Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ghana Elections: It is a run-off, and the people are ready

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

Being a Ghanaian has made more sense to me these few days than it ever has. I have lived in Ghana all my life and nearly half of my entire life, I have worked as a journalist, therefore, I know there is no place like Ghana – and truly, there is none.

The conduct of the general elections of December 7, 2008 has further enhanced my sense of belonging and being a Ghanaian. Because when it comes to elections, Africa as a continent in general is not a good case. Most African countries have gone up in smoke before and soon after elections.

There are so many examples, like Zimbabwe, Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire where election disputes have led to fellow countrymen and women hacking each other to death. Some of these countries are still struggling to come close to anything resembling a state.

Ghanaians on the other hand held together despite pre-election tensions which were created by FM radio stations and some newspapers, and these were simply doing the bidding of their bosses and financiers, they were not reflecting the true nature of events on the ground.

Ghanaians thankfully, held their heads up, and refused to take the bait. They coolly voted and allowed the power of the ballot to speak.

At the end of the day, when the results were declared, everyone accepted it. No one, even for some of those who are displeased with the outcome at their constituencies resorted to violence of any kind. Indeed, the altercations that were reported are so minor that they had no significant impact on the society.

The results as declared by the Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan were as follows: Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) polled 4, 159, 439 representing 49.13% of total valid votes cast, and Prof. Atta Mills of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) polled 4,056.634 representing 47.92% of total valid votes cast.

Dr. Edward Mahama of the Peoples National Convention (PNC) got 73, 494 votes, representing 0.87% of valid votes cast.

Mr. Emmanuel Antwi of the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) polled 27, 889 which is 0.33% of valid votes cast.

The candidate of the Democratic People’s Party (DPP), Mr. T. N. Ward-Brew got 8,653 representing 0.10% of valid votes cast.

Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) polled 113, 494 representing 1.34% of total valid votes cast.

Mr. Kwabena Agyei of the Reformed Democratic Party (RDP) got 6, 889, which is 0.08% of total valid votes cast and the only independent presidential candidate in the race, Mr. Kwesi Amoafo-Yeboah, polled 19, 342 representing 0.23% of total valid votes cast.

Total valid votes cast is 8, 465, 834, and there were 205,438 rejected votes making a total of 8,671,272 votes cast.

The total number of registered voters is 12, 472, 758 and the turn-out was 69.52%.
The total of rejected votes comes to 2.4% of votes cast.

The winner of the first round of voting Nana Addo did not get the more than 50% of votes required to make him the outright winner of the elections and therefore, as required by Ghana’s laws, there should be a run-off. And Ghanaians, just like before are ready for it!

If this teaches any lesson, what it does teach is that, a people can choose to be violent, and Ghanaians chose not to. They want peace, because human life and dignity can be enhanced and given value in peace.

Ghanaians have shown to the world that Africans are not savages and when it matters, they would lead the way and show everyone that we are human!

The campaigning for the run-off would be tense, and of course that is to be expected in an election of this nature that produces no clear winner, and Ghanaians would reaffirm their earlier comportment and respect for due process, they would vote peacefully come December 28, 2008, and when the winner is announced, they would accept and move on with their lives.

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