December 10, 2012 – Incumbent president John Dramani Mahama was declared the winner of the presidential election in Ghana by the electoral commission, but his opposition said it would contest the election results.
Mahama was declared victorious despite there being widespread technical problems with machines that had been used to identify voters along with protests by the opposition, which claimed the vote had been rigged.
The electoral commission was surrounded by armored tanks and police were barricaded around roads leading to its offices as Kwadwo Arfari-Gyan, its chairman, announced that the winner, Mahama, has received 5.5 million votes or 50.7% of the vote.
Nana Akufo-Addo, the leader of the opposition who lost by less than 1% in the 2008 election was in second again with 47% of the vote or 5.2 million votes. Turn out of voters was high with close to 80% of the 14 million voters who are registered casting their ballots in the election that took place on Friday.
The statement prepared by the opposition said that if the results were uncontested and uncorrected it would seriously do damage to the electoral process in the country and democracy within Ghana.
Accepting the results, said the statement, was like discrediting democracy in the country and distorting democracy throughout Africa. Therefore, we cannot accept the electoral commission’s results concluded the New Patriotic Party statement.
In this troubled corner of the continent, Ghana has held onto democracy for the longest time. However, the elections held on Friday were challenged because of the biometric machines that were used to identify the voters via fingerprints failed to function in a number of polling areas and forced officials to extend the voting to Saturday. The opposition party accused the current ruling party of taking advantage of the disorder to rig the election.
Ghana’s election was called on Friday by International observers as the sixth transparent one in the history of the country and no other country within the region had has that many fair and free votes.