GHANA AND GAMBIA ELECTIONS ANALYSIS
By Paul Ndiho
Opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo won Ghana’s national election last week, on his third attempt, cementing the country’s reputation as a standard bearer of democracy in West Africa. Meanwhile, political turmoil has erupted in Gambia, after President Yahya Jammeh reversed course, to reject the outcome of the December first vote.
Gambia’s longtime leader president Yahya Jammeh is drawing international condemnation after going back on his word to step down after losing the presidential election to Adama barrow. Mister Jammeh initially conceded defeat to president-elect barrow.
“I at this moment take this opportunity to congratulate Mr. Adam barrow for his victory. It’s a clear victory because our system says ‘simple majority. I will help him work towards the transition while i part to go and work on my farm…”
But, by late Friday, Jammeh had changed his mind — and in a televised statement, he shocked the world and announced that had decided to reject the ballot on charges of fraud and that he would challenge the voting results before the nation’s Supreme Court.
A delegation of West African heads of state, led by Liberian president Ellen Johnson sirleaf, have travelled to Gambia to mediate the dispute.
In Ghana, President John Mahama and the nation’s voters have again demonstrated that their country is a beacon of West African democracy. President Mahama quickly called opposition leader nana Akufo-Addo to concede defeat in the national election. President-elect Akufo–Addo won an outright majority in the vote, according to the country’s electoral commission.
“Going b figures, and by the power vested in me as the chairperson of the electoral commission, and the returning officer for the presidential election, it is my duty and my privilege to declare nana Akufo-Addo wins as the president-elect of the republic of Ghana. Thank you, god bless our homeland Ghana, and make our nation greater and stronger.”
Nana Akufo-Addo defeated President John Mahama with nearly 54 percent of the vote. After hearing the news, his supporters, the new patriotic party broke into cheers and dancing as car horns blared, and fireworks erupted across the capital, Accra. Akufo-Addo, 72, says he is ready for the challenge.
“I make this solemn pledge to you tonight: I will not let you down. I will do all in my power to live up to your hopes and expectations,”
Ghana’s President John Mahama conceded defeat and called to congratulate opposition leader nana Akufo-Addo, after a hotly contested election, seen as a test for a country viewed as a beacon of stability in West Africa.
“I want to assure the nation that we’ll respect the outcome of this election whether it is positive or negative.”
In the end, voters gave President John Mahama just one four-year term before rejecting his administration. Akufo-Addo and his new patriotic party will inherit an economy that for years was rated one of Africa’s most dynamic, but has slowed sharply since 2014, in part, because the prices for the country’s main exports — gold, cocoa, and oil — have fallen.