News / Africa

Corruption, Oil Hot Issues in Ghana Election

A man rides past a pillar featuring posters of the ruling party presidential candidate, incumbent President John Mahama, and opposition candidate Nana Akufo-Addo in Accra, Oct. 23, 2012.
A man rides past a pillar featuring posters of the ruling party presidential candidate, incumbent President John Mahama, and opposition candidate Nana Akufo-Addo in Accra, Oct. 23, 2012.
With Ghana's presidential election set for December 7, the candidates faced off in their final debate this week. Corruption and how best to manage the country’s oil sector topped the agenda.  Ghana's four presidential hopefuls argued over the best way forward for this cocoa, gold and oil producing nation.  But analysts say the vote will come down to the two main candidates: current President John Mahama from the National Democratic Congress, and former foreign minister and main opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo, of the New Patriotic Party.

The moderator asked the candidates to explain how they would fight graft, a problem that seems to pervade every level of government.

Akufo-Addo said he would strengthen anti-corruption institutions and serve as an example.

"I see the beginning from the example that the leader will give. If you are committed to the fight against corruption you yourself of course must not be corrupt," he said. "You yourself should be somebody who can take on the fight because you’re not corrupt, have never been and will not be.  That is the position in which I stand: not being corrupt, never will be and have not been."

The 68-year-old opposition candidate also promised to build the country’s industrial sector and make secondary school free by using funds from the country’s new oil revenue.

Ghana began producing oil in 2010 and how best to manage oil revenue remains a hot campaign issue.  

At the debate, President Mahama said the government has taken steps to ensure oil profits reach Ghanaians, but that foreign oil companies now need to be encouraged to buy available products from Ghana and employ locals.

"It doesn’t pay to have such a God-blessed resource and just have foreigners come and take it away without any benefit to your people, " he said.  "So we are going to pass the local content bill to justify and reserve some aspects of the oil industry to Ghanaians, and to encourage the foreign companies that are involved in oil exploration and production to work for them.

Mahama, who is 53, took office in July less than 24 hours after the death of former president John Atta Mills.  Mr. Mahama is a historian, communications expert, and writer.  He is campaigning on the development agenda called “A Better Ghana,” started by his predecessor.

Akufo-Addo, who is favored by young and urbanized voters, lost the 2008 election to Mills by just 40,000 votes, less than one percent.  Opinion polls indicate this year’s race will also be tight.

Ghana had one of the world's fastest growing economies in 2011, but some Ghanaians say the current government hasn't lived up to expectations.

Dorcas Yeboah, a psychology student at the University of Ghana, said she was expecting faster results.

“As we saw their main campaign was a 'Better Ghana' agenda and we were expecting Ghana would change within 100 days as they promised," Yeboah said. "But we can see even in three and a half years now most of the things they promised we are not really seeing it…I was expecting to see this year a lot of roads constructed, rural electrification really enhanced…and many schools under trees eliminated.”

But not everyone agrees.

A group of taxi drivers in Accra stands around waiting for clients and talking politics.  They hail from NDC strongholds like the neighborhood of Madina in Accra and the Volta region in the country’s east.

Nelson Ahiatsi, who is 32, said he has seen improvements in his village under the NDC.

“Where I’m coming from in Volta region, a very critical village, for the past 15 years there’s nothing like water, electricity, roads, there’s nothing like that.  The food stuff from the village to the town is very difficult.  The farmers find it very difficult to bring the foodstuffs to the town for people to buy.  About four years ago when NDC came into the power we realized that improvements, development was going on.  Roads, access to farms to bring the foodstuffs to town, electricity to the villages…water, boreholes, sanitation and everything,” Ahiatsi said.

The latest poll from Research International estimated Akufo-Addo would win with 52 percent.  Yet other polls, like one from the Economist Intelligence Unit, predict Mahama will win.

Analysts expect a peaceful election. Kwesi Jonah, a senior research fellow at the Institute for Democratic Governance, says there is a tradition of conceding defeat in Ghana, and he doesn’t expect this election to be any different:

"No, the two main parties that matter in this country… they normally accept election results," said Jonah. "If one wins, there is always internal pressure on the candidate to not accept election results, but candidates in the end are prevailed upon by wise counsel to accept the results.  I don’t expect anybody to dispute the results."

If no candidate wins a clear majority,  the elections will go into a second round.  The run-off is planned for December 28.

You May Like

US Gives Malaysia Questionable Upgrade in Human Trafficking Ranks

Malaysia’s upgrade seen as removing barrier to country’s participation in the US-led 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership More

Turkey, US Try to Establish Buffer Despite Differences

Coalition airstrikes in proposed zone would aim to drive out Islamic extremists, allowing targeted area to come under sway of anti-Assad rebels More

Video US: Millions Exploited by Vast Fortunes of Human Trafficking

State Department's annual report calls exploitation 'modern slavery,' brutalizing girls, women into prostitution and forcing men, women and children into low-wage jobs across the globe More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs