With the clock fast ticking, Ghana’s general elections scheduled for Monday, December 7, are days away. The elections will see former president John Dramani and Incumbent Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo square it out for the top seats. This will be the eighteenth consecutive election since the 1992 re-institution of multi-party democracy.
Kwame Nkrumah, a pan-African hero, declared Gold Coast, now Ghana, independent on 6 March 1957. Nkrumah was elected on 27 April 1960, awaiting the passing of the republican constitution. Ghana then became a commonwealth republic on 1 July 1960, with Nkrumah as the first president.
However, in 1966, Kwame was ousted in a military coup leading to several military administration years.
April 1992 saw the approval of a constitution that provided room for a multi-party system, bringing back democracy.
The voters will choose from the 12 presidential candidates put out by the Electoral Commission of Ghana. The two main presidential aspirants are from the main opposition party, National Democratic Congress (NDC), and the ruling party, New Patriotic Party (NPC).
The number one position is held by Incumbent Nana Akufo-Addo, who holds a B. Sc. In Economics, and is a lawyer by profession. Akuffo-Addo is aged 76 and is looking to serve his last term.
Number two position is held by the official opposition candidate John Dramani Mahama aged 62. Professionally, he is a Communication/Media specialist with a post-graduate diploma in communications studies. The former president also intends to serve his final term.
The presidential race is also gender-inclusive, with three women vying for the top seat. The ladies are former first lady Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings with the National Democratic Party (NDP) ticket, Brigette Akosua Dzogbenuku of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), and Ankua Donkor vying with the Ghana Freedom Party (GFP).
Ghana will use “First Past the Post” or a simple majority voting system. This is a straight forward system that means that the one with the highest number of votes takes the day.
The 1992 Constitution of Ghana outlines that anyone with 50 percent plus the total votes becomes the winner.
Besides, the constitution provides room for a run-off within 21 days if no candidate garners over 50 percent of the total votes.
Voting would include the use of a biometric verification system, ballot papers, and ballot boxes. Voters are required to present their voter’s card and be verified using the biometric machines.
There has been a 2 million increase in the number of registered voters compared to the 2016 elections. The number of registered voters for the 2020 elections is over 17 million voters.
Ghana Electoral Commission (EC) has designated 33,000 polling stations, which is 5,000 more than the 2016 polling stations.
There are a total of 275 parliamentary seats to be contested across 16 regions.
On Monday, Ghana Electoral Commission held special voting with 109,577 voters casting their votes across 12 key institutions, in 311 designated voting centers, in the 275 constituencies.
All the special voting centers had back up biometric devices to help smoothen the process in case of any biometric failures.
The special vote, which represents the actual voting, was characterized by strict observance of Covid-19 guidelines.
Washing hands, sanitizing, checking temperature, and wearing face masks were mandatory to all the special voters. The Ghanaian police were around to ensure strict adherence to the guidelines.
The December 7 presidential winner will be sworn in on January 7, 2021.
He will then appoint the Speaker of Parliament, who will then swear in the 275 elected parliament members.