Ghana will today 7th December, go the polls amidst serious tensions in three out of the ten regions in the country. The regions of concern are Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo – where major opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo comes from; and Northern region, home to the flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and incumbent, President John Dramani Mahama. Political party differences, ethnic differences, chieftaincy disputes, presence of violent youth groups and presence of illegal mining (galamsey) operations account for the high tensions in the three regions.
There are seven presidential candidates contesting for the highest office in the land – of which only one is female. Candidates include: President John Dramani Mahama of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC); Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP); Mr Ivor Kobina Greenstreet, Convention People’s Party (CPP); and Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings (female), National Democratic Party (NDP). Others include: Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, Progressive People’s Party (PPP); Dr Edward N. Mahama, People’s National Convention (PNC); and Mr Jacob Osei Yeboah, an independent presidential candidate.
Incumbent John Dramani Mahama (NDC) and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo (NPP) are the two major political contenders who will be competing to attain at least 50% of the votes cast before they are declared winner. Latest poll opinions conducted by research and media firms indicate a high possibility of this election – either being won by a slim margin or going into a second round (re-run) – if non of the two major candidates obtains the required victory margin of at least 50%.
Statistics from the Electoral Commission of Ghana put the voting population at 15,712,499; 28,992 polling stations; 275 Constituencies and 1,158 MP candidates – out of which, there are only 136 female contestants.
Ghana returned to a constitutional order in 1992 and has since held six elections. Today, Ghana is hailed as African’s beacon of democracy; a pedestal that many across the globe await to see if it will honour in today’s polls – which are the 7th after the restoration of constitutional rule.
Polling stations will open at 0700 hours and close at 1700 hours.
This election comes at the heels of the last one (2012) being contested in court by NPP over allegations of vote rigging by NDC. Albeit the challenge, court maintained that NDC had won the election.