World Leaders Congratulate Ghana on Democratic Election

World leaders are congratulating Ghana on successful democratic elections that saw the opposition candidate defeat his ruling-party rival by fewer than 41,000 votes.  

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon congratulated all of Ghana's candidates, the electoral commission and Ghanaian voters for the peaceful and orderly resolution of last month's elections, hailing it as a democratic achievement.

President-elect John Atta-Mills withstood two rounds of voting and a special election in a single constituency last Friday to claim just more than 50 percent of the vote, narrowly edging ruling-party rival Nana Akufo-Addo.

Mr. Atta-Mills takes power Wednesday when President John Kufuor steps down after eight years in power.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown telephoned the president-elect to congratulate him on his victory.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that under Mr. Atta-Mills' leadership, he is convinced that Ghana will "make more progress, respecting the institutions and liberties as the entire international community is watching." 

Many in Africa offered their own praise for the peaceful nature of the vote and the inclusiveness promised by the president-elect.

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga said Mr. Atta-Mills' victory and the conduct of the people of Ghana "provides a rare example of democracy at work in Africa."

South African President Kgalema Motlanthe said the Ghanaian people have shown their appreciation for democracy in an election that bears testimony to respect for good governance in Africa.

That is particularly striking given last month's military coup in Guinea and August's overthrow of the first freely-elected leader in Mauritania.

S. Tarnue Sherman is Chairman of the Political Science Department at the University of Liberia.  He said Ghana is a torchbearer for African democracy.

"If you watch the reaction to the recent coup in Guinea, you will find out that Africans are not too much receptive to military take-over again.  People are saying, look, the solution to democracy is not taking up arms.  Let us go through the ballot. And this is what is happening now today, which we saw in Ghana," he said.

Professor Sherman said Ghana's role as the birthplace of the Pan-African movement and its continuing commitment to democracy is a source of pride for all Africans.

"This shows to the world that democracy can also flourish in Africa, especially in West Africa where you have so many military coups and things.  So Ghana has a special place in West Africa and Africa at large," said Sherman.

Declaring victory Saturday, Ghana's 64-year-old president-elect said it is time to unite the country after a hard-fought election and promised those who did not support him that they would face no recriminations.

"I want to assure all Ghanaians that I will be president for all.  There will be no discrimination," he said.

Mr. Atta-Mills not only captured the presidency, but led his National Democratic Congress party to big gains in Ghana's parliament, winning 114 of the 228 seats.  


This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs