The Ghana 2016 election appears to be headed to a conclusion, with an update on Thursday that challenger Nana Akufo-Addo is leading with 57 percent of the votes counted — putting him ahead of the threshold for a second round of voting.
Akuf0-Addo had built a sizeable lead over President John Mahama in the early vote counts from 80 of Ghana’s 275 constituencies, Bloomberg reported. The Ghana Electoral Commission has been providing updates of the vote count on Twitter, and has shown that Akufo-Addo appears to have taken control. The winner of the election needs a majority of votes cast in order to avoid a second round of voting.
Experts note that many voters in Ghana had shown frustration with the Mahama administration.
“The public mood does appear to suggest a much higher level of public frustration with the current government,” Manji Cheto, senior vice president for West Africa at Teneo Intelligence, told Bloomberg.
Ghana relies on oil and other commodities to hold up its economy, but the sharp drop in oil prices in the past few years has made it difficult for Ghanaians and for Mahama. As Al Jazeera noted, the country fell deeper into debt during his tenure as president.
“Throughout the election campaign, the president approved a series of major and eye-catching infrastructure projects to prove to voters that government spending was not going to waste or being stolen,” said Al Jazeera’s Nicholas Haque, reporting from Accra. “But the trouble is Ghana is spending more than it can afford. There are hospitals left half built. Despite pressing need for medical staff, the state can’t afford to pay nurses or doctors any more.”
The latest update of the Ghana 2016 election results showed that voters were ready for a change from Mahama, and that Nana Akufo-Addo’s message of change apparently resonated with them. After unsuccessful attempts in the last two elections, Akufo-Addo ditched his previous strategy of traveling abroad and securing support for Ghana and instead built up grassroots support.
He also leveled accusations of corruption against Mahama and his National Democratic Congress, saying that they have been involved in a series of corruption cases that include a number of judges, Al Jazeera added.
Bloomberg noted that Mahama lost support in some traditional strongholds for his party near Volta and in the country’s northern regions. And Mahama also lost support in the areas where he had already won in 2012, the report added.
As the Ghana 2016 presidential election results continue to come in, Akufo-Addo has preached patience, saying he would wait until the election commission would finalize results.
“The duty we owe to the people of Ghana is not to declare results quickly, but to declare results that reflect the will of the people,” Electoral Commission Chairman Charlotte Osei said on Thursday.
But while he is waiting for the results to become official, Akufo-Addo has also expressed confidence that his lead will hold up until the voting totals are finalized.
“We the NPP are quietly confident that we have won a famous and historic victory,” Akufo-Addo said, via Vanguard, while making a call for his supporters to remain peaceful. “It’s going to be an anxious time, I know, until the results are formally declared.”
But there were also some signs of potential violence ahead if the results hold up, Vanguard noted.
“In the early afternoon, NPP supporters armed with golf clubs were already gathering outside Akufo-Addo’s house, preparing for a face-off,” the report noted.
The final Ghana 2016 election results are expected to be completed within 72 hours of the voting being completed on Wednesday.
[Featured Image by Sunday Alamba/AP Images]