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Polls: Ghanaians rule out ‘incumbency factor’



As Mahama, Akufo-Addo intensify campaign efforts


By Lukmon Akintola


Unlike in several other jurisdictions in Africa, where being the sitting president is almost all that is needed to win in elections, the incumbency factor may not count for much in the Dec 7 presidential and general elections in Ghana.

Indeed, the forthcoming Presidential election in Ghana has spurred various comments from the citizens as well as political analysts in other African countries. This is based on the relevance of the election in determining the fate of Ghanaians for the next four years as well as the continued socio-economic development of the West African nation.

The West African country (Ghana), which gained independence in 1958 is well known for its genuine practice of democracy. In this vein, the December 7 presidential election is another litmus test of its democratic system.

For the 2016 General election, analysts say that there are presently four major candidates contesting for the presidential position. Ivor Kobina Greenstreet of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Jacob Osei Yeboah; an independent candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo of New Patriotic Party (NPP) and John Dramani Mahama of National Democratic Congress (NDC), who is also the incumbent president of Ghana.

It is largely believed that incumbent presidents utilize the power of their office to be re-elected into office. However, some Ghanaians have shared an opposing view, believing that on present ranking, President John Mahama is not likely to regain the presidency and if he does, it will not be on a platter of gold.

Speaking with The Difference News,TetenyoKodah, a Ghanaian who resides in Accra and is an educationist by profession, stated that President John Mahama might not be re-elected on the platform of his incumbency. He further expressed his confidence that incidents of post-election violence can never happen in Ghana as all candidates are mature enough to step down if they lose.

“I do not buy into the idea of incumbency. Is he (John) the first sitting president contesting in Ghana? We learn from the past generation. So, if the past sitting presidents, who were re-elected did the same thing, then I will not be surprised if John does the same. But I have a great conviction that it will not be so,”he said.

When asked about the scepter of possible post-election violence in Ghana after the polls outcome has been published, Tetenyo was most effusive: “Nothing will happen in Ghana… I am not ready to be a refugee, I believe John could step down if such happens”

Also commenting on the Ghana elections was an Adenta based accounting officer, Dzakpasu Richard, who believes that the incumbent has great chances of being re-elected as the President of Ghana but then as he was also quick to allow; anything can happen.

“The sitting president has the chance to be re-elected but surprises can happen in Ghana. Anybody can win or lose, either you are the incumbent or not. It is a zero-sum game,” he stated.

In a bid to confirm the preparedness of the Electoral Commission for the forthcoming duel, we sought to reach the national electoral authorities. However, various efforts by our correspondent to speak with the commission’s Chairperson proved abortive.

Meanwhile, on current ranking, analysts presently tip the hard-campaigning President John Mahama and Nana Akufo-Addo as front-runners in the presidential race, with some even speculating a possibly hung process that may necessitate a second round of balloting.


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