Ghana, Africa’s second leading producer of gold and recent member of oil producing nations, is parading two leading politicians for the December 7 presidential election, against 10 others.
The 76-year-old Nana Addo Akufo-Addo, incumbent president of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), is squaring up with 61-year-old former president John Dramani Mahama, of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Ghana which conducted its first national elections in 1960 after independence in 1957, has been noted as a model of democracy since it shed military rule in 1992.
With a population of more than 29 million and about 17 million registered voters, the December 7 election is a litmus test for a successful peaceful transfer of power between its two main rival political parties.
Currently under a unitary government, Ghana is holding a contest dubbed the “battle of two giants.” The country is bordered by the Ivory Coast to the West, Burkina Faso to the North, Togo to the East, the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean to the South.
The choice of Akufo-Addo by NPP as presidential candidate is setting up a third consecutive head-to-head battle against Mahama. Akufo-Addo defeated Mahama in 2016 with 53.8 percent of the vote. Mahama of NDC defeated Akufo-Addo in the 2012 poll.
The campaigns revolve around the issues of economy, infrastructure development, education, corruption, and debt relief.
In his estimation, President Akufo-Addo cites economic growth during his current four-year term and free schooling for senior high school pupils as major achievements. Mahama is also parading many infrastructure projects, including roads, bridges, schools and hospitals, achieved during his tenure as platforms and which he believes qualifies him to win the election.
Mr Mahama has promised to turn around the Gold Coast if elected again.
In the general election, voters will elect 275 legislators from 914 candidates and to win the presidency, a candidate needs to gain at least 50 per cent of the national in the first round. There will be over 33,000 polling stations. As the presidential election draws nearer, election observers and messages have continued to pour in from leaders.
The British High Commissioner to Ghana, Iain Walker, said the United Kingdom will deploy 100 election observers for the general election.
Peace, stability calls
He said: “We will work with our Australian, Canadian and colleagues from the European Union and the electoral commission. I think we have about 100 people observing the elections.”
The European Union Election Observation Mission has deployed 40 long-term observers across the country’s 16 regions, and will focus on rural as well as urban areas.