Ghana Bets on Change
The Ghanaian General Election
It was the phone call he thought he would never have to make. The fifty hours between the close of polling and making that call was testament to the time it took to come to terms with defeat. At 7.41pm on Friday 9 December 2016, Ghana’s President John Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) finally called Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to concede and congratulate him on his victory in the race for the country’s Presidency.
Many hours before, local radio stations had called the parliamentary and presidential elections decisively for NPP. It seemed as if it was only the occupant of Flagstaff House, the seat of the presidency in Ghana, who had not heard the clarion call of the electorate, perhaps in disbelief that he had been denied a second term in Africa’s first nation to gain independence.
Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission dithered, its computer system reported to have been hacked, forcing some of the verification process to be handled manually and prompting fears of interference with the poll.
Yet any such attempt would have been difficult, this being the second time in the last 20 years that technology had ensured there was little doubt about the election outcome. In 2000, it was the use of mobile telephony across the country that confirmed the NPP’s win under John Kufuor who ruled the country for eight years.