Main Opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo (left) and President John Drahami Mahama (right) shake hands
Accra – As the desire for change permeates the West African sub region, with Gambia’s longest serving military ruler -turned civilian leader, President Yahyah AJJ Jammeh lost to a lesser known real estate developer President-elect Adama Barrow in the December 1, 2016 presidential election, regional political analysts say Ghanaian president H.E. John Drahami Mahama faces the toughest election of his life.
The main opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo and President Mahama are neck and neck in the poll, with some political commentators giving the opposition the upper hand.
Voting begins 0700 UTC and ends at 1700 UTC Wednesday. The electoral commission says official results will be announced at most 72 hours after the polls close.
President Mahama, who is facing opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo, is seeking a full term after taking over from President John Atta Mills, who died in 2012.
Although campaigning by all the political parties has officially ended, sources say the streets of Accra are embellished with colorful images, predominantly endorsing the ruling NDC party or the main opposition NPP.
While excitement is widespread in Ghana’s capital as the country prepares to elect a president and parliament on Wednesday, several Ghanaian citizens believed that the elections are about the economy.
“The election is all about the economy to me. Because as a businessman all I am looking for is for the economy to be good so that I can import more, get money so things will be okay with me. We need people here to buy the goods from us so the money can stay in the country…. [My goods] that I brought in they are not buying. I am not going to keep this president,” said Frank Boamah, an importer.
But like most African and developing nations, the Ghanaian election is without its internal crisis, accusations, and counter-accusations.
President John Mahama has accused the main opposition leader of deliberately undermining confidence in the voting process before Wednesday’s vote by failing to issue a clear call for peace whatever the outcome.
“The opposition is creating a situation in the minds of their supporters not to accept the results of the elections (if they lose),” Mahama said in an interview late on Monday after opening an airport project in Ghana’s second city Kumasi.
“The leader of the opposition … has never climbed on a platform and called his people to order. (Akufo-Addo has) never, ever said, ‘I am a man of peace. I am calling on all of you. I don’t want violence,'” he told Reuters News.
But the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) dismissed Mahama’s accusation, saying there were problems with last week’s early voting because some people could not find their names on the electoral register, suggesting the election might not be fair.
Analysts say Mahama’s chances are slimmer considering that he narrowly beat Akufo-Addo in 2012 and the opposition challenged the result, which led to an eight-month court tussle.