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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid