VENTURES AFRICA – Ghana has elected John Dramani Mahama as the country’s new president in first round elections with strong turn-out, although opposition members claim discrepancies in results.
Mahama of the National Democratic Congress won the election with 50.7 percent of the vote, as compared to the New Patriotic Party’s rival candidate Nana Akufo-Addo’s 47.7 percent, according to results revealed by the Electoral Commission.
While the election was prolonged to spread across two days as election materials were delayed in reaching certain destinations, the result in favour of Mahama announced on Sunday – granting him in excess of 50 per cent on the total votes cast – meant that there was no need for second-round voting.
“I call on all leaders of political parties that participated in this election to respect the voice of the people,” Mahama said following the election results, adding: “The voice of the people is the voice of God.”
Election observers have largely accepted the election – which saw 79 percent of the population turn out to vote – was transparent, with the mission from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) confirming: “In the main, the electoral process was peaceful and transparent.”
However, NPP members have claimed that the win was not clear, citing discrepancies in vote counting.
“Indeed, we have enough concrete evidence to show that the 2012 presidential election was won by our candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo,” the opposition party claimed in a statement, explaining: “We have noticed a pattern of fraud, where substantial numbers of votes are either added to the NDC candidate or subtracted from the NPP presidential candidate.”
The NPP was given the opportunity to present its claims and evidence to the country’s Peace Council prior to the official announcement of the results, according to the AFP, but was found to have inadequate evidence to legitimise its claims. While the announcement of results has gone ahead, the NPP may continue to gather evidence and present its claim at a later stage.
Mahama first became president of Ghana in July of this year, following the death of then President John Atta Mills. While Akufo-Addo has been the main rival in the presidential race, six other candidates also participated in the election.
As the West African country enjoys increasing activity in its oil and gold industries, the population has been calling upon candidates to ensure that under the new president, the country’s wealth stemming from these natural resources will be spread around the population fairly.