The Ghana election results favor the nation’s main opposition leader, Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), according to “two influential private radio stations,” Reuters reports.
Both stations stated that Akufo-Addo won an absolute majority in the West African nation’s presidential elections that were held on Wednesday.
“Joy FM’s website showed Akufo-Addo winning 53.27 percent of the vote and [President John] Mahama on 44.93 percent, based on its count of 233 constituencies out of 275 in total,” according to Reuters. “Citi FM gave Akufo-Addo 54.97 percent based on 231 constituencies.”
Earlier in the day, Aljazeera reported that the opposition is “confident” it won the election.
“We in the NPP are quietly confident that we have won a famous and historic victory,” Akufo-Addo said.
At that time, officials from President John Mahama’s National Democratic Congress (NDC) dismissed those claims and countered that Mahama was headed for reelection.
“The NPP has done everything to try to bastardise the 2016 general election,” Koku Anyidoho, a senior NDC official, said at a press conference. “We are doing our analysis and President Mahama is leading Akufo-Addo.”
Mahama later promised to respect the election results and asked the people of Ghana to allow the Electoral Commission to perform its task of tallying the votes, the BBC reported.
However, the Electoral Commission also took to Twitter and advised voters to ignore “fake” reports of election results.
— Electoral Commission (@ECGhanaOfficial) December 8, 2016
Ghana is widely considered to be one of the more stable and democratic countries in West Africa. The Ivory Coast, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, lie to it’s west. All three of those nations have suffered brutal civil wars in recent decades. Nigeria, which is embroiled in a bitter terrorist insurgency with Boko Haram militias, is also in the region.
This year’s election in Ghana “hinged” on economic issues, The New York Times writes.
“In the four years that Ghana’s president, John Mahama, has been in office, the nation’s economy has plunged along with oil and commodities prices,” the Times says. “The West African country is on track this year to grow at its slowest rate in more than two decades… Gold, oil and even cocoa bean prices have all dropped, leaving Ghana with a currency crisis, an electricity shortage and a fed-up population that is having trouble seeing the benefits of any incremental progress Mr. Mahama has achieved.”
This left Mahama struggling with the clumsy task of trying to convince voters that the economy would have performed even worse without his efforts.
“We have done much work, but more needs to be done and we can only advance faster if we press on and stay the course,” Mahama told a rally of his supporters on Monday, two days before the election, according to the Times via Reuters.
— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) December 9, 2016
It increasingly appears that Mahama’s pleas fell on deaf ears, and that many of his constituents were looking for new ideas to resuscitate the country’s sputtering economy.
“The atmosphere is ripe for change,” Perry Okudzeto, a spokesman for Akufo-Addo’s campaign, insisted when speaking about the economy. “The people of Ghana are tired.”
John Mahama, 58, and Nana Akufo-Addo, 72, have squared off in the political arena before.
Akufo-Addo, who served as a justice and foreign minister in the NPP government from 2001 to 2007 according to the BBC, has run for president twice before. He ran unsuccessful campaigns against John Atta Mills in 2008, and Mahama in 2012.
Akufo-Addo’s main campaign promise this year, according to the BBC, was to build a new factory in each of Ghana’s 200 districts.
The Electoral Commission is expected to release its final results by the end of the day.
[Featured image by Sunday Alamba/AP Images]