''All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing'' - Edmund Burke


S I E R R A  H E R A L D

Vol XII No 4

The tendency sometimes to protect perpetrators for the sake of peace...doesn't help society. Impunity should not be allowed to stand. - Kofi Annan on Waki report

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Friday December 9, 2016 - After hours of speculation, nervous commentaries and mind games, it is now official. Nana Akufo-Addo has been elected Ghana's next president at the third time of asking. Incumbent President Mahama concedes and wishes his successor well.The winner of Ghana's December 7, 2016 Presidential electionsDefeated incumbent John Mahama conceded and wished his successor well.

After hours of nail-biting wait, all is now made clear by the Electoral Commission of Ghana as the official results of the Presidential polls show that the man who was running for the top political post in the country for the third time in a row, Nana Akufo-Addo is now the President-elect of Ghana beating into second place incumbent President John Mahama who was gunning for a second term in office.

The BBC reported -

"President John Mahama called Mr Akufo-Addo to admit defeat, a spokesman for his party said, as the Electoral Commission announced the result. Mr Akufo-Addo has promised free high-school education and more factories but critics have questioned the viability of his ambitions.

Celebrations have broken out in the capital, Accra. Ghana has been a multi-party democracy since the end of military rule in 1992 and this result is seen as reinforcing its reputation for the peaceful transfer of power between administrations.

Mr Akufo-Addo, from the New Patriotic Party, won the election on his third attempt to reach the presidency, after a campaign dominated by the country's faltering economy.

"I make this solemn pledge to you tonight: I will not let you down," he told a jubilant crowd in front of his residence. "I will do all in my power to live up to your hopes and expectations."

Ghana's Electoral Commission (EC) declared Mr Akufo-Addo the winner, with 53.85% of the votes, while Mr Mahama took 44.40%. Turnout was at 68.62%. The president-elect will be sworn in on January 7 after a one-month transition period.

Mr Akufo-Addo had lost previous elections in 2008 and 2012 but the way he handled those losses resonated with many people. He is credited with preventing possible violence in 2012 by not rejecting the outcome - a loss by 300,000 votes to current President John Mahama - and calling for mass protests. Instead, he sought legal redress and accepted defeat after the Supreme Court upheld the result. And there is a bit of a profile too on the new man to run the affairs of a country with a number of problems relating to the economy.

The news outlet Al Jazeera reported -

"Ghana's main opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo won the country's national election, defeating President John Mahama, electoral commissioner Charlotte Osei said.
Crowds of jubilant supporters gathered outside the house of the 72-year-old New Patriotic Party (NPP) leader, who had already claimed victory on Thursday, a day after the voting took place.

Akufo-Addo defeated President Mahama by 53.8 percent to 44.4 percent, Osei said. Supporters of winner Nana Akufo-Addo in celebration.

"It is my duty and my privilege to declare Nana Akufo-Addo as the president elect of Ghana," she told a news conference in the capital, Accra, on Friday.

Prior to Osei's announcement, Akufo-Addo said on Twitter that Mahama called him "congratulating me on winning the 2016 presidential election". "I make this solemn pledge to you tonight: I will not let you down. I will do all in my power to live up to your hopes and expectations," Akufo-Addo told supporters in front of his residence.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Akufo-Addo explained what he believed to be the hopes and expectations of Ghanaians: "The expectations they have of me, that I'm gonna bring them a new government, a new style; a government of honesty, a government that is concerned about the welfare of our people - that basic commitment is the one I am determined to fulfill."

The Ghanaweb news source noted -

"Outgoing president John Mahama has conceded defeat in grace to president-elect Nana Akufo-Addo promising to offer his support and experience to the incoming president.

In a solemn speech of concession, two hours after a new president was announced by the Electoral Commission chair, the president said:

"I have done my bit and made my contribution to the development of my country."

Flanked by his vice Kwesi Amissah Arthur, and party chairman Kofi Portuphy, the president assuaged the pain of his followers who had gone into the election well oiled for victory but came out vanquished.

"One person can only emerge winner and be elected president," he said, adding, "every election is an opportunity for people to have a say in who will lead them." "The true winner is Ghana," he said in a strained voice. The head of the electoral commission. She is the youngest Ghanaian to occupy the post.

The president's desire for a personal second term, and a third term for the party, did not see the light of day after Ghanaians overwhelmingly voted for the NPP flagbearer. In the end, he put in a call to congratulate his biggest adversary after the figures showed he was trailing. He said although there were irregularities he decided not to pursue the matter and let unity prevail. He did that even before the Chairman of the Electoral Commission declared Nana Akufo-Addo as the president of Ghana.

After the declaration and the acceptance speech by the president-elect, president Mahama said he would have cherished to do more but still respects the will of the people Ghana. "This is not the outcome we waited for," he said but noted "I live it to history to be the judge of my time."

The outgoing president said he is ready to assist the incoming president through the transition period and offer any help if called upon. President John Mahama thanked members of his campaign team and all Ghanaians for the support given him throughout the period of his tenure.

The electoral process in Ghana once more highlights what good governance is all about.

The head of the Electoral Commission Charlotte Osei was appointed by President Mahama but that did not prevent her from declaring the main opposition candidate as winner and in effect telling the nation and the world that the man who appointed her to the post had lost his job as President.

Before the polls, she had issued statements in which her office disqualified a number of Presidential candidates including the only woman candidate in the field Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, former First Lady of the Republic.

She and others appealed to the courts which duly overturned those decisions thereby paving the way for seven Presidential candidates to run.

The Voice of America had this report on the issue -

"Ghana's electoral commission has qualified seven presidential candidates for the national election on December 7. The successful candidates — six representing political parties and one independent — took part in a drawing late Wednesday in the capital, Accra, to determine their positions on the ballot.

They will be listed by party affiliation in this order on voters' ballots: Convention People's Party (CPP), National Democratic Party (NDP), National Democratic Congress (NDC), Progressive People's Party (PPP), New Patriotic Party (NPP), People's National Convention (PNC) and independent (non-party) candidate Jacob Osei Yeboah.

The electoral commission earlier had disqualified several candidates for failing to comply with all registration requirements for the election, but those rulings were challenged in court by the PPP and NDP, among others.

A court ruling ordered the commission to allow disqualified candidates time to correct errors in their nomination documents. The process of error correction is now complete, according to electoral commission spokesman Eric Dzakpasu, and it is unlikely any further candidacies will be approved.

“Out of the 10 candidates who resubmitted their nomination papers for reconsideration, three have successfully gone through the process, bringing the total number of candidates for the presidential election to seven.

So, just this evening balloting was done, and all the seven candidates now have their positions on the ballot paper for the election," Dzakpasu said. "... I think the door is now shut ... [for] other candidates." Despite some complaints about alleged bias by the electoral commission, Dzakpasu said, "everything has been on course."

Lessons for Christiana Thorpe and a certain bewigged Justice Showers in having two ruling party APC candidates in Parliament representing Constituencies 005 and 015 instead of ordering a bye election that those candidates would never had stood a chance. This was an illegal move endorsed by the judiciary, the first in Sierra Leone's annals of political chicanery.



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