GUBA’s Post 2012 Election Analysis….

Earlier this year there was anticipation surrounding the Ghanaian Presidential election which was scheduled to take place on the 7th of December 2012. The people asked for this election to follow suit and exceed the standard of previous elections by being peaceful and fair. The plea for a peaceful and fair election was headed by all, most importantly key political figures.

The Biometric System of voting was introduced for the first time in Ghana as the principal way of voting. Many turned up to register with initiatives such as ‘Ghana Decides’ urging on citizens to register in order to be eligible to vote. The election took off smoothly in the all 275 constituencies however; some constituencies suffered a delay due to a breakdown of some of the biometric machines. As a result voting in the affected areas had to be postponed to the following day.

We must however commend Ghanaians on their turnout as a record figure of 79.43% was reported. As Ghana is still a ‘young’ democracy there were a few issues during the process. Below is an outline of the proud moments of the election and the areas that need improvements.

  • The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Observer Mission declared the election as ‘free fair and transparent’ also quoting that ‘the rest of Africa have a lot to learn from Ghanaians concerning the 2012 elections’
  • Ghana demonstrated their ability to uphold the values of democracy
  • Ghanaians were able to demonstrate that Ghana is a peaceful and democratic nation.

Despite the smooth running of the elections, there were a few problems that need to be resolved in the next election. Below is a list of some of the issues:

  • Breakdown of some verification machines- machines should have been tested some days prior to voting to avoid malfunctioning.
  • Press Conferences being held before the announcement of the President – this creates a chaos and uneasiness. It is best if Political parties wait until results are announced before conducting press conferences, so as their messages do not ‘incite’ any form of disagreement.
  • Media reporting manipulation of news- some media outlets were reporting false claims of violence in some constituencies. The government should look into regulating false claims during the period of voting so not to cause tension and send a negative image about Ghana.
  • Other websites and organisations reporting figures before the Electoral Commission.
  • Political parties openly opposing official figures- any opposition to the results should be handled professionally in order to keep the peace.
  • Delay in ballot counting and announcement of the winner.

Overall, the peaceful and legislative nature of this election is one to be proud of. The question that arose among that however is: ‘Is it beneficial for a young democracy like Ghana to follow the current voting system or should we find a suitable model?

Feel free to leave a comment or suggestion if you please.

By Claudia Andrews

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