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Ghanaians Hopeful for Free and Fair Elections   

As Ghanaian voters look forward to presidential and parliamentary elections this Sunday, December 7, some are looking back – to the recent elections in the United States. Voice of America English to Africa Service's Joana Mantey in Accra, reports.

Political historian Kwamena Esilfie Conduah says the US candidates were more straightforward. He says the US media also fulfilled their watchdog role by asking questions and calling for accountability. But Conduah is not sure if the same can be said about the Ghanaian media: "How much scrutiny has occurred in our media except for propaganda for this political party or that political party?"

In the US election, there was one clear winner. Conduah says he is not comfortable with recent developments in Africa, where the concept of power-sharing seems to be gaining ground: "We must back those who learn lessons from Kenya, Zimbabwe and elsewhere. You see, the new idea of power-sharing has sent wrong signals to people elsewhere in Africa and the developing world because the incumbent defeated in Africa does not want to go," he said.

Ghanaian lecturer Mawuli Quarshigah expresses a similar view, saying that as it happened in the United States, in Ghana's upcoming elections, both "the victor and the vanquished must accept the election as long as it is free and fair."

And what does the victory of U.S. president-elect Barack Obama mean to Ghanaians as they prepare for their own elections?

For Ajoa Mensima, a secretary, it means that nothing is impossible to achieve if one sets one's heart on it: "I want to use this to advise women who are always scared to come to the limelight that we should make it our aim to [participate in] the political scene. We should not depend on people who might discourage us," she said.

And a public servant, Ebenezer Ojawoo says the Obama victory should serve as motivation for all black people: "He has been able to rise to the highest [and] the most powerful office in the world, so it should give us hope that as Ghanaians we must aim higher and work towards (the goals) we have set for ourselves."