president of this republic. We will resist oppressive rule.”
Mr Idrissu warned that the citizens would not allow the military to intimidate them.
“We are sending a clear warning to the Ghana military that their loyalty is to the state and the republic of Ghana and not to elected officials,” he said.
“If they intimidate us further we will respond appropriately. Citizens, too we have power, they cannot intimidate us continuously with their guns as they did in Techiman, even in Savelugu when they noticed that they desperately needed some one or two, three more seats to deny the NDC the majority they started shooting at the Savelugu polling station.
“They killed one person in Savelugu, and Techiman too, needless bloodshed in the name of somebody wanting to by force consolidate his hold on political power. Unacceptable and shameful behaviour of the commander in chief of the Ghana armed forces.”
A ‘historic’ election
Ms Mensah described the 2020 general election as historic because “for the first time in the history of our country, the election day went by without major incidences and occurrences.”
The electoral commission boss said as a result of the reforms introduced into the electoral system, the election did not witness issues of missing names, misplacement of polling stations, among others.
“Again, as a country, we can be proud of the fact that for the first time in the history of this country, the election was funded without reliance on monetary assistance from external sources. I can assure you, however, dear citizens that we put your resources to prudent use.
“Furthermore, as a country, we can be proud of the fact that more than 95 per cent of our procurement for the 2020 election was done through an open, competitive tendering process as opposed to sole sourcing and restricted tendering as was the case in the past. This, no doubt, ensured value for money in all our processes. At the right time, the commission will share its reports on its procurement processes and savings made to date.”
She said that at the end the election, the total number of valid votes cast was 13,434,574, representing 79 per cent of the total registered voters.
She further noted that the declared presidential results excluded that of Techiman South constituency which has a total voter population of 128,018.
“The said election results are not ready because they are being contested, as such collation has not been completed,” Ms Mensah said.
“It is important to note, however, that the difference between the total number of votes between the first and second candidates is 515,524 votes. As a result, if we were to add the 128,018 full results to the results of the second candidate it will not change the outcome of the election, hence our declaration of the 2020 presidential results without that of Techiman South.
“Indeed, if we were to collate all the results from Techiman South constituency and add that to the percentage of the votes of the second candidate, Mr John Dramani Mahama, he would obtain 47.873 per cent of the total votes cast. And Nana Akufo-Addo would obtain 50.8 per cent of the total votes cast.
“It is on that basis that we say that the outcome of the election will not change hence our declaration of the 2020 presidential result without that of Techiman South.”
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