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

Hostage Crisis Could Divide Japan Over Plans to Boost Military

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday the government is working closely with the Jordanian government to secure the release of remaining Japanese hostage Kenji Goto More

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Country's youngest ever PM Alexis Tsipras, 40, sworn in Monday and says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts More

Multimedia National Geographic Photo Camps Empower Youth

Annual mentoring program's mission is to give young people a voice to tell their own stories through photography 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid