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Opposition Party Wins Ghana’s Presidential Election
Ghana’s opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo has won Wednesday’s tightly contested presidential election.
72-year-old Akufo-Addo, a human rights lawyer from the New Patriotic Party, NPP, won the election on his third attempt to reach the presidency, after a campaign dominated by the country’s faltering economy.
Defeat for incumbent President John Mahama of the National Democratic Congress, NDC, makes him the first incumbent to lose an election since Ghana returned to multi-party democracy in 1992.
Ghana’s Electoral Commission, EC, declared Akufo-Addo winner of the presidential poll, with 53.85% of the votes, while Mahama took 44.40%. Turnout was at 68.62%.
On Thursday the EC announced that it was manually verifying the results because its electronic system had been targeted by hackers.
A former justice and foreign minister in the NPP government from 2001 to 2007, Akufo-Addo’s main campaign promise was that of industrialization, saying he would build a factory in each of Ghana’s more than 200 districts.
The new president-elect also promised free high-school education but critics have questioned the viability of his ambitions.
Akufo-Addo tweeted that president Mahama has phoned him to congratulate him on his victory, and this was corroborated.
Ghana has been a multi-party democracy since the end of military rule in 1992 and this result is seen as reinforcing its reputation for the peaceful transfer of power between administrations.
“I make this solemn pledge to you tonight: I will not let you down,” the president-elect told a jubilant crowd in front of his residence in Accra, the country’s capital.
“I will do all in my power to live up to your hopes and expectations.”
Akufo-Addo’s victory means that the NPP is now in charge of both the Presidency and the Parliament.
In the previous election in 2012, Mahama, from the National Democratic Congress, defeated Akufo-Addo by less than 300,000 votes.
Former Vice President to late President John Atta-Mills, Mahama defeated Akufo-Addo in the last elections in 2012 by less than 300,000 votes.
“I want to assure the nation that we will respect the outcome of the elections, positive or negative,” Mahama had said when news broke that the opposition party had taken an early lead in the collation of results.
His main campaign promise was to launch more infrastructure projects and create jobs but Mahama’s administration has been widely criticized for the incessant power outages in the country during his tenure.
He has been nicknamed “Mr Dumsor”, a local word that refers to the power cuts.
A run-off would have been held later in the month if neither of the two main candidates secured more than 50% of the votes.
The other four candidates include former first lady Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings of the National Democratic Party, NDP, whose husband Jerry Rawlings initially took power in the 1979 coup.
She is the first woman to run for president in the West African country.
The general election in Ghana also witnessed major surprises in the parliament.
Veteran politician and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hanna Tetteh lost her seat to former telecoms executive George Andah.
It was, however, not all gloom for the Rawlings family as Zanetor Rawlings, the eldest daughter of former President Rawlings won her constituency in the Greater Accra region.
Similarly, Political newcomer and popular talk show host, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah won his constituency with a wide margin; while history was made when 23-year-old Francisca Oteng-Mensah of the NPP won parliamentary seat to become the youngest lawmaker in Africa.