Ghana elections 2012
There are many positive developments in Ghana. Political stability is a good environment for economic development. So, it is no coincidence that things are looking up in this aspect as well. In December the country goes to the polls to decide who leads it for the next four years, and who the members of the legislature should be. The whole world will be looking up to the people and their leaders to prove once again that Ghana’s democracy has come to stay.
2012 is witnessing a number of important elections around the world, and there are still many more to come. Election fever is gripping many nations in Europe, America, Asia, and of course in Africa. In the last quarter of the year, the US presidential elections will without any doubt dominate the airwaves. But there will be happenings in Africa too. In December, Ghana goes to the polls to either give President Atta Mills and his NDC a second mandate to rule the country, or give Akuffo Addo and the NPP a mandate to take power from the incumbent NDC government. Once again the electorates will have the responsibility towards themselves, the present generation and those to come, to ensure that between these two opposing parties Ghana chooses the one that will advance the aspirations to make the country become a self sustaining democracy and economy.
Ghana has been a front-runner in many aspects in Africa. It was the first to gain independence and it is no news that today, it enjoys a more robust democracy in the sub-Saharan African region than most others. The manipulation of the national constitution in Senegal to allow the incumbent run for a disputed “third” term shows how precarious democracy could be in Africa. Recent past events in other countries in the region, and indeed in many parts of Africa has shown how fragile democracy still is in this part of the world. Consequently, all eyes will be on Ghana to ascertain if indeed democratic governance is solidifying its roots in Africa or not.
Its true that some African leaders have become very power drunk, so much so that they will go to any length to hold on to it. But the citizens are becoming increasingly aware of the powers that they have to decide who should govern them. The new generation of Africans, not just in Ghana but across the whole continent is becoming more and more aware: It is harnessing the power of the internet and the facilities of social media to get more enlightened and to network. The population is now better informed, and able to question policies and motives of those in power. The younger ones know that they do not only bear allegiance to their political leaders, but hold such leaders to account. Ghanaians are becoming less carried away by political ideologies, and are showing pragmatism.
Is this a good sign of good things to come? Well time will tell.
One thing that is clear is that Ghana is setting itself up to becoming a model for democracy in sub-Saharan Africa. Ghana was recently praised and singled out as a good example and a model of democracy in West African by international observers who have noticed that it has overcome its post-conflict era after military coups and regimes to establish a stable structure that does away with authoritarian and repressive administrations. There are more dialogues and less violence. There is more transparence. Accountability is yielding fruits. There is more respect for human rights even though a lot still needs to be done in this respect. Women are gradually finding their voices in government and in politics. Indeed,
The male domination of Ghanaian politics may also be seeing its final days. A major political party – The Convention People’s Party (CPP) recently elected its first female chairperson: An important development in a society where women’s voices are not expected to be heard in the political circle. Samia Nkrumah (daughter of Kwameh Nkrumah) pioneered women’s high profile arrival on the political scene. Her achievement here is bound to be a source of motivation for others.
There are many other positive developments in Ghana. Political stability is a good environment for economic development. So, it is no coincidence that things are looking up in this aspect as well. But for now, back to 2012, and in December the country goes to the polls to decide who will lead it for the next four years, and who the members of the legislature should be. The whole world will be looking up to the people and their leaders to prove once again that Ghana’s democracy has come to stay and that its independence and peace are of paramount importance to its people and its neighbours.
The key issues that will dominate the campaigns will hopefully shift away from personalities and focus on the key elements. Most important of these are, the economy, political stability, fiscal policy, monetary policy, and resources management – especially the management of the revenue from oil, policy trends, and credibility of the plans put forward by the parties for the future.
Under very close watch of course is the level of respect of incumbency during the campaign period.
These are few of the issues that the electorates will hopefully focus their minds on when deciding on where their votes should go.
This is a first article on Ghana’s Elections-2012. Watch this space as we look in depth at these issues and how they are likely to impact on the outcome of the presidential and parliamentary elections.
The author of this article Nana Oye Afoom is a member of the Editorial Board of Read-Online.Org and a development economists focusing on African issues. (Contact: Nana-Oye.Afoom@read-online.org)
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial views of Read-Online.Org
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