On December 7th, 2016, history was made in Ghana. The general elections were held, and all involved pled their cases as to why they should walk away victorious. Citizens came together to vote for the future of the nation by voting to elect their president and members of Parliament.
These elections were a long time coming, after previously been scheduled for November 7th, but that date was turned down by Parliament. These elections have been declared a watershed moment by many, and for good cause. The first of those moments is the role that social media played in this election, which made a noticeable difference compared to elections in the past. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were used by those running, especially from Nana Akufo-Addo. With rumors of a rigged election in the run-up to election day, Akufo-Addo took to social media to spread the word that the elections needed to be transparent and voters be vigilant.
In his third attempt at running for President, former foreign minister Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party was declared victorious, coming out on top of incumbent President John Mahama, who has earned public ire for numerous corruption scandals. This is very much a moment in history as never before has a sitting president in Ghana been defeated in the quest for a second term.
These Ghanaian elections left many, both in Ghana as well as those across Africa and the rest of the world, with an increased belief in the electoral process in Africa. The elections has brought up the hope for change and the chance at a new status quo. It was a peaceful but eventful campaign that Ghanaians should be proud of, and can be seen as a model of what an election in Africa should be. It has bee described as a well-run and organized campaign, which is a breath of fresh air in recent times, a stark difference to the elections in Gambia.
It will be interesting to see where this election takes Ghana, with the world’s eyes watching their next moves. Ghana has seen its economy on the decline with the looming risk of inflation. In a recent survey prior to the election, most residents in Ghana would go as far as to say that the country is heading in the wrong direction. One thing is for sure: change is in the future for Ghana, and the people are ready for it.